Jed Hoyer Speaks: The Plan Going Forward, Moves Still Coming, Contreras, Hendricks, Taillon, More

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Jed Hoyer Speaks: The Plan Going Forward, Moves Still Coming, Contreras, Hendricks, Taillon, More

Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer hopped on 670 The Score this morning with Mully and Haugh, and I did my best to scribble down some paraphrasing as he spoke.

Among Hoyer’s comments that stood out to me …

  • When it came to recruiting Dansby Swanson, and the pitch about the future of the organization, Hoyer didn’t want to get specific. But he did say there were discussions about the free agents the Cubs have brought in and others they “plan” to bring in, and how that merges with the development in the farm system.
  • On getting one of the four top shortstops this offseason, Hoyer said he did have a certain level of confidence that it would happen (it was unclear if he meant specifically with Swanson or just one of the four in general). But he didn’t know the order in which they would sign, and admitted to some anxiety as he was seeing guys go off the board. So you had to have multiple paths available in case you didn’t land one, but yes, landing a shortstop was always the main plan.
  • Hoyer said the Cubs do still have holes left on the roster, but it’s fair to say the “big blocks” of the offseason are in place. It won’t be a quiet Christmas break, though, as the Cubs have additions they need to make in certain areas. He’d like to see the main roster in place by mid-January, because there’s value in having that lead time before Spring Training.
  • Hoyer’s answer when asked who replaces Willson Contreras was kind of funny – he just said quietly, that I can’t tell you yet. I found it interesting that he’s not hiding the ball that the Cubs don’t want to go with Gomes-Higgins if they don’t have to. Hoyer said the Cubs will add another catcher very soon.
  • As for replacing Contreras, it’s not really a one-to-one replacement, especially because of how good Contreras was at the plate. So the Cubs are working to replace his offense in other ways. (Hoyer also suggested a preference for a lefty bat, all else equal.)
  • The Cubs are “in discussions” to add another starting pitcher, which I expect is probably Drew Smyly. Hoyer said the Cubs do still need to add to the bullpen, though. There are a lot of good young arms, and it’s a definite strength. But you need some stability and leadership in the bullpen, too.
  • As an aside, Hoyer mentioned how he doesn’t really like to try to build a bullpen with big, multi-year contracts because the role just seems to be too volatile year to year. He’d rather spend those bigger dollars where you can get a little more certainty.
  • The closer could already be on the roster, but there’s no clarity there just yet. Hoyer reiterated that there are certain areas they’d still like to address in free agency, so I think it’s fair to conclude a notable reliever or two is still on the way.
  • Hoyer said that the Cubs targeted Jameson Taillon from the start not only because they are really big fans of what he can do, but it sounds like it was also a concession toward knowing that they had bigger needs on the positional side, and that’s where the big spending was going to go. So Taillon was the perfect fit for where the Cubs wanted to go in the starting pitching market. (And it’s not like he was cheap – four years and $68 million.)
  • Kyle Hendricks is throwing, but it sounds like there is still uncertainty about what role he’ll play with the team next year. Hoyer WANTS Hendricks to be a big part of the team because he’s such a great person and teammate, but the organization has to evaluate whether Hendricks can contribute in that way coming off the shoulder injury. So the Cubs still have to build extra depth, and be prepared in case Hendricks cannot contribute.

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.