Jed Hoyer era begins with major decisions on Cubs’ core looming
“In this job, you always have one eye on the present and one eye on the future. And the truth is that, given the service-time realities that I mentioned, I think that eye might be a little bit more focused toward the future than usual,” Hoyer said.
The Jed Hoyer era of Cubs baseball officially has begun, and the new president of baseball operations didn’t waste any time discussing what has been on the minds of onlookers for the last few seasons.
What will happen to the Cubs’ core? The answer to that likely will come during the next few months, when the Cubs and other teams start to figure out their financial situations for 2021.
On Monday, Hoyer lined up what the Cubs’ thought process will be as they begin to make short- and long-term decisions.
‘‘I think with this offseason there is a lot of uncertainty,’’ said Hoyer, who got a five-year contract that runs through the 2025 season to replace Theo Epstein, who stepped down last week. ‘‘I think it’s gonna probably move a little bit slower than some offseasons, so I think we may try to get a sense of the landscape before we move forward.
‘‘We’re not gonna wait forever, but I do think waiting a little bit and trying to figure out exactly what happens this winter makes a lot of sense.’’
Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber all are eligible to become free agents after next season. And while one of the Cubs’ stars leaving via trade or free agency always has been a possibility, it will become a reality sooner rather than later.
‘‘In this job, you always have one eye on the present and one eye on the future,’’ Hoyer said. ‘‘And the truth is that, given the service-time realities that I mentioned, I think that eye might be a little bit more focused toward the future than usual. But that doesn’t take away from the goal. And, like I said, the goal is always to make the playoffs and give the organization a chance.’’
None of those things should come as a surprise. And given the Cubs’ disappointing finishes in 2018-20, changing what has been the status quo might be what they need.
Hoyer said the Cubs aren’t engaged in contract-extension talks with any of their players, but he indicated such talks might restart soon.
Not only have fans and media known what was on the Cubs’ horizon, but players have, too. They made that clear this past season.
‘‘I’m not gonna shy away from it: This could be our last year together, and I think we all know that, especially with the state of the game and who knows what’s going to happen,’’ Rizzo said.
‘‘I hope I never leave this city in my whole career, but anything can happen,’’ Baez said last month. ‘‘Hopefully, I stay here my whole career.
‘‘I’m pretty sure there’s not another organization like this one. I’ve never been in another one, but I feel like everybody that comes through here, they don’t want to leave.’’
Unfortunately for Baez, somebody likely will have to leave, and it’s still to be determined how many of the Cubs’ core players will be around when spring training begins.
If there is one thing that remains clear about the Cubs, it’s that they are open for business. With that said, a full rebuild doesn’t seem as though it’s in the cards.
Hoyer sounded confident in the Cubs’ ability to continue to put a winning product on the field, despite trying to ‘‘thread the needle’’ on preparing for the future.
‘‘I would always take Jed’s recommendation on what to do with what happens on the field,’’ Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said. ‘‘But I don’t think anybody’s tearing anything down.’’
‘‘I think, given our resources and given our talent level, we should field a team that’s playoff-worthy every single year,’’ Hoyer said. ‘‘And I think we can do that and have a team that’s positioned [for the] long term, as well.’’