Cubs GM Carter Hawkins Speaks: Wesneski, Morel, Suzuki, Fulmer, PCA, Contreras, More

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Cubs GM Carter Hawkins Speaks: Wesneski, Morel, Suzuki, Fulmer, PCA, Contreras, More

Chicago Cubs

Today, Cubs GM Carter Hawkins jumped on 670 The Score for a quick chat with Mully and Haugh. These aren’t exact quotes, but I did my best to jot down what he said in real time, and I added the full interview in an embed at the bottom of this post …

  • (On the new rules): Our games will be a little bit quicker and it should be a better experience for our players and our fans.
  • (Do pitch clocks create a new analytic to measure?): If our predictive models were based on an environment that has now changed, we’ll have to rethink our models. The same goes for defensive shifts. That’s a big one. The value of a strikeout goes up and the value of a groundball goes down. We’ll have to consider that and hopefully it’s just one new area that we can get ahead of other franchises (in terms of adapting/re-modeling). That’s why we got good defense, as strikeouts aren’t the bread and butter for our pitchers.
  • (On Hayden Wesneski in the big leagues or in the minors, full quote): “The answer I want is whichever one helps the Cubs win the most this year and into the future, and that’s kind of the balance we’ll have to think about, is hey, if there’s levers we want to pull that we really only feel like he can pull down at Triple-A, then we’ll send him down there. But if there’s levers that we can pull up in the big leagues to help us win now and there’s no real opportunity cost, he’s on our team (out of spring training). I think those are the questions that we’re going to be answering. Luckily, we have a lot of depth at starting pitcher right now. Knock on wood, that’s a thing to be scared of saying as a general manager certainly because you always have depth until you don’t, but at the same time, we have a lot of options there, a lot of guys competing and we feel really good about that place.”
  • (Worried about players in the WBC?): It’s probably like a parent watching their kid going off to summer camp. Of course we’re worried, we’re worried all the time. But we support our players. And it’s a good opportunity for someone like Matt Mervis who will get a lot of competitive experience. But if you’re asking if we’re worried, “Yes,” we’re worried.
  • (On mix of veterans they’ve signed this offseason): Not surprised, but the level of professionalism really stands out. A lot of guys with experience, getting their work done, helping the younger players. It makes it easier on our staff and easier on our younger guys.
  • (On Seiya Suzuki): Everyone wants to get ready for Opening Day, but sometimes when you set a timeframe around Opening Day you make bad decisions. It’s just one game of 162. We just want to make sure he’s ready to go, and when he’s ready to go it’s for the rest of the season.
  • (On Chris Morel): He had a heck of a year last year. A really productive player. We forget he started in Double-A and came up straight from Double-A. He’s already shown us he can help us win at the MLB level. It’s going to be hard not to put him on the roster, but we have some options and those things tend to play out over the next couple of weeks.
  • (On extensions with Happ and Hoerner): We’re not going to talk about the specifics of those. But there’s no rule that extensions have to be done by a particular date. Teams like to do it before the season so there’s not a distraction. We’ve talked at length about Ian, Nico, and others, and those are discussions that are on going.
  • (On Pete Crow-Armstrong): He’s a playmaker in the outfield, on the bases, at the plate. He’s a nonstop player. We want him to keep that going, but we also want him to focus on stopping and being (more deliberate). He’s got some work to do still, but we think he’ll be an important/impactful player for us.
  • (Is Michael Fulmer the closer?): Our initial thought is Michael is going to get important outs for us. If that’s going to be in the 9th, that’s when it’ll be. If it’s the 8th or the 7th, that’s when it will be. He’s one of the candidates to be the closer, but there are a lot of options, and our only expectation is that he’ll be getting important outs for us at the end of games.
  • (On Willson Contreras): I’ve never seen someone play through injuries better than Willson Contreras. He brought it for us. And we appreciate that. But having a guy like Yan Gomes (and Tucker Barnhart) who understands our pitchers and our game plan. It’s almost their sole focus to handle the pitchers and get the best performance out of them.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami