Trade Deadline, Player Extensions, Pitching Depth, Second Base, Vaccinations
The President of the Cubs for Baseball Operations, Jed Hoyer, touched on a number of topics this week as the team moved a little over 500 and a big streak was imminent in St. Louis. You can read Hoyer’s comments here, here, here, and here, among other places. I’ll discuss some of the highlights below …
When and how to think about the trading period
Hoyer has said it before, and he is right to adhere to it: there is still a lot to evaluate before really considering an approach to the July trading deadline. It really depends so much on how the team fares + next month, especially if they could, for example, crush the Cardinals on the upcoming stretch where they’ll play 13 games by July 22nd. If the Brewers and Reds really start to break down, the schedule could dictate that the Cubs make a series of trading decisions only after these Cardinals games.
Under Hoyer’s comments:
“Rushing that decision doesn’t seem wise, you know?” Said Hoyer. “Hopefully we’ll continue to perform well and make this decision obvious, and I think we should give him time to figure that out …”
“Of course I understand why everyone is asking questions about the deadline, but I’m very open to that. I think this team had moments of struggle, but we also had moments when we played pretty well. I think we’re playing well right now. Our last six losses were one run. We’re hard to beat right now. The games we lost were lost through a run and I think we played pretty well …
“I hope this trend continues. Hope we can go to St. Louis this weekend and perform well. I try to be open to this team and the deadline. It is May 20th, there is plenty of time. There are two months and ten days. Of course you think about these different things. Rushing this decision doesn’t seem wise. Hopefully we will continue to do well and make this decision obvious. “
Incidentally, if the Cubs are able to be buyers, Hoyer said the “budgetary flexibility” will be there when needed.
Renewal negotiations or not
All the mandatory things to continue having relationships with certain key players after this season, even when the likes of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javy Báez are on their way to becoming a freelance agency. Box checked. It’s a candid position for the Cubs, I believe – at the right price – but it’s mandatory at this point as well. They like these guys and want to keep them. OK. I have it.
What really matters is whether extensions are still possible.
No wonder, but Hoyer repeated that the extension negotiations will not take place this season: “There are currently no (contract extension) talks with the players. It’s the middle of May, we’re playing and I think that’s not what they think. We always have the door open during the season, but we will not actively try to get it. I think we were asked not to do that in a number of ways because the players don’t want to deal with it. “
When the sides didn’t get very close to the deals by the end of spring training, we all knew this was the deal. It is conceivable that talks will resume for a people or two, but it is far more likely that the Cubs will simply see where things are in July, from both a commercial and manufacturing standpoint, and from a surveying standpoint Landscape. And then, in the end, the Cubs might get seriously involved with one or two of these freehand guys. It’s a shame it came to that, but I’m just trying to be realistic.
Oh, but if you want that crazy glimmer of hope, Hoyer admitted he wouldn’t tell us at this point, even if the Cubs talked to one of their boys again, “I wouldn’t be honest. I would say we are not. “AH HA! SO YOU ARE TALK TO YOU !!!
The second basic decision
As I wrote recently, I think the Cubs rightly decided to give David Bote the chance to take the second base job and thus finish the spring training, and I also think the Cubs are right now to make sure that Nico Hoerner it basically starts every day.
After the sound of things, Hoyer sees it the same way: “When it comes to the decision to be honest in spring training, I don’t regret it. I think David Bote is a really good player. Giving him the chance to really establish himself and take on this role was the right decision at that moment. We couldn’t believe in Nico anymore. … He was extraordinary. It’s great fun to see him. I’m glad he’s up here performing. It has had a very positive impact since his return. “
Start pitching and bullpen depth
When Hoyer found the rotation hadn’t given the Cubs what they’d been hoping for, he credited the bullpen for keeping the pitching afloat. But even when the Cubs have had so much success at the Bullpen and are overloaded (in a good way) with options, it’s still never enough.
“Our pitching depth is still something I think about every day,” said Hoyer. “I think we always have to be careful of that. One can never have enough. You can never have enough pitching. There’s never a night when you go to bed in this job or David Ross’s job and you think, “OK, we’re good. Our pitching is done. ‘That’s not the nature of it. “
Even now the Cubs probably have five people on Triple-A who could show up and join the Bullpen, but even with Alec Mills, Trevor Megill, Rowan Wick, Jonathan Holder and Shelby Miller there are no seats on the IL. I’ll never say that Hoyer is wrong when it comes to wanting more, more, more pitching depth, but I’ll say this is certainly the deepest the MLB-enabled bullpen pool has in recent years has been ten years. And that’s not even me talking about how GOOD they were – how deep!
Incidentally, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any break-ins. Or that continued injuries won’t expose people who aren’t quite as ready or sharp. It’s just a comment on the state of affairs from that moment on: It’s a deep, deep group, even if it’s also mixed up. You hardly notice how many helpers are at the IL right now!
Failure to reach the 85% vaccination threshold
Hoyer didn’t shred a word when it came to his team failing to meet the 85% vaccination threshold, which would have allowed the team to relax certain COVID protocols, * AND * would reduce the risk for players of playing games because of contact missing out on tracing or symptoms. Hoyer is happy that many players have been vaccinated and credits them with it. But the general disappointment was clear, including the fact that it could hurt her on the baseball side of things.
“We worked hard to get as many people as possible vaccinated,” said Hoyer. “We worked hard to convince or educate the reluctant people. I think we’re in a place right now where I’m not going to give up hope that we can get there, but my optimism is openly waning …
“I also feel that there is a real competitive advantage that we will be missing. The contact tracing thing is a big one. And if you have a positive case but the people around you have been vaccinated, the contact tracking element is taken away from the guys and if we don’t hit 85% we are missing that. So it’s disappointing. I can’t say it any other way …
“The fact that we can’t get rid of this is disappointing. Injuries can be preventable, but sometimes not, and your season can derail if you have injuries, and that’s part of the job. But I think that can be avoided. “
There’s a lot more here from Hoyer on this subject. It is deeply frustrating to think that the Cubs could lose one or more players completely unnecessarily for a long time. (And that doesn’t mean anything about the even more important contribution to ending the pandemic.)