Chicago Cubs president Jed Hoyer spoke with David Kaplan and Jonathan Hood on ESPN 1000 this morning and had a lot to say about the team’s former core. You can catch the full interview here on ESPN’s Twitch channel right around the two-hour mark.
When asked about whether the former core of talent that led the Cubs to a World Series championship in 2016 should’ve been moved sooner than they were, Hoyer admitted changes should’ve been made sooner.
“Thinking back on should we have made some of those moves earlier?” Hoyer said. “Yea I think we probably should’ve.”
The 2016 Core
Several times after the 2016 championship season, there were rumors flying around the baseball world about Cubs’ ownership possibly moving some of the team’s core players before they hit free agency. One time in particular was in 2019 when former Cubs president Theo Epstein talked about how changes would be made if players weren’t producing. The Cubs failed to make the playoffs in 2019, but nothing really changed until after the 2020 season when Hoyer chose to non-tender outfielder Kyle Schwarber. The next year, as Cubs fans hate to go back and remember, Hoyer went on to trade Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, and Anthony Rizzo at the trade deadline, just before all three were scheduled to hit free agency last offseason.
“We were too stubborn with that group,” Hoyer said. “We saw what they did at 22, 23 years old [and] believed that we were going to get back to that point with the same group.”
Handling Big Contracts
Hoyer also talked about the expensive luxury tax that was put on the team due to player development issues. After failing to develop a pitching staff through their farm system, Hoyer and Epstein were forced to build a pitching staff through free agency. A pricey decision that Hoyer admits they should’ve handled differently.
“I think we probably at that moment after '18, yeah, we probably should have done something like you described and reset things,” Hoyer said. “But we didn’t. I can’t go back and change time and change that, but I can certainly learn from it.”
When asked about the future of this Cubs’ team, Hoyer said there’s a lot of positives that are happening throughout the organization that should not go unnoticed.
“There’s a lot of great things happening in this organization on a nightly basis,” Hoyer said. “I think our farm system has unbelievably improved over the last eighteen months. We’re seeing a lot of great performances.”
Hoyer went on to talk about the positive moral throughout the minor league system and the excitement of the future.
“There’s a real sense down there that something special is happening,” Hoyer said. “That’s really important for an organization.”
It is a Rebuild
The Cubs are in the middle of another rebuilding process and will be faced with tough decisions in the next month. With the long list of guys on the Cubs’ current roster with the potential to be traded, Hoyer will have several difficult decisions to make that could affect the outlook of this Cubs’ team for years to come.
Whether it’s deciding where to trade All-Star catcher Willson Contreras, stick with outfielder Ian Happ, or maybe even deal front-line starter Marcus Stroman, Hoyer can guarantee pressure will be high from Cubs fans for the teams’ president to make the right decisions.