Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer spent a lot of time on the radio prior to the Holidays and after introducing Jason Heyward. The Cubs have been one of the busiest teams in baseball this off-season. And the front office is not believed to be done.
The Cubs have made a lot of noise and created headlines. But everything that’s been done this winter is pointless unless the team wins the division and returns to the post-season tournament.
“It can be uncomfortable to get all of this kind of attention this time of year because typically teams that get the praise in December have time on their hands in October,” Theo Epstein said. “We are going to ignore all of that. I think we feel confident that we did the right thing for our club.”
Due to the transparency of the Cubs front office, the time Epstein and Hoyer spend on the radio talking about the team can be rather informative. Here are previously unposted notes and quotes from radio appearances made by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer during December.
Theo Epstein – Waddle & Silvy – ESPN 1000 – Dec. 15, 2015
On the Cubs being targets next season, the team has been the hunter, now they are the hunted. How does that change the approach?
“With a different group I’d be really concerned about that. It is a real phenomenon when you have the bullseye on your back. You can’t sneak up on anyone. In fact the opposite is true. Teams kind of hunt you out. They raise their level of play. It’s a big series when you play a team like that. First of all, I’m not sure we’ve sort of reached that level yet or that status yet. Maybe with a nice start to the season we can get there. With this group under Joe’s leadership and how hungry the guys are, they don’t feel like we’ve accomplished what we set out to do yet, because we haven’t. As special a season as we had last year, it was a third place club that we were on. We lost our last game of the year. We lost our last four games of the year in fact. If you saw the look in the players’ faces when the Mets celebrated, I think you would understand how important it is for them to go out next year, focus day-to-day and ultimately finish what we started. I don’t worry about it with this group, but it’s always something that you keep your eye on.”
Jed Hoyer – Inside Pitch – MLB Network Radio – Dec. 9, 2015
On signing John Lackey and what he brings to the team
“I guess you never have enough pitching. We are really happy with the pitching that we’ve been able to add this winter. I think with [John] Lackey, we love the competitiveness. We love the fact that on his day everyone is just going to be buttoned up and really serious. I think that having that kind of edge is really valuable.”
Jed Hoyer – Carmen & Jurko – ESPN 1000 – Dec. 16, 2015
On if Jason Heyward plays center field, does he translate as being as good a player in center as he is in right field?
“Obviously he’s an exceptional right fielder. I think if he plays center I don’t think you can’t expect him to be necessarily the best defensive centerfielder. There are guys out there that are simply faster than him, like a Kevin Kiermaier for example. All of our projections have him above average in center. The offense he provides it translates better to center field, so in some ways that tradeoff is probably pretty good. We have him in center field right now. I think we feel like one of the great things about Jason Heyward is he is so versatile and he does so many things well. Wherever he plays on the field for us I think he’s going to impact the game in a lot of different ways. Actually I think his best years are ahead of him, that’s the beauty of signing a guy when he just completes his 25-year old season. I still think [Anthony] Rizzo is getting better. I still think that Heyward is going to get better and that’s the beauty of the very rare 26-year old free agent.”
On the importance of team chemistry, is that a consideration when the Cubs are adding players?
“Our chemistry was so good last year and really the best I’ve been around in baseball. That’s a huge consideration as we are thinking about the guys that we are going to bring in. Bringing in anyone that would alter that dynamic really wouldn’t be smart at this point. We have such a good dynamic. There is no doubt you cannot transfer clubhouse chemistry from year-to-year. I think we learned that with the Red Sox. Every year is a different year. Every year that group is going to jell a different way. Last year it was really fantastic and hopefully we can do the same thing this year. And the nice thing is that these guys are going to be hungry. We had a great season last year. We surprised a lot of people. We also ended it with a thud. We got our butts kicked by the Mets. I think all of our guys are going to come in hungry. I know there is going to be people that are going to predict good things for us, but I think our guys are going to look right past that and they’re just going to focus on the job at hand. I think that’s the kind of group we have. I really do think we’ll have a great dynamic again next year.”
Cubs Interview Transcripts
And for our readers and those new to the site, here are links to radio transcripts that have been posted over the last month.
- Jed Hoyer – ESPN 1000 [Nov. 30]
- Tom Ricketts – 670 The Score [Dec. 15]
- Theo Epstein – Inside the Clubhouse, 670 The Score [Dec. 19]
- Jason McLeod – MLB Network Radio [Dec. 23]