Results tagged ‘ Jed Hoyer ’
Ted Lilly knew he couldn’t pitch any more but wanted to stay in the game, and on Tuesday, was named to a job in the Cubs’ front office. Lilly, 38, officially is a special assistant to Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer, and he will do a variety of tasks, such as helping with scouting and developing the young players. Epstein, Hoyer and Lilly discussed the job at the Cubs Convention in January.
“His reputation with the Cubs is sterling, which is fantastic, and not only as a person but as a competitor,” Hoyer said. “I really liked what he had to say. A lot of guys want to get back in and don’t want to work that much, and he made it clear he wants to work and wants to get involved in scouting.
“I think we’ll use him in a variety of ways,” Hoyer said. “He feels he has a pretty eye and likes to try to evaluate but also was really humble and knows he has to learn how to do it. He was excited to get back involved and I think we’ll feel out how to use him.”
Former Cubs GM Jim Hendry hired Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux in a similar role in 2010. Hoyer said Lilly will watch the Minor League pitchers, visit the Cubs’ affiliates, and scout some amateur players.
“It was pretty clear after a few conversations that he had something to add,” Hoyer said of Lilly. “I like the fact that to finish it off, he was with a Cubs team that won 97 games and they had success, and as we try to figure out how to build a winner in Chicago, he was part of it.”
Lilly pitched for 15 seasons with the Expos, Yankees, Athletics, Blue Jays, Cubs and Dodgers. He was in Chicago from 2007-10, helping the team win back to back National League Central titles in 2007-08.
“I wanted to stay in the game,” Lilly said. “I would love to keep playing, too, but at this point, I’m sure that I’m retired from being on the field. I want to be around the game and I feel like I have something to offer. This is an organization that I’d prefer to be with, so it worked out.”
Lilly was limited to 13 starts the last two seasons with the Dodgers because of injuries. He started thinking about doing more than pitching in that time.
“The last couple years, when I had a lot of free time to think, I did start thinking about when my career was over,” Lilly said. “I wanted to keep playing but I definitely started thinking about this [type of work] at the end.”
Lilly has two young children, a 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter, and another child due in September, which makes a job as a pitching coach tough because of the time commitment needed. He is committed to the Cubs.
“The experiences I had the first couple years here winning were incredible in the sense that we put together a team that was expected to win,” Lilly said. “We didn’t accomplish the ultimate goal of winning a World Series but it was such a great experience. We had so many professionals in the clubhouse and guys who went about it the right way. I think that’s why I’ll always refer to those two years in Chicago as the best years I’ve had as a player.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs are making sure shortstop Starlin Castro reports to Spring Training in better shape. The team assigned strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss to the Dominican Republic to work with Castro for three weeks in November. In January, Castro will start workouts at the Cubs’ facility in the Dominican. The shortstop is coming off his worst year, batting .245 this past season. GM Jed Hoyer said other teams have expressed interest in Castro, knowing the team has shortstop Javier Baez coming up in the organization.
“We’ve always gotten hits on [Castro],” Hoyer said Monday during his media briefing at the Winter Meetings. “I think people see him as a guy who was one of the best young players in the game a couple years ago.”
In 2011, Castro totaled 207 hits and batted .307, and followed that in 2012 with a .283 season. He asked the Cubs to help him as far as an offseason workout.
“I think he was frustrated by his season,” Hoyer said. “I would be very surprised if he didn’t show up at Spring Training in great shape, ready to go. I hope we look back on [the 2013 season] four, five years from now as a good learning experience for him and a wakeup call, if you will.”
Castro did play 161 games this year but Hoyer said to do that, a player needs to be “in really unbelievable shape.” The Cubs are banking on Castro, which is why they gave him a seven-year, $60 million contract in 2012.
“I think we felt like there’s no reason he can’t be a little faster and he can’t have more range than he does,” Hoyer said. “He’s at that age — he’s going to be 24 years old [in March]– where he’s going to start to put on a little bit of htat man strength.
“He was a college-age kid when he came up and I think he can start to put on that muscle mass now and maybe that does improve his speed, his range, his power,” Hoyer said. “It’s something he wanted to do and we certainly encouraged it.”
– Carrie Muskat
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees and Dodgers are expected to be the most aggressive in pursuit of Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka when the posting system is finalized. Major League officials and the Japanese league are ironing out details.
Sherman said executives from two clubs expect the Cubs to be in the mix as well, with one saying they will be “really aggressive.”
Sherman notes that the Cubs have several impact position players (Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora) but not enough pitching.
Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have been involved in the posting process for Japanese players before. They were with the Red Sox when they gave $51.1 million posting fee to land Daisuke Matsuzaka. If the Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers and Red Sox are in pursuit of Tanaka, it will be expensive.
The posting fees are still to be resolved. According to Sherman, MLB officials have been trying to lower the fees transferred from their teams to Japanese teams as part of the process to gain negotiating rights. The Rangers paid the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters $51.7 million posting fee to get Yu Darvish, then signed him to a six-year, $60 million contract.
MLB has a current proposal that involves a limit of $20 million, Sherman writes.
Why is Tanaka so highly regarded? Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 28 regular season games with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, that’s why.
– Carrie Muskat
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
The Cubs join the list of teams interested in Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
“We’ve done our work on him,” Jed Hoyer told reporters on Monday in Orlando, Fla., at the general manager meetings. “We plan on being part of it.”
Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 28 regular season games with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball were discussing potential changes to the posting fee agreement. No matter what is decided, Tanaka may not fit in the Cubs’ budget, especially with the Yankees and Dodgers reportedly interested in the right-hander.
Tanaka is the most sought after Japanese pitcher since Yu Darvish signed with the Rangers prior to the 2012 season. Texas paid the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters a $51.7 million posting fee and then signed Darvish to a six-year, $60 million contract.
* The Cubs also have a pitcher whose name has been talked about this offseason and that’s Jeff Samardzija, who has been mentioned in trade rumors with the Nationals and Diamondbacks.
“Teams will certainly inquire about him,” Hoyer said. “He’s really proved over the last two years that he has great stuff. He’s a tough competitor.”
The Cubs and Samardzija have talked about a possible long-term deal. The right-hander is under club control for two more seasons. He’s coming off his first full season as a starter in which he was 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA, 214 strikeouts over 213 2/3 innings.
“There could be rumors,” Hoyer said. “Jeff has the perfect mentality for that. He just doesn’t pay attention. I think it’s somewhat the nature of being in a big market. You are going to have your name out there.”
The Cubs are in the market for pitching, hoping to add another starter and some bullpen help, including a closer, this offseason.
* Hoyer said the Cubs will announce their coaching hires at one time, and expect to name a hitting coach from outside the organization.
– Carrie Muskat
* Several members of the Cubs’ front office, including Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer, will be in Arizona this week to watch some of the young prospects play in the Arizona Fall League and the instructional league games. The AFL begins Tuesday with the Mesa Solar Sox — or “Soler Sox,” as in Jorge Soler — traveling to Glendale to play the Desert Dogs. Cubs prospects playing for Mesa include Soler, Albert Almora, Kris Bryant, Wes Darvill, Matt Loosen, Dallas Beeler, Lendy Castillo and Armando Rivera.
* Arodys Vizcaino, acquired from the Braves in July 2012 in the Paul Maholm trade, has been rehabbing in Mesa, and was scheduled to throw a live batting practice session on Tuesday, then pitch in instructional league games Oct. 15 and Oct. 18. The right-hander will likely see some action in Winter League play as well.
* Mike Olt, acquired from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal this year, got some extra swings in at the Cubs complex this past week.
* There’s been a lot of progress made at the Cubs’ new Spring Training complex in west Mesa. It’s nice to see the stadium taking shape, palm trees planted and water in the little lake. The Cubs will leave their Fitch Park facility in November.
– Carrie Muskat
GM Jed Hoyer talked to Cubs beat writers in Cincinnati and said talented prospect Javier Baez, 20, will not break camp with the Cubs in 2014 despite hitting 37 home runs and driving in 111 runs in 130 Minor League games.
“Listen, he’s really talented,” Hoyer said Tuesday. “I still think he has development left. We’re going to go into Spring Training with that mindset.”
Baez committed 44 errors, one reason he might not be ready for the big leagues.
“Guys that do that at his age normally go on to have really good careers,” Hoyer said of Baez. “He’s not ready yet, either. But what he did was pretty special.”
The Cubs are having discussions about roster decisions for 2014. Hoyer said one of the hardest things is that “we all see these players coming and we’re excited about our future and where those guys are. But we also realize it’s likely that none of those guys are going to start the season in the big leagues. As we sort of make out the lineup card, the 25-man roster for next year, that’s not going not going to be part of it.”
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said they were never that close to making a deal at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
“The good thing is we feel we were incredibly productive this month,” Hoyer said. “We made a lot of deals and feel we got better as an organization this month.”
There was interest in Nate Schierholtz, David DeJesus, Kevin Gregg, James Russell, Dioner Navarro and Carlos Villanueva, but no deals were made.
“We’re happy with the players we kept, if you want to look at it that way,” Hoyer said. “We thought we had a high, but not unreasonably high price on some of the guys. A lot of the guys who were being asked about, we control going forward. We feel it makes our winter potentially easier. We didn’t have the value there to make any deals today. It’s fine. I think our July was really productive and we’re happy about it and now we can move forward.”
Hoyer said when teams make deals early in the month, they’re pretty specific about what they want.
“It was strategic to move early and we’re glad we did it,” he said.
The Cubs’ plan is to continue to acquire assets. That won’t change.
“One thing is obvious from today if you look around the league is that people hold really tight to their young players,” he said. “We need to get a lot more of them. That part won’t change. I’d love to be in a situation where we’re on the other side of the conversation next year and years going forward.”
– Carrie Muskat
A year ago at the Trade Deadline, the Cubs dealt two of their starters, lost another to injury, and then shut down another in early September. They had to scramble to fill in the gaps. This year, the Cubs have already traded one starter — Scott Feldman — and Matt Garza could also change uniforms by the July 31 deadline. But this year, the Cubs feel they’re better prepared to handle the moves.
“There’s no question the pitching staff we ran out there in September  was short,” GM Jed Hoyer said Wednesday. “I think we feel a lot better about that. We have more depth in the Minor Leagues, more depth on the Major League roster. It was hard to watch [last year]. … Shutting down [Jeff] Samardzija was incredibly hard because we didn’t have anyone to fill in for him.”
The Cubs expect Scott Baker, who has been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, to be ready in about a month. Jake Arrieta, acquired from the Orioles in the Feldman deal, also could start. Plus, they already have Carlos Villanueva, who has gone from the rotation to the ‘pen and back to the rotation.
Chris Rusin and Brooks Raley, who both made their Major League debuts last season, also have another year of experience.
“There’s obviously no question we’re much more equipped than last year,” manager Dale Sveum said.
Garza is the prime pitcher on the trade market, and Hoyer acknowledged that he has received a lot of interest.
“There’s obviously a lot of incoming phone calls,” Hoyer said. “There’s a lot about Matt, obviously, but a lot about other players on the team, too. I think in general in the game, phone traffic has picked up. I feel there’s a lot of interest in our players. The team is playing well, and a lot of our individual players are playing well. I think that’s a big part of it.”
Scouts also are keeping an eye on closer Kevin Gregg and outfielder Nate Schierholtz.
– Carrie Muskat
* GM Jed Hoyer said it was time for shortstop Javier Baez to be promoted from Class A Daytona to Double-A Tennessee. Baez was batting .274 and led the Florida State League with 17 home runs.
“He’s similar to [Starlin} Castro,” Hoyer said of Baez on defense. “I think he’s going to have to eliminate some careless errors. He’s got great hands and can certainly play the position. He’s run the bases well, he had a monster month at the plate, played better defense, has been a good teammate. It’s time for a better challenge for Javy.”
Hoyer said Baez is ahead of schedule by about a month. They did expect him to get to Double-A, just not this quickly.
“We thought it was time for a new challenge for him,” Hoyer said.
There will be some growing pains, Hoyer said. Is there a chance Baez could join the Cubs in September?
“I think it’s highly unlikely,” Hoyer said. “I hate saying ‘no chance’ to take the carrot away from someone. That’s not our plan. The best thing to do is go prove he can dominate at Double-A.”
* The July 12 deadline to sign Draft picks is fast approaching. The Cubs have yet to agree to terms with their first-round pick, third baseman Kris Bryant. He’s one of five first-round picks who have not signed with their respective teams.
“We’re optimistic it will get done on the 12th, or hopefully before that,” Hoyer said. “We’re going to be fair to him with what we offer. We want him to be a Cub, and hopefully our offer will enable that to happen.”
– Carrie Muskat