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Cubs president Jed Hoyer pulls back on extension comments: ‘I think the world of all those guys’

“Nothing I would ever say would be negative,” Hoyer said Tuesday.

Cubs team president Jed Hoyer has watched his team’s fortunes completely change in just about two weeks. Jon Durr/Getty Images

DENVER — Cubs president Jed Hoyer has been in the spotlight since the trade deadline, not only for trading his three superstars but also for comments made after the deadline.

Hoyer went on the radio Monday and expressed his frustration that the team wasn’t able to get long-term deals done with Kris Bryant, Javy Baez and Anthony Rizzo.

“Every one of these guys would say they wanted to stay in Chicago. ‘We wanted to be a Cub,’ but then we would sit down and do negotiations, [and] that wasn’t how they acted,” Hoyer said on ESPN 1000.

On Tuesday, Hoyer spoke at Coors Field to try to defuse what has turned into an ugly war of words.

“I think we’ve always had a rule about not talking about negotiations [in public],” Hoyer said before the game. “I think we’ve done a really good job over the years of honoring that.

“[Monday] on the radio, I got asked a direct question, and I sort of did express my frustration in never getting deals done, and I think that frustration comes from a good place. It comes from a place of wanting to get deals done and wanting to keep those guys here.”

Rizzo had an opportunity to respond to Hoyer on Tuesday, referring to the situation as a “bad breakup.’’

“There’s a common denominator that no one signed,” Rizzo said.

Hoyer said that he hasn’t spoken to Rizzo since going on the radio, but he’s not worried that their relationship is in any jeopardy.

“If I could do it over again, would I probably have ended the sentence earlier? I think I would have,” he said. “We have that rule for a reason, and I think that people get defensive when you start talking about those things. Ultimately, that frustration comes from that place of having wanted to get deals done. But, listen, there’s no soap opera here.

“I’ve talked to [Rizzo] a bunch of times. I think you guys know my relationship with him and [Bryant and Baez], but in particular with [Rizzo]. We’ve known each other for a long time. We’ve had a lot of conversations over the years; we’ve had a bunch of conversations this week. I think the world of him. I think the world of all those guys. Nothing I would ever say would be negative.”

The Cubs’ three former superstars already have made impacts in their new homes and made major-league history in the process, becoming the first trio to hit home runs in their debuts for their new teams. Hoyer is the least surprised about their success.

“I expect those guys to go out and play well,” Hoyer said. “To be in a new place, I think everyone responds to being in a new place. You get new energy, and things are different. I think that can really help you. It can help your performance.

“Frankly, I’d be really surprised if the opposite happened. I’d be shocked if any of these guys went and struggled. I think they’re gonna go and thrive. These are great players. That’s what I would expect for these guys going into pennant races.”