Cubs playing waiting game before trade deadline

President Jed Hoyer and manager David Ross know the next two weeks will determine whether the Cubs will be buyers or sellers.

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President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer doesn’t want to make a decision about what the Cubs will do at the trade deadline any sooner than he must

Jay Cohen/AP

The decision to be a buyer or a seller at the trade deadline isn’t an easy one, and Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer doesn’t want to make it a second sooner than he has to.

So while speaking with the media before the Cubs’ game Friday against the Red Sox, Hoyer said he was going to be patient — to a point — as the calendar winds toward the deadline Aug. 1.

The Cubs entered play Friday five games below .500 (42-47), seven games out in the National League Central and 6½ games (and four teams) behind the final wild-card spot.

Still, the Cubs have had stretches in which they have looked like contenders, have three quality starters —two of them All-Stars — and remain the only team in the division with a positive run differential.

All of this is why Hoyer wants to wait a bit to watch the dust clear before he starts thinking about making any deals.

‘‘We’re not going to make any deals today; we’re going to see where we are,’’ Hoyer said. ‘‘And our hope, certainly, is that we play very well for the next two weeks. We’ll sort of assess, and I don’t want this to be a day-to-day assessment.’’

The schedule looks favorable for a July surge. The game Friday kicked off a 10-game homestand that also features a pair of last-place teams (the Nationals and Cardinals). Then come two games at Guaranteed Rate Field against the underachieving White Sox and four more games against the Cardinals on the road wrapping up July 30.

Hoyer and manager David Ross said the body of work will be what counts, not any one game.

‘‘We’re trying to make decisions in the most educated fashion possible, not using emotion and one day’s loss or one day’s win,’’ Hoyer said.

‘‘I don’t think, like, one loss is going to be, ‘Oh, it’s doomsday,’ and one win is going to be, ‘We’re buyers,’ ’’ Ross said.

One thing that seems clear is that unlike in the American League Central, where a .500 team might win the division — or at least stay in the hunt till the end — winning the NL Central is going to require more of a push.

‘‘We need to make up ground on first place,’’ Hoyer said.

Ross knows that as well as anybody, but he can’t get caught up in the big picture.

‘‘[The front office would] never come in and say, ‘Hey, do you want us to trade your guys or want us to keep ‘em?’ ’’ Ross said. ‘‘I think it’s kind of on us to focus on the daily. That [trade deadline] stuff’s gonna come up all the way to the end of the month. And I understand that and deal with that a lot.’’

He also knows that if the Cubs don’t make a move in the standings soon, the chatter about them being sellers and the speculation about which players might be on the block only will get louder.

‘‘It’s just going to be dependent on how we play, right?’’ Ross said. ‘‘If we play like crap, there’s probably going to be more stuff going on. If we play really good, get on a roll, we probably won’t hear much of the noise.’’

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