The Chicago Cubs went through arguably their biggest and most impactful transformation in franchise history last week as Anthony Rizzo, Javier Báez, and Kris Bryant were all traded in the span of 48 hours.
Amidst a disappointing season and a seemingly out-of-reach NL Central race, Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer traded the three players as their contracts were set to expire at the end of this current season.
In separate interviews with 670 The Score and ESPN Radio 1000, Hoyer was extremely transparent on a number of issues surrounding the trades and the future of the franchise. He even offered a small glimpse into some of the contract extension talks that occurred.
“That, to Me, is Very Unclear”
The above phrase is what Jed Hoyer said when asked by Dan Bernstein about when he thinks the ballclub will spend and compete again at a similar level to what they did in the mid-2010s.
While trading away three of the most important pieces to the 2016 championship team was tough, it was admittedly the correct thing to do. Once Rizzo was traded, and especially Báez, it made no sense to keep Bryant. As Hoyer said directly after the deadline, there was “no reason to go halfway”.
However, it is concerning to hear that Hoyer is unsure of when the Ricketts will open up their checkbooks enough to compete for another National League pennant.
The Ricketts family’s financial situation has been well-documented, with the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating a trend of not spending as much as other National League rivals. Now, it seems as though there is no commitment from the top to spend this winter to accelerate what is now a full-blown rebuild.
You can listen Hoyer’s entire answer to Bernstein’s question here:
“We Put Our Best Foot Forward”
Hoyer also sat down with David Kaplan on his show for ESPN Radio 1000 where he gave a bit of insight into some of the contract extension talks he had with players in the past.
Hoyer would not name any player specifically, but the Cubs’ top baseball man questioned some of the players’ desire to remain a Chicago Cub.
“The extensions we offered these guys will hold up exceptionally well. Historically, they’ll hold up exceptionally well and against the open market,” Hoyer said. “I don’t know why guys didn’t want to sign. I don’t know why guys didn’t want to even counter-offer sometimes. I don’t know because every one of these guys said ‘I want to be a Cub’ but when we sat down in negotiations that was not how they acted.”
Strong words from Hoyer there. One can’t help but think of Kris Bryant saying he wanted to play in Chicago or the Anthony Rizzo negotiations before the 2021 season. “I don’t think there is any reason for us to listen,” Rizzo said before the season started regarding negotiations with the Cubs. “I think I’ve given them every fair opportunity in the past years.”
Hoyer on the other hand continued to defend his front office. “It’s a source of incredible frustration for me but at the same time it’s a source of zero second-guessing, a source of zero analysis on my end. What could we have done? Because I look at it and I know what was offered, I know what the dialogue was. I accept that we put our best foot forward and tried our hardest but it was not reciprocated.”