Cubs president Jed Hoyer ‘wouldn’t be shocked’ if they signed another free agent this spring

Hoyer pointed to the number of relievers still on the market.

SHARE Cubs president Jed Hoyer ‘wouldn’t be shocked’ if they signed another free agent this spring
Cubs president Jed Hoyer said the team could sign another free agent before Opening Day.

Cubs president Jed Hoyer said the team could sign another free agent before Opening Day.

John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times

MESA, Ariz. — The Cubs may not be done adding to their roster.

“Generally done,” president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said. “If someone came into camp, I wouldn’t be shocked because there are some players out there, in particular some relievers out there.”

By that he means the roster won’t look much different come Opening Day. The Cubs had an active offseason, strengthening their up-the-middle defense with the additions of shortstop Dansby Swanson, center fielder Cody Bellinger and catcher Tucker Barnhart, filling a hole at first base by bringing in Trey Mancini and Eric Hosmer, fortifying the rotation by signing Jameson Taillon and re-signing Drew Smyly, and adding a veteran presence in the bullpen with the acquisitions of Brad Boxberger and Michael Fulmer.

As of Thursday afternoon, however, homegrown pitcher Brandon Hughes was the only left-handed reliever on the roster.

“There are still conversations,” Hoyer said. “There are still free agents out there, so I wouldn’t be shocked if we brought someone in. [Director of pro scouting] Andrew Bassett and his group are always working.”

There are, indeed, relievers still on the market. Lefty free agents include Jose Alvarez, Will Smith, Brad Hand, Zack Britton and Derek Holland. Among the unsigned right-handers are Garrett Richards and Cody Stashak.

Hoyer weighs in on Suzuki

Hoyer echoed manager David Ross and Seiya Suzuki in their disappointment that the outfielder sustained an oblique injury after working so hard over the offseason to add strength and weight.

“To me, a little bit of it was like a wake-up call for us,” Hoyer said. “It was like, hey, this is what happens. As I always say, you write your lineup down in the winter, it’s never the lineup you write during the season. You always have injuries and things to deal with. And this is the first for us to deal with from a depth standpoint. And we can certainly handle it. But the important thing is getting him 100% healthy and getting him right.”

As Suzuki works back from the injury, Hoyer said he’ll try to maintain the strength he gained over the winter and focus on mobility. Hoyer didn’t give an exact timeline for Suzuki’s return but said the expectations for a moderate oblique strain “would put Opening Day in strong jeopardy.”

“A lot of bad decisions are made around Opening Day,” Hoyer said. “It’s one day on the calendar, But people rush back for it.”

Stroman Florida-bound

Right-hander Marcus Stroman made his last start, throwing 213 scoreless innings Thursday against the A’s before heading to Florida to join Team Puerto Rico for the World Baseball Classic.

“I feel like I’m ready,” Stroman said. “I come into the season ready. So, the up-downs [between innings] are definitely a thing you need to get to in spring training just so you feel that waiting, that cold and then getting hot again. But I feel like my routine even in between innings is pretty dialed in. So I feel great. I’m ready for games.”

Stroman said he leaves Arizona on Friday to head to Fort Myers, Florida, where Puerto Rico is training before beginning Pool D play in Miami. Team Puerto Rico’s first WBC game is scheduled for March 11 against Nicaragua.

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