Cubs President Jed Hoyer hopped on The Score with Mully and Haugh, discussing the state of the current club, and also what is coming in the future for the team. Hopefully, anyway.
You can listen to the full interview right here:
There wasn’t much in the way of groundbreaking stuff, with Hoyer drawing on many of the same things he said to the media last week. There was one aspect that stood out, though, and it wasn’t really any ONE particular quote. What I don’t like – well, potentially don’t like – is the increasing vibe from Hoyer’s comments that the Cubs are building toward another “core,” and that’s when the team will be competitive again.
It’s not that having a core of young, talented players is a bad thing – it’s a great thing! – it’s just that when you talk about building a team that way, there are certain connotations that come along with it, and those concern me when it comes to, for example, 2023.
“As far as the timing, I do feel like that’s such an area where I have to have some humility,” Hoyer told Mully & Haugh. “As cliché as it is sometimes, you try to build it brick by brick and create that great foundation of young talent. You try to keep as much powder dry financially as you can so that when those (prospects) are here, you can really maximize that …. You have financial currency and you have prospect currency. It’s really important to be as healthy as possible in both. I know that the money will be there when the time is right to be aggressive again.”
You may recall that the Cubs made very clear last year that they weren’t looking to create “windows” again, where the only time you can compete is when you’ve got a core of young talent all arriving at the same time. And where that is the only time you can justify big expenditures in free agency and in trade. The whole point was supposed to be smoothing into a new normal where there might be up years and down years, but every year is a “competitive” year (like many other organizations with theoretically fewer resources have been able to pull off).
Maybe things were so bad in the wake of the post-2016 complacency that another rebuild was necessary, even if Hoyer will never call it that. If true, it’s embarrassing for everyone involved in the organization back then, and I do not think I would have agreed that it was necessary. (And if they do create another “core,” they sure as heck better handle that process a lot better this time around, or we’ll just be doing this dance again in five years or whatever.)
I just don’t like this increasing sense that we’re suddenly in a “this time” that can be compared as a direct parallel to “last time.” I keep hearing those kinds of references – the last time we did this, when we accumulated prospect talent before, etc.
Hoyer emphasized that the money would be there to spend when the time was right, which is one of those things that sounds good for a half-second until you realize it’s not really telling you much of anything at all because the time being “right” is a completely flexible and opaque thing.
In fairness, Hoyer also rightly pointed out that he’s never going to go deep on financial expectations for upcoming offseasons because he has competitors that would love to have that information. Moreover, the Cubs did commit over $170 million to two big name free agents this past offseason (Seiya Suzuki and Marcus Stroman), so it’s not as if they are refusing to sign any multi-year deals during this … whatever this period is.
Still, I’m just saying. It feels like there is a bit of a “this is gonna be like last time” creep coming into the discourse and I don’t care for it. Not because I don’t want to see the Cubs accumulating and developing young talent, but I’d like to see them have a whole lot more flexibility than that in terms of building out a competitive team over the next 10+ seasons.
Hopefully this is all just a matter of talking publicly about something in a certain way, knowing all the while that you have more creative plans ahead that you cannot share. Like I always say on this stuff: the actions are what will ultimately matter, not the words. And it’s still a while before we get our next wave of actions to evaluate.