In my last few posts I have talked a lot about David Ross and whether he should have been on the hot seat if the Cubs missed the playoffs. My overall opinion was no he should not have been because he does not play the games he manages them with the roster he is given by Jed Hoyer. I stand by that opinion even without the many compliments of David Ross since Sunday by Jed Hoyer specifically those in his End-of-season of Season Press Conference (Source: Chicago Cubs Facebook Page).
Hoyer was asked at one point about being close to the Collective Bargaining Tax in relation to being more aggressive this winter. He brought up the momentum the team had at the beginning of September and then said, “That momentum is something we want to capture and continue.” The only question we should have after that comment about momentum would be; Does being spenders mean spending $300 million on four or five players like last year or will they be spending bigger on two or three bigger piece?
However, another reporter asked about the Cubs playing above expectations this season and having a better chance to make the playoffs next season. Hoyer’s response included, “I’d love nothing more than to build a young athletic team that’s built from within.” If they are building from within that could mean they are going to spend on two or three pieces and spend closer to $600 million to fill big holes they have.
Moving on let’s discuss the only free agent the Cubs can talk to while watching October baseball. That is Cody Bellinger. Over the weekend Bellinger was asked about playing for the Cubs this season by a reporter and said, “Playing for the Cubs organization and Wrigley Field was really special.” I’m sorry folks but while that comment was in the past tense we do not know exactly what he was asked and there were many reports after that comment was released by the reporter that Bellinger was seen talking to Tom Ricketts before Sunday’s game in Milwaukee.
During his press conference on Tuesday Hoyer was also talking in the past tense but also commented that the will definitely continue talking to Cody and try to keep him here. Here is the thing folks: while we do not know exactly what Cody was asked when making his comment and we know Hoyer wants to bring Cody back can Hoyer made it clear that they will not wait until close to spring training for him to make a decision. This means there is a good chance the Cubs will make a competitive offer to Bellinger and give him a hard deadline to decide by then if he does not come back by that deadline they will move on.
Next, let’s discuss Marcus Stroman who could become a free agent if he does not take his $21 million player option. Before Stroman’s rib injury my fellow writer, Gaurav Garg, said that he thought Stroman would not pick up the option. Generally, I understood what he was saying because of all the trade rumors back in late-May and June. However, I disagreed.
I felt that Stroman would pick the option up whether he was traded or not because he is a reclamation project like Jake Arrieta was back in 2013 and 2014. Here’s the thing: his rib injury could qualify him for Comeback Player Of The Year next year if he goes a full season and stays healthy with stats as good as those that he had the first half of this season. As a result, I see no reason what so ever that he will be headed out of town.
When asked about Pete Crow-Armstrong Hoyer said he told Crow-Armstrong about Anthony Rizzo hitting .141 in 2011 then being traded to the Cubs in the offseason in an effort to encourage him to make adjustments to his swing this winter. The only place Crow-Armstrong will go at the start of next year is Iowa if he doesn’t make the adjustments at the plate that Hoyer was encouraging him to make this winter.
Kyle Hendricks will have 10/5 rights in the middle of next season. Hoyer indirectly made it clear that they will be picking up the Club option and are not going to trade him.
When asked about Jameson Taillon Hoyer was talking in the third person about how Taillon definitely wanted to do better than he did and they wish he had too. We should not be surprised if Taillon is used as trade bait this winter possibly in a deal with the New York Mets for Pete Alanso after rumors started earlier this week that the Cubs and Mets were close on a trade at the deadline involving Alanso.
Two more notes about Jed Hoyer’s press conference:
- Hoyer talked about the series last week in Atlanta and said that they are setting the standard for what this eras teams should look like. He also commented when asked about Dansby Swanson and how involved he will be this winter that Dansby has been in their ear a lot already and has been “playing assistant gm”. This should lead us to believe that we will see a very active winter
- When asked about how the core guys like Swanson, Ian Happ, and Nico Hoerner might help recruit free agents Jed Hoyer talked about how they set the tone in the standard in the club house and will definitely be involved to some extent when talking to free agents. At one point, he also said that Just Steele is a “great example for all our young players that you can take yourself from good to great with hard work.”
With that… it is nearly time for free agency and trade rumors to heat up.
If you cannot play with them, root for them!