11/14 Cubs GM on pitching, Olt & more

The Cubs’ Jed Hoyer talked to reporters in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday, the last day of the general manager meetings, and discussed a variety of topics. Here is a sample, courtesy of MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, who was covering the meetings.

Q: What are the Cubs looking for pitching-wise?

HOYER: “I felt like last year, we traded a couple of guys away, but I did feel like if we had a strength on that team, that was probably it. The starters’ ERA and rank in quality starts was pretty good. We’ve done a really good job. We’ve signed guys like [Paul] Maholm and [Scott] Feldman and they’ve come in and got better. We don’t sign those guys looking to trade them. I think we want to have that stability, but I feel that’s a strength of our team, that we can sign guys and they’ll come in and have success.

Q: With pitching, is the emphasis on quality or quantity?

HOYER: “You’re always looking for high quality starting pitching. Everyone wants the guy who can start Game 1 of a playoff series or stop a losing streak. You also know the attrition of a season, it gets ugly. When you don’t have enough depth, that’s when teams really feel the pinch of a lack of pitching. You’re always looking for both but certainly I feel like we’ve worked hard to increase the pitching depth in the system. Maybe that’s slightly less of a concern than it has been in the past.”

Q: What about third baseman Mike Olt?

HOYER: “Mentally, he’s doing well. I think with a prospect like him, this is a guy who was a top 20 prospect. He had a down year and I think in this business, if you try to buy guys at the high point of the market you’re not going to have a lot of success. You need to always be looking for guys that had a down year. Maybe there’s a reason behind it and you can hopefully bounce back. We liked where he was mentally at the end of the year. We’ve been in contact with him. I know he’s working hard on his conditioning. We just hope that he looks back at a long, successful career and 2013 is the nadir.”

Q: Have teams asked about outfielder Nate Schierholtz?

HOYER: “We were proud of Nate. He was a guy that was non-tendered that we signed. He liked our opportunity, he came in and a lot of people asked about him in-season. We chose to hold on to him. That interest remains, but give him a lot of credit. I think he proved to a lot of people that he is an everyday player. He did that through hard work.

Q: What would be a successful Cubs season?

HOYER: “I always define it the same way. You want to win, but I think where we are as an organization, you want to be closer to the World Series. Closer to that team that is a sustained winner that comes to Spring Training every year with a chance. I think if we’re a lot closer when we’re talking next year, wherever these meetings are, then it was a good season. If we move that forward, obviously you can never answer that question without talking about winning. You want to win in the big leagues. But we also want to move our timetable closer to being the organization that we want to be.”

Q: Will the Cubs’ top prospects get to the Majors in 2014?

HOYER: “There’s a chance. We also want to be patient. The last thing we want to do is short-circuit their careers or harm them long-term by rushing them. I think when they’re ready, we’ll bring them up. It’s nice that they’re a year closer. Hopefully next year at this time, they’re one year closer and in Wrigley pretty soon.”

– Carrie Muskat

11 Comments

((Q: What about third baseman Mike Olt?

HOYER: “Mentally, he’s doing well. I think with a prospect like him, this is a guy who was a top 20 prospect. He had a down year and I think in this business, if you try to buy guys at the high point of the market you’re not going to have a lot of success. You need to always be looking for guys that had a down year. Maybe there’s a reason behind it and you can hopefully bounce back. We liked where he was mentally at the end of the year. We’ve been in contact with him. I know he’s working hard on his conditioning. We just hope that he looks back at a long, successful career and 2013 is the nadir.”))

That statement right there will explain a lot to some on this board, of course you have to comprehend it. Buy low sell high. In the two years of Epstein/Hoyer there have been a few that did not work out. Stewart comes to mind, even that was a gamble as there was no 3rd baseman in the system ready at that time..
My guess is Bard may be another guy that was bought low on the chance he may come back, but probably wont. However, it was worth the chance with his past success.

Exactly, You take a chance with a low risk and possibly get a high reward. If you don’t get a high reward, then it was a low risk to begin with and you can move on. I’ve seen people on here still crying about Ian Stewart. So it didn’t work out, big deal! It’s not like we’re still paying him now or that his being here blocked anyone else from making their Major League debut. That’s why I flipped out last month when people were making a huge fuss about picking up Matt Gamel off of waivers. There’s another low risk move that at the very least might help the Cubs bench depth, and people were acting like it was another Alfonso Soriano acquisition. Eventually, the Cubs will be in a position to make that big risk move, but that will only happen when that big risk move is the potential last piece of the Cubs’ World Series puzzle. Robinson Cano and David Price are good players, but they are far from the last piece of the puzzle and would cost too much in dollars and/or prospects for the Cubs to make that move now.

Could not agree more Doug, appreciate your input as always.

So you mean to tell me the GM actually knows what he’s doing and understands the game?

WOW

Your brief comment was an excellent addition to the conversation Mike, I look forward to hearing much more of your valuable input.

Lol ya amazing what u get to talk about when some of the other knuckleheads stay out…. Keep it up guys… Breath of fresh air in here

Sooner or later, Theo & Jed has to put a MLB team together and not just a good farm system.

Well, yeah. The whole point of having a good farm system is that it will eventually translate over into a good MLB team. Remember, the Cubs had one of the worst farm systems in all of baseball when Theo & Jed showed up. It takes time to build up a farm system from pretty much nothing. Now they are among the best and it’s only a matter of time before that talent reaches the big leagues. Stay tuned…

Typical of the mind set. I guess its hard to understand that building up class A year after year will start netting very good ball players at the ML level. Harder to understand it will take 3 or 4 years.
Then if you actually want the sustained success that Theo/Jed speak about, every year you have to keep building that farm system or the word sustained is voided.
Even if the Cubs won the WS in 2014 or 15, Managements job is to keep Drafting, trading for, signing international FA’s and producing ML talent.
I explained all this to my 8 y/o grandson, after a few questions, he got it. Problem there is, he is a Cardinals fan.

The farm is also there to acquire those top of the line ml assets in trades but we are competitive enough to even think about it yet…..we need to hang on to the top 4 till we are contending…. That’s when lose guys can get u over that hump to the next level

How can Hoyer comment on Olt`s progress or status and not allude to Olt`s vision issue? When Olt struggles, it is due to his eyesight being impaired. Why is that not obvious? If Mike`s vision is clear, he will have success. It`s that simple, and it`s devious to ignore his past vision problems and not tell us Mike`s current status in that department.

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