The CHICAGO-Chicago Cubs commit to MLB’s free agent market this winter after trading about half of their team schedule away this season.
“We plan to be really active in the free agency,” team president Jed Hoyer said Friday afternoon. “We plan to spend money intelligently. We are scouting that market strongly. We are going to analyze that market strongly. There are offseasons where free agency is something you make a little bit of, and we obviously need to be a little more active than usual. to fill our watch list because we have many more open places. “
It remains to be seen whether Hoyer commits to picking up documented players or simply end-of-the-roster guys. After trading prospective free agents like Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Joc Pederson and others in July, the team is starting to build a new-looking candidate as soon as possible.
The Cubs have made surprising contributions this season from minor league calls, such as center-backs Rafael Ortega, first baseman Frank Schwindel and third baseman Patrick Wisdom. In fact, the team has set a higher OPS since trading with its star players, while Wisdom already broke Bryant’s rookie home record of 26. But all three are over 30 years old.
Hoyer was asked if any of them are the long-term answers to their respective positions — or even starters for next season.
“Age is obviously a factor,” he replied. “The honest answer is that I do not know. Answering that question now is impossible. … It has been fun to watch. I really respect the efforts these guys have made.”
Pitching is another area of need. Contrary to placement player calls, the Cubs have looked at youngsters on the mound during the second half, such as Friday’s starter Justin Steele alongside righties Adbert Alzolay and Keegan Thompson. Everyone is a contender for the tournament next season, as only Kyle Hendricks is a sure thing right now.
“The free agency and the commercial market will help determine that,” Hoyer said. “They have [young pitchers] proven enough that they will be a big part of the team next year? Yes. What role? We have not decided yet. “
As for who will lead the team when it rebuilds / restores, there is no doubt in Hoyer’s mind that David Ross is the right man to continue on the job. His contract runs after next season, but he is likely to get an extension sooner rather than later.
“I love working with him,” Hoyer said. “He’s already an excellent manager. He has a chance to be special in this job.”
Hoyer will hire at least one off-season as he is currently interviewing candidates for his old job: general manager. It has been vacant since Hoyer was promoted to president of baseball operations after Theo Epstein stepped down in November.
The team would like to have a new general manager at the GM meetings in November. Hoyer confirmed that the hiring comes from outside organizations.