Jed Hoyer spent time on 670 The Score and ESPN 1000 the Friday following the end of the Cubs season. Hoyer covered a lot of the same topics as Theo Epstein the day before while fielding questions on others.
Hoyer and Epstein have been transparent since day one more than four years ago. A lot can be learned about the team’s plans by just listening and reading what the front office says publicly.
Here are unpublished quotes from Jed Hoyer and notes from the two radio interviews. Links to the complete audio are available at the end of the report.
670 The Score – Mully and Hanley
“We never expected [Kyle] Schwarber to come up and have that kind of impact. We never expected [Addison] Russell to be up all season. [Kris] Bryant assimilated really, really smoothly. Those are the things that are really impossible to project and luckily a lot of those things went really well for us this year.”
Drafting Pitching – Pitching in Minor Leagues
“When you look at the Mets and the way that team has been built. Steven Matz was drafted in 2009, [Jacob] deGrom and [Matt] Harvey were drafted in 2010 and I think, [Noah] Syndergaard was traded for, but he was drafted in 2011. Really since Sandy Alderson went to New York they’ve really tried to draft hitting and the reason they tried to draft hitting because they inherited a ton of pitching. It takes a long time for those pitchers to develop.”
“Steven Matz had Tommy John along the way. Matt Harvey had Tommy John along the way. deGrom was converted. He had arm injuries along the way that slowed up their development. It’s hard to draft and develop pitching and certainly when you look at where our guys were drafted.”
“We drafted Kris Bryant in 2013, [Kyle] Schwarber in ’14, [Javier] Baez was in 2011, [Jorge] Soler we signed in 2012. Those guys were just recently signed, drafted and developed. For hitters it is a lot quicker so I think that really helped our turnaround. A lot of the pitching that we drafted is at the low levels and we really think that in the next year guys like Oscar De La Cruz and Justin Steele and Carson Sands and guys like that I think will start to become names people talk about more often as we start to move that pitching into kind of the High-A, Double-A area.”
“I think it makes a big difference. But it’s going to take a long time. We’re not going to be able to do with pitching what we did with hitting. It’s not going to be as quick but ultimately I think what the Mets have built is really special. I think occasionally a group comes along like that. The 2003 Cubs obviously come to mind. A lot of groups like that fall by the wayside. The history books are littered with threesomes and foursomes of starting pitchers that never quite developed where they want. Right now the Mets are doing it and that was an unbelievably impressive four games of starting pitching. You got to tip your cap to their development people. Those guys look great right now.”
“I think with our pitching, no doubt, we have to spend a lot of time and a lot of resources this winter, and really going forward, in getting more pitching. I think that part is obvious. I do think at the same time it’s easy to kind of bang on our pitching. We were one of the best pitching teams in baseball. We were third in overall ERA. We actually did have a very good run prevention season. We need to get that pitching into October better. We need make sure that games three and four that we feel like we match up better with some of the better teams.”
“There is certainly a vision we have for what this team will be. Everyone can probably imagine that a significant part of that involves these young players.”
When he thinks back on the last 45 days of the season, Hoyer reflects on how deep they were. The Cubs felt like they could play any combination of players and would run out a good team.
“The value of that is pretty incredible.”
Every team has injuries. Everyone needs a day off. “When you can run out a good player at almost every spot, every day, no matter whether you are on your first second baseman or your second second baseman or your fifth outfielder or your starting outfielder. That depth is something that we are going to be very reluctant to get rid of because of that.”
It’s unrealistic to think a team is going to stay healthy throughout the course of a 162 games. Injuries happen. Having a really long lineup, really good roster is what wins the marathon.
“I think we are developing a group of position players that can have that kind of depth. I think that is pretty exciting for us. I think we are going to be pretty reluctant to give up that kind of depth because I think that is a real strength for us in the future.”
The front office gets every player evaluator in the organization involved in the decision making. It’s just not Epstein, Hoyer and McLeod making decisions on players. There are “so many people” invested in the team.
“We probably have a little over 100 people that will contribute their thoughts and ideas. We get a chance to sit down and read them. We get a lot of great ideas that way. We get a sense of what the consensus is. It kind of challenges the old thought process. This is not one, two or three people sitting around making decisions and then informing everyone else. This is really a group effort because a lot of people have a lot of knowledge about what we are good at and what we are not good at. I think we’d be crazy not to rely on everyone that works for us.”
ESPN 1000 – Carmen & Jurko
Free Agent Pitching/Trading for Starters
Jed Hoyer was asked will the Cubs add pitching via free agents or trade.
“First of all I think we will take every approach. I think we will look at free agency. We will look at trades. We will look at every angle we possibly can to find pitching. Pitching comes from everywhere. It comes from small trades. It comes from guys you don’t necessarily expect to have great seasons. We’ve gotten a lot of good work out of guys that people didn’t expect to necessarily be top guys. Our pitching infrastructure is really good. Chris Bosio, Lester Strode, Mike Borzello have really gotten the most out of our guys.”
Hoyer thinks the Cubs ran out of gas at the end of the year from a pitching standpoint.
“We need to work on our pitching. We need to add more pitching. I think it’s a mistake to sit there and say we didn’t have good pitching. There was a lot of good for six months and even a lot of good, at times, in the playoffs. I think our bullpen in a lot of ways sort of goes largely un-talked about. Our bullpen was exceptional in the playoffs.”
“We need to add pitching. We need to address that.”
- Complete Audio of Jed Hoyer on Mully and Hanley – 670 The Score
- Complete Audio of Jed Hoyer on Carmen & Jurko – ESPN 1000