The uproar over the trade of several star players has subsided over the past year, giving Chicago Cubs president Jed Hoyer a breather.
It’s been nearly 10 months since Hoyer introduced players named Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and others to a boatload of possibilities on the trade deadline, ushering in a new era of Cubs baseball in which neither There was no label and no timeline.
Hoyer undoubtedly put his stamp on the team years later as Theo Epstein’s wingman. Have Cubs fans finally started buying into Hoyer’s game plan?
“I’m really proud of the way minor leagues are playing in general,” the Cubs said Thursday before starting their four-match series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field. “You look at our record and performance at every level and it’s been really strong.
“You can never have enough depth or get to the point where you think our system is good enough, but I think we’re on the right track, so hopefully the fans know that.” (We) are playing so well.
“Ultimately, those trades won’t be evaluated until mid-May 2022. Their actual evaluation can be done in 2027, and that’s the way it should be. I don’t think anyone should be looking at this as a passing grade at this point in time. He should see what he does down the road. But based on those trades and some good drafts and good international classes, I think we’re definitely headed in the right direction in the minor leagues.
Many players Hoyer projects as part of his “next great Cubs team” are either in the minors or still waiting to be drafted or signed. But he has been able to watch pitchers Keegan Thompson and Justin Steele develop into the big leagues, much like Jamie Moyer and Greg Maddux in the late 1980s, and versatile infielder-outfielder Christopher Morrell in his first career as a Cubs. Made a great impression in a few days. ,
The next big thing could be Triple-A Iowa starter Caleb Killian – who was acquired in the Bryant deal – who lowered his ERA to 1.31 in his second win on Thursday. Killian was still being extended, but Hoyer didn’t play down his chances of a call-up this season.
Hoyer’s most obvious decision is whether to trade popular catcher Wilson Contreras, who will become a free agent after the season. Contreras is off to a great start and could bring back some top prospects, but most Cubs fans expect him to get a worthy extension.
Hoyer said “we have a good relationship” and he “loves the way” Contreras played and led at the clubhouse, but would not raise his hand about the catcher’s future as a Cubs. In fact, Hoyer said that thinking about trade-deadline decisions “wasn’t mental at all.”
Give him time If the Cubs aren’t in post-season contention in mid-July, Drew Smiley, Wade Miley, David Robertson, Mychal Givens, and others will likely become available. The Cubs need to continue to restore the farming system, whether Contreras is traded or not.
Entering Thursday, the Cubs were 15-21 and eight games behind the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers, but they won three straight series and saw the opening pitching – 2.68 from the start in more than 10 games before Marcus Strowman’s return on Thursday. Era.
Hoyer said he could not be satisfied with the record but was happy with the overall effort.
“The challenge for us is to have that consistency and we are not going back to the rut we used to be in,” he said.
Things don’t always go according to plan, even during Epstein’s rebuilding that began a decade ago. Báez was called up to great fanfare in August 2014, but only hit .169 in 52 games and made his 2015 debut in Iowa. Hoyer took a similar risk by bringing up Morrell from Double-A Tennessee, but the 22-year-old homarded in his first bat and showed his defense and strong hand at third base on Wednesday night before moving on to the second Thursday.
“He’s stronger now, and that makes a big difference in the upper levels,” Hoyer said. “It’s probably the biggest change I see. The personality is wacky. I feel like he came into the clubhouse the other day and all the legends came up to him. That’s so rare for a young boy.”
Watching Morrell and Brandon Hughes make memorable debuts on Tuesday are moments Hoyer said he lived for this season. However, the future is uncertain, and Hoyer would not speculate about whether the Cubs could contest until 2023.
“We traded for a lot of people in the lower levels,” he said. “And a lot of people felt like, ‘Okay, they’re signaling exactly when they’re going to be competitive. It’s really challenging to wait for the minor-leagers to develop. I don’t think you can relate team competitiveness to a group of people in the lower minors.
“I think a lot of them are going to play big roles here. But I don’t want to think about our timeline just about theirs.”
Epstein received the benefit of the doubt from Cubs fans when he began rebuilding because of his reputation with the Boston Red Sox. Hoyer may have to prove himself before he can reach “theo status” in Chicago, but he’s already shown that he’s not afraid to work his way up.