Jed Hoyer Reminds Us of the Kinds of Deals the Cubs Are Looking For

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Jed Hoyer Reminds Us of the Kinds of Deals the Cubs Are Looking For

Chicago Cubs

For the most part, Chicago Cubs President Jed Hoyer’s comments to the media yesterday were limited to a couple buckets, which we’ve touched on – strict news updates (i.e., injury news) and general commentary on the renewed transaction season (the Cubs will do stuff). But, since part of what he said echoed back to “the message” from back in November, I thought it worth reiterating as we patiently wait for the next wave of Cubs transaction.

Recall, the words of the day back in the fall were “spend intelligently.” That’s often just front office code for “don’t spend on free agents,” but we suspected that wasn’t precisely going to be the case for the Cubs, and that suspicion was confirmed by the Marcus Stroman signing (and also kinda the Yan Gomes signing and the Wade Miley claim). Instead, it felt like in this instance it was just a nod toward trying to land “value” deals in free agency – deals that, regardless of what “level” of free agency tier the player is at, simply looked like they were under-market value plays. Since the Cubs have the money and the spaces, they always had a really wide range of possible moves.

The Stroman deal, again, is a perfect example: that’s one of the top few starting pitchers on the market, and the Cubs signed him because they had the spot available for starting pitchers and that was simply a deal that looks dang good on paper. Don’t overcomplicate things in this period of time when the Cubs have lots of short-term money to spend and lots of spaces available on the roster. Just try to get good players on good deals.

Anyway, I just wanted to underscore that, even after the lockout, that’s still the animating force for the Cubs right now.

When asked what success looks like for the 2022 Cubs, Hoyer responded this way:

“It’s undeniable that we are going to have an eye on the future. I’ve said hundreds of times, you guys: the goal is to build the next great Cubs team. In my career, I’ve been around a number of teams that I think were really special. We built that once here and we want to build that again. So, we’ll try to thread that needle as well as possible. We’re going to make moves to compete, but certainly we’re not going to do things that are inconsistent with what we’ve done over the last 16 months.”

And when asked if the Cubs had any “significant” moves coming, Hoyer said this:

“Certainly, we’re having a lot of conversations, I’ve done this too long to assume that anything gets across the finish line, so you try keep a lot of balls in the air. And some of those, maybe you guys would deem significant. And some may not be, you know? But, certainly, I never assume anything is going to get done until it’s actually done.”

How might you wrap those two responses up in another way? Well, you’d say that the Cubs’ primary focus remains the longer term (2023 and beyond), but that doesn’t mean they won’t be making “significant” moves right now. It just means that anything they do will have 2023+ on the mind – either the move affirmatively helps for that period, or at least does not hurt it in any way.

The Cubs would love to compete for a playoff spot in 2022. But doing so would require the right value deals kinda falling their way, as the Stroman deal did. It might happen – we don’t know how the rest of this offseason is going to shake out, and who might be just looking to take a one-year deal or whatever when all is said and done (or if the Cubs might land Seiya Suzuki). It might not happen, though, and the Cubs might be right back in a spot to sell come this July.

So that’s kind of the balance that Hoyer has suggested from the outset of the offseason, and I’ve tried to underscore is the reality: the Cubs may very well sign some “significant” players from here. But it won’t wholly be because they are balling out for 2022, sacrificing future flexibility to add modest gains in 2022.

What does that mean in practice? Well, it means a deal for Carlos Correa, for example, would have to be seen as such a great value that the Cubs can’t pass it up, even if they believe 2022 might be a down year (and thus a “waste” of Correa’s most theoretically valuable remaining season). It means impact free agents in their early to mid-30s were never going to make sense on three or four-year deals. It means there are no bad one-year deals for anyone. It means multi-year deals for 27-to-29-year-old players DO still make plenty of sense. It means “buying” prospects via acquiring contracts makes a ton of sense.

Oh, and, yes, it means certain sell-oriented trades could also make sense, depending on how everything else shakes out.



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.