Contrary to what the overwhelming majority of Cubs fans look like, I’m not quite ready to send Jed Hoyer back to the sun. Not yet. I think we have to take a wait-and-see approach until the next offseason, see if the team takes meaningful and substantial steps to improve and go from there.
That being said, I’m beyond frustrated. After learning that we weren’t going to be heading for another long and painful rebuild reminiscent of what we went through at the start of the Theo Epstein era, with each passing day and each loss to the Pirates, it looks more and more more to those dark days of a decade or so ago.
Hoyer held court last weekend at Wrigley Field with Chicago plummeting, losers of 10 straight contests, addressing a variety of topics and standing firm in his support for third-year manager David Ross, who recently drew anger of fans, namely for his constant trotting out of Jason Heyward every night.
The Cubs president of baseball operations spoke with 670 The score Tuesday, hitting a ton of the same talking points — which, unfortunately, didn’t do much to give us any real idea of what the months and years to come will look like.
“When it comes to timing, I feel like that’s an area where I have to be humble,” Hoyer told Mully & Haugh. “As cliché as it is sometimes, you try to build it brick by brick and create this great base of young talent. You try to keep as much of the dry powder as financially possible so that when those (prospects) are there, you can really maximize that…. You have a financial currency and you have a prospecting currency. It’s really important to be as healthy as possible in both cases. I know the money will be there when the time comes to be aggressive again.
Now, obviously, Hoyer can’t boldly state that the gloves are going to come off this winter and the team’s payroll will top $200 million. It would be a bullish and short-sighted move on his part. After all, you know the league executives would be to like this information because it would dramatically change the landscape of free will this winter.
Cubs waiting for leads to grow won’t fly with fans
But many of his comments and responses simply lack clarity and are totally dependent on the organization’s successful development of prospects in its revamped and reloaded agricultural system.
“You have a financial currency and you have a prospecting currency,” Hoyer said. “It’s really important to be as healthy as possible either way…I know the money will be there when the time comes to be aggressive again.”
It’s problematic because your best player prospect, the one who looked like he could make his big league debut in 2022, is out for the year after undergoing back surgery at Brennen Davis. Another prospect, Ed Howard, is in a similar situation after suffering a serious hip injury earlier this year.
Former top prospects Miguel Amaya and Brailyn Marquez must now be viewed as total question marks given their later years, subtracting more of that “core” that Hoyer will want to see grow from his mix of prospects. And if the Cubs are really waiting for their young talents to prove themselves and show they’re ready for the big leagues, then playing with guys like Heyward is, at this point, more indefensible than ever.
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Watching the Cubs snap that 10-game losing streak to go to Pittsburgh and get outscored 19-2 in the first two games at PNC Park is so on the mark for this team right now, it’s not even funny. Fangraphs projected the Cubs 68-94 this year; if I was a bettor, I’m beating the underside on this win total right now.