Jed Hoyer Talks Cubs on MLB Network Radio

Jed Hoyer joined Jeff Joyce and Jim Bowden Tuesday afternoon during Inside Pitch (MLB Network Radio). The Cubs’ GM discussed a variety of topics including the upcoming trade deadline, Anthony Rizzo, Brett Jackson, Jorge Soler and Josh Vitters.

Jim Bowden asked Jed Hoyer at the top of the interview with the way Anthony Rizzo has played, the selection of Albert Almora and the signing of Jorge Soler, if he is pleased with the way his first year as the Cubs’ general manager has gone so far. Hoyer said it is hard to be pleased with the way the year has gone considering how the big league team has played.

Hoyer admitted that the organization is in talent acquisition mode. The Cubs are looking to acquire as much young talent as possible. Hoyer feels they have acquired some good young talent to this point and they are somewhat happy in that aspect. Hoyer then qualified his previous statement by restating they are not happy with the way the big league team is playing.

The trade front has changed a lot over the last month. Hoyer explained that the extra wild card teams have added a new dynamic. The Cubs have talked to every team and several teams quite a lot. The front office is doing all of the work they can to be prepared. Hoyer described this trade deadline a “new frontier” due to the new system. Hoyer does not think anyone knows how it will play out this month but he does feel it will be a very active month throughout the league. Hoyer is not sure if players that have another year of control past this season will be more sought after than the players on the final year of their current deal.

Hoyer pointed out teams that might not have made deals in the past will be more aggressive this season. There is now a huge advantage for teams to win their division. Before this year just getting in was the goal and first place teams had a fallback. Now a one-game playoff is a big negative. Teams do not want to put themselves at a disadvantage if they can avoid doing so.

Jim Bowden asked how big of a trade deadline this one for the Cubs is. Hoyer said that every trade deadline is important and this one is very important because they are in the process of gathering as much talent as possible. Hoyer explained that a team only has certain times to acquire talent during the season and an organization needs to take advantage of the opportunity every time they can. Last year was the first time that Hoyer had been on the sellers end and a team can never feel good when they have to sell off talent. The goal is to be on the other side and to always be a buyer in this business. Hoyer explained later in the interview that the Cubs have to be creative during this time, do all of their homework and even think of possible three-team deals. If there is a team they are not prepared for if or when they call then they have not done their homework. If is important to focus on every team, just not one or two.

The new regime is still learning the organization. Hoyer indicated that he is reading as many reports, watching as much video and talking to as many of the coaches throughout the system as he can in order to learn about the players in the system. He feels it takes a full season to learn a system from top to bottom.

Jed Hoyer is happy with the way Anthony Rizzo has performed this year. Rizzo took to their instruction and worked very hard to shorten his swing. Hoyer explained that while the numbers he put up this year with Iowa were similar to the ones he put up last year, he actually performed better because the difference in the parks (Rizzo played in the Northern Division of the Pacific League in the PCL last year, played in the Northern Division of the American League in the PCL this season). Now the key will be his ability to make adjustments.

The Cubs are pleased with the way Jeff Samardzija has pitched this year. There are a lot of great signs for the future according to Hoyer. The Cubs feel that by him getting through the hiccup in June it will help him with his development.

As for Josh Vitters, the Cubs are also happy with the way he has played this year but Hoyer is not sure if he will receive a call-up this season. Hoyer said that Vitters’ defense has come a long way this season and he’s quietly had a good season at the plate. Hoyer feels that Vitters was overshadowed by Anthony Rizzo. Vitters has put up good numbers, good power numbers and Hoyer pointed out that right-handed corner power is hard to find. Vitters still has development to do and Hoyer stressed how pleased the Cubs are with the season he’s had at the Triple-A level.

Jed Hoyer said Brett Jackson will be a big part of the Cubs’ future. Hoyer thinks Jackson would be the first person to admit that he has not had a hot streak this season. Jackson has a high OPS and has done a lot of good things in terms of extra base hits. As for the strikeouts, Hoyer admitted his strikeouts are a little high but thinks strikeouts will always be a part of Jackson’s game. Hoyer acknowledged Jackson needs to cut down on his strikeouts a little bit but the strikeouts have to be looked at in context. If Jackson is still doing everything else well [getting on base and hitting for power] then he can be a valuable player.

It is really hard to find the type power in today’s game that Jorge Soler brings to the table. The game has gone backward from a power standpoint over the past four to five years and the Cubs feel that his power is worth the investment. The Cubs did their homework on Soler and Hoyer complimented his people for keeping him in games during the process. It helped the Cubs make the decision because he was facing competition instead of performing in showcases.

Jed Hoyer said they are going to take it slow with Jorge Soler. He is going to spend the next month or so in “spring training” in Mesa. Hoyer explained the time will be used to get him ready to play, the same as regular spring training. Soler might get in games by the end of the minor league season.

The Cubs are sending two players to the All-Star game in Kansas City next week. Hoyer said that Starlin Castro deserved to be voted in. Hoyer is very happy for Bryan LaHair. Hoyer said LaHair has worked very hard to get to where he is and no matter what happens no one can take away the fact he made a Major League All-Star team.

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  • Ripsnorter1

    I am convinced that Sveum rides Castro and is bent on “helping” (re: destroying) him.

    Let’s see….Castro is 4 for his last 28 but has walked 5 times.

    I fear the Cubs are taking an All-Star shortstop and messing him up. Sure, I want Castro to walk more, but I also do not want him to become a .247 hitting shortstop. His OBP has dropped with this new approach. He has a career .347 OBP, now it is .315 and dropping.

    BTW, Castro is leading MLB is CS with 9.

    Jarmillo was dismissed on 12 June 2012. It was over his aggressive hitting approach. (BTW, he had been credited with developing Starlin Castro). So how has Castro fared under the new regime?

    June: .264
    July .125

    Things are not good, folks. They are messing with the man.

    I think there is a way to teach a hitter to swing at strikes only. But I think they are over-pressuring Starlin with some of the comments Sveum has made. Sveum goes to the press and threatens the bench (or was it a veiled reference to AAA Iowa) if he doesn’t improve with his keeping his head in the game. And then Sveum is riding Castro and Rizzo has to step in and say it wasn’t Castro’s fault, it was Rizzo’s, etc.

    I mentioned last year that Castro’s sinful behavior (with the woman at the bar) could have catastrophic impact upon his career. I wonder if he really needs Sveum to ride him with spurs at this time. The mind is so very important to success in MLB. So very, very important.

    You watch, Cubs’ fans. You watch and see if Sveum and Team Theo doesn’t destroy your young SS.

    • cubtex

      He is no doubt being told to take more pitches. It is a adjustment period. He will learn when to be aggressive and when not to be. He needs to take his walks but he needs to look for his pitch early in the count and drive the ball. He is one of the top young hitters in the game. Right now I think he is looking to walk and he is a little messed up mentally. He is too good of a player for this to continue.

      • Ripsnorter1

        He IS messed up mentally.

        My observation is that Sveum treats him roughly.
        And he isn’t the only one, either.

        And I watched the Atlanta broadcast last night. They spent a lot of time showing Bosio and Sveum, and their interactions, and they were pretty rough, I thought, on Dolis and Ascencio.

        • cubtex

          I don’t understand why they would not call up Vitters this year as well. This is not a 2 or 3 year minor leaguer. He was a top 5 pick. Mike Moustakis another high schooler and third baseman is starting in KC. Does that mean Vitters is ready to start? No…..but it shows that he might be. Give him a couple of months this year. No pressure and he can get some valuable experience. He is raking in AAA and I am sure his confidence is at a high right now.

          • BosephHeyden

            I was reading up to see if Andrew Cashner was okay, and I came across a bit from one of his interviews after he got traded where he said he was traded because he was “a Hendry guy and not a Theo/Jed guy.” And with the fact that, so far, the only guys Team Theo has called up outside of Dollis (simply because Dollis went all out in Spring Training and made it unwise not to keep him up) and Rizzo (who we all knew was going to come up barring an awful Triple A season) are Cardenas and Valbuena, two guys that Theo and Jed obtained during Spring Training off waivers.

            Even if Brett Jackson did well in the minors, Jed and Theo went on record stating he was likely going to be a September callup at best. Outside of Jackson, only Rizzo was expected to do well enough to make it to the Bigs this year, even if there was that whole control issue that lead to him having to wait until recently to come up. Vitters, on the other hand, wasn’t really a planned success. Last year he was average, and he started off that way this year, but got hot. People are saying every part of his game has improved recently. And, as it is a dead horse that has been beaten numerous times, there’s an opening at third in the majors right now.

            Ultimately, I get the feeling that the only reason Vitters isn’t getting called up is that he’s a Hendry guy, not a Theo guy. I hope I’m wrong and that our new management isn’t that egotistical, but so far, I can’t think of any other reason he’s not up yet.

          • DWalker

            If theo brought guys up and they performed at one iota less then superstar, we would be hearing all about how they are rushing the guys through the system, and why can’t they be left to develop? Rizzo was expected to perform because he had all the earmarks of being almost ready even after last year. No one else in the system looked that good, and if you look at reports from outside the cubs fanbase, there wasn’t a whole lot of excitement about the top prospects.

            Cashner may not have been a theo guy, but he was also one of the few bargaining chips that could bring rizzo in. He was also an injury suspect pitcher who a lot of people were looking at as a reliever instead of a starter. Cubs needed a cornerstone 1st base (LaHair did not really look like that), Rizzo was an obtainable, known quality, true impact every day player that could pair off with castro as the long term faces of the club. Cashner is a hot young pitcher with a lot of big question marks.

            Yes, Vitters has gotten hot, but when you look at it from theo and jeds perspective, there is ONLY one reason to bring him up right now, and that is to satisfy fans who aren’t content with the savior rizzo now that they can’t look forward to him coming up. He didn’t perform well last year, he didn’t start out hot. He still has some things to work on, and they don’t want to throw him to the wolves of ML pitching to have him do another rizzo. The ML team is a wash, they really don’t give a damn about winning this year so there is no reason from a productivity stand point to bring him up. And I’ll say it again, control. A dirty word to some of the people on here, but no front office worth a dime is going to squander it. So, they will let him beat up on AAA, prove he isn’t just having a hot streak and then they will worry about bringing him up after a few times around the league.

            Jackson was in the same boat as vitters, especially since as a top prospect they probably had scouted him (and vitters for that matter) pretty heavily over the years already. They knew he had contact issues stemming from his swing and that they probably weren’t going to be fixed so easily. In fact, Jackson at this point may not even be a major factor in their plans.

            Frankly, I doubt they had reams of data on most of the guys in the system, I don’t think people realize just how lacking the data on the farm system probably was from the most understaffed/outdated front office in MLB. Complete overhaul + lack of data? yeah, no surprise they aren’t rushing guys up the ladder. Sure theo and jed have ego’s, but they are playing it cautious this time around and taking the long term view of a system they don’t know and have absolutely no reason to be overly impressed by.

          • BosephHeyden

            Okay, I can understand not wanting to “feed him to the wolves”. But at the same time, would you say it’d be smart to bring him up once September rolls around and the rosters expand? I don’t think they should do that for Jackson, but if Vitters stays hot, or at the very least levels off and just becomes a solid player, I don’t think there’s any reason to keep Vitters out of the majors all year.

            But at the same time, my thinking here is that, because of the fact this team doesn’t have anything to play for and has that hole at third currently being filled by utility men, not to mention Vitters is doing well on offense, why not bring him up at least for a few games? Because I would think, at least with a player like Vitters, options are not really a big worry, because once he’s up, he’s likely staying up. I didn’t hate that the Padres did that last year with Rizzo, and it probably helped him out a bit, I just think that they should do the same with Vitters. Best case scenario: we discover he can handle major league pitching and winds up being the player we hoped he’d become when we drafted him.

          • DWalker

            I can’t argue with that, in fact, short of something major happening (total slump or injury), I’d be surprised if he wasn’t called up Sept, heck even earlier (I did say “right now”). I wouldn’t bet on it but I’d not be a bit surprised at an august call up. Actually, I am somewhat optimistic we’ll start seeing some guys moving around soon, tom’s post in the new thread seems to indicate that might be starting. If we get through July and we still aren’t seeing any promotions for guys hendry brought in who have been performing, I might have to start agreeing with your earlier statements.

          • Dorasaga

            Rizzo’s clock has been ticking earlier since called up by the Pad. Hoyer & Co. are holding back Bret’s clock to buy arbitration time.

            Hoyer through the interview, as summarized by Neil here, clearly states that he still needs to go through the system top to bottom and figure out value of each player. Bret is no different, whether being first round pick or not.

        • cubtex

          You know my thoughts on Sveum. Not a fan.

          • Ripsnorter1

            You should have watched that Atlanta broadcast. You would have seen Sveum & Bosio working on the confidence of those guys. Not good. Not good at all.

      • paulcatanese

        His best pitches to hit have been early in the count,
        and as you know he is taking them. And his desire to hit the ball overpowers the thought process of taking the low outside pitch and he automaticly goes after it.
        They are trying(Sveum) to break him of swinging at bad pitches, but when one has a hitter that thinks only of hitting the ball and believes thats what he is at the plate for and why he is playing the game, he is going to be messed up mentally.
        And he is not the only one in the lineup that taking a strike is what the manager wants.
        Just dosent work with certain hitters.

    • paulcatanese

      Not to mention it drives the dollar amount down for a long term contract.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Now we are back to “losing big on the cheap.”

        Wait. I can’t say that. Team Theo is infallible. You know.

        But what can I say? It isn’t my cup of tea. So I’ll have a glass of water instead.


        • paulcatanese

          Starting to agree with you Rip,and that seems to be the way they are going.

          • paulcatanese

            Whoa Rip, I agreed with you and now we are both in deep doo doo.
            Don’t care, you are good company to be asscociated with:)

  • Ripsnorter1

    Wow. Atlanta needs starting pitching in a big way.

    They have
    Randall Delgado starting tonight: 4-8…4.52 ERA and in his last two starts, he’s pitched a grand total of 5.1 IP with 8 ER and 14 H allowed.

    Add in the fact that Jurrgens stinks. Mike Minor stinks. Delgado stinks. Atlanta needs TWO starting pitchers. TWO!

    Even Maholm is better than those three.

  • Ripsnorter1

    It’s so sad. Ozzie Guillen blew a gasket last night when his Miami Dead Fish lost again. They are 7-19 over the last 26 games. It’s all very sad.

    Why is Ozzie so sad? Aram hit a walk off, 2 run tater off of Ozzie’s lovable closer: Heath Bell. Bell is Mr. Blown Save 2012, having blown 5 saves this year, and having a Marmol-like 6.39 ERA. And that after signing a 3 yr, $27 million dollar deal over the winter. It’s all so very shocking that a big contract has effected the mind of a closer.

    • Tony_Hall

      Heath Bell benefited from pitching in Petco. It was a bad deal when the ink was still drying…

      • Ripsnorter1

        I thought that, but it isn’t true. He had a lower WHIP, ERA and Slugging against on the road. Yup. On the road.

        But I did read an analysis about him before he signed with anyone, and the conclusion was that he was not going to succeed no matter where he went.
        The reason was that he was losing velocity.

  • Anthony

    Hoyer…………”The game has gone backward from a power standpoint over the past four to five years ”
    Now, what would be the reason?
    How about the cycling off of PEDs, etc.
    As mentioned several times, it is, and should be reverting back to the days where there were a few legitimate HR type power guys, some advanced polished hitters in the .300 range with 15-20 HR’s(George Brett types), and the rest a bunch of solid average major league hitters.
    Tell me I am crazy. Is it so obvious that in a clean game, there is really no legitimate clean power in MILB, NCAA, that warrants spending tens of millions of dollars on an unproven Cuban kid? Has the talent level become so bad here?
    And again, mere speculation on my part, but based on recent PED history of the game. Soler WAS a tall, skinny kid on the CJNT at age 17/18 with a huge hole in his bat, and then kind of disappears from the baseball world for two years and reappears at 225/230 lbs., and he aint fat, and he went “ungoverned” during this absence?
    On his comments about Jackson, well, he stated the obvious, and I said all winter he always struck out at a high level from as far back as his freshman year in college. He has a one-plane swing, which means he will crush balls in that limited path, and totally miss pitches out of that path.
    To correct that would require a total breakdown of his swing and set him back years if he is even physically capable of making that change. That isnt happening, so “he is, what he is”
    Vitters will enjoy more success than Jackson because Vitters issue is discipline, or zone shrinkage(eyes). Vitters has demonstrated since high school excellent hands, or the opposite of a one-plane swing.
    Rizzo appears Legit.
    MLB has been slowly changing back to “by the book” baseball and should get back to “normal”, and leads to this unpopular comment: You can sacrifice some offense at the SS position for stellar defense(Vizquel-type) because an TRUE SS will save a team many Runs.
    TRADE CASTRO for frontline starting pitching.
    The game starts, and finishes with solid pitching.

    • paulcatanese

      Good post Anthony, havent posted in a few days as I was upset with the signing of a 16 year old (and still am) and agree with you on Soler.
      A few years back a team signed a 13 year old for $5000.00
      and I cannot imagine what possesess a team to do that.
      Just because a lot of them 16-17 years old are being signed does not make it right.
      The playing field is not level.

      • Anthony

        Paul, are you referring to the signing by the Cleveland Indians? The report on BA said the Tribe gave this one tool kid 7 figures and projects as a slow, weak-armed left fielder with a hole in his bat.
        Call me crazy, but will someone please lend their expert opinion why these DR/Latino kids are so coveted that these signings pretty much make MLB decision-makers lunatics.
        Their baseball ego’s are so huge, they think they can develop choice Steak out of ground horsemeat?
        These MLB decision-makers are so desperate to gain control of the kids just because they, by law, pretty much dont have to go to school and get to play baseball 24/7/365.
        This is the system they want, they are the money behind the foreign cattle farms raising stock as assets(kids), and then import them, green card them, and pay them huge dollars from a revenue pool that is generated by the end-users, the American Public, with $5 dogs, $8 beers, and rising ticket prices, a portion of your TV bill, and any other way to fleece your wallet.
        MLB is becoming LNBL rapidy.
        The Latino Nations Baseball League, starring the Chicago Cubans.

        • paulcatanese

          No, the signing was in the 80’s and I believe it was the Jays, interesting article from inside baseball by Melissa Segura and the kids name was Jimy Kelly(not sure on the name)
          he was cut at the ripe old age of 20.
          Found it on the White Sox blog(sorry)

    • Ripsnorter1

      While I agree with much of what you say, I am not trading Castro for “front line pitching.” Not gonna do it. It wouldn’t be prudent. I want the everyday bat, as in my book, it is more valuable than an injured pitcher.

  • BosephHeyden

    So…we’re not bringing up Vitters because why? This is a last place team that plays in a ballpark that is mostly hitter-friendly and currently has no real third baseman. If he doesn’t call up Vitters, he’s incompetent.

    • Cubs101

      Incompetent…you are an expert in that field.

      • matthew8510

        go away troll

        • Cubs101

          Now what got you so angry today?

          You wish to see my home burn down, and it is Neil who protects you.

          • BosephHeyden

            Washing my hands of you now. I tried to help you, and you keep changing your name, but your overall attitude keeps shining through.

          • CubsHistory

            I remember how a Roman governor washed his hands on a man who was hated & prosecuted by Jewish religious leaders….they were jealous of that man’s views and opinions.

          • matthew8510

            just go away and leave neil out of this stop posting stupid polls no one likes trolls if you dont want to talk cubs get out of here

  • Cubs101

    Hot day once again boys & girls…..stay cool……

    Poll Question of the Day…..

    Which Cubs player is the MVP for this team at mid-season?

    A – Castro
    B – LaHair
    C – Dempster
    D – Soriano
    E – Smardzija

  • southpaw

    Real diplomatic way of admitting LaHair shouldn’t have made it to KC. And man.. the rotation is likely to go straight to hell if we can actually move Demo and Garza. Not that they’ve been that great, but we have no depth there in the minors.