Results tagged ‘ Jed Hoyer ’

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

11/12 GM meetings

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

10/6 Extra bases

* 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

9/11 Hoyer on Baez: “He’s not ready yet”

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.”

7/31 Hoyer: Not close to deal

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

7/10 Cubs better prepared for roster makeover

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 [2012] 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

7/6 Baez & Bryant

* 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

7/2 International flights

Tuesday’s Cubs trades weren’t just to acquire more pitching for the current team, but to bolster the resources they have for international prospects.

“This is an international class that our scouts really like, and we felt it was very deep,” GM Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. “The addition of dollars can help us be aggressive in this international market.”

The Cubs have reportedly signed 16-year-old shortstop Gleyber Torres ($1.7 million), considered the best player out of Venezuela in this year’s class and ranked third among all international prospects by MLB.com. The Cubs also have signed right-handed pitcher Erling Moreno of Colombia ($800,000). The team would not confirm those signings; the players must pass physicals before those deals can be finalized.

The Cubs are reportedly in the hunt for Dominican outfielder Eloy Jimenez, ranked No. 1 among all international prospects. At 6-4, 198 pounds, Jimenez is an advanced hitter with quick hands and projects as a corner outfielder because of his arm strength and ability.

Tuesday’s deals allowed the Cubs to acquire four slots — two from the Orioles and two from the Astros — and they traded one to the Dodgers in the Carlos Marmol exchange. According to Hoyer, the net total was $963,000. The extra money increases the Cubs’ total international pool to $5,520,300, the highest among all teams. The Astros’ pool dropped from nearly $5 million to $4,159,000.

This is the first year teams are assigned bonus pool money to sign players not eligible for the First-Year Player Draft in June because they are from outside North America. Teams’ bonus pools are based on the previous year’s won-loss record. Each team has four bonus slots adding up to its total, and is allowed to acquire more slots worth as much as half of that team’s original allotment.

By moving Scott Feldman when they did, the Cubs could have the money available on the first day — Tuesday — of the new annual signing period for international free agents.

– Carrie Muskat

6/15 Hoyer on Draft, Bryant

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer talked to Chicago beat writers in New York about the recent Draft and the team’s rebuilding process:

“We know we need to continue to add pitching,” Hoyer said. “It is an organizational weakness. But they always say drafting for need in baseball is exceptionally dangerous. We just felt like for our money, we took the best player on the board. I don’t think it affects our timing, but it does mean that pitching will be an emphasis in future drafts and any kind of trades we might make and in free agency.”

The Cubs selected outfielder Albert Almora with their first pick in 2012, and chose third baseman Kris Bryant this June. But pitching dominated their other selections in the Drafts.

“It’s very difficult to find starting pitching, for sure,” Hoyer said. “But it’s also very difficult to find power bats. The demographic we ended up choosing is also difficult to find.”

The Cubs hope to sign Bryant by the July 12 deadline.

“We’d love to get him out playing and get his Cubs career started as early as possible,” Hoyer said of the infielder.

Fans eager to see the Cubs put a winning team on the field need to be patient.

“When the Cubs were trying to win in 2007 and ’08, the Pirates and the Brewers and the Reds were rebuilding,” Hoyer said. “All those guys they were building [with] at that time are now coming to fruition. … We know it’s cyclical, but those teams have built up nice cores. When it comes to the Reds and the Cardinals, those are really mature good teams right now, and the Pirates have obviously built a nice team and have a lot of good stuff coming. No one ever said our process was going to come without competition.”

6/12 GM Hoyer on MLB Now

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer was a guest on MLB Network’s “MLB Now” on Tuesday and talked with hosts Brian Kenny and Harold Reynolds about a few topics:

* On the bullpen’s struggles:
“I think we’ve outscored our opponents by 30-plus runs in the first six innings. But innings seven, eight and nine, we’re getting killed. Our bullpen hasn’t shut down games. We’ve tried to mix and match in the bullpen so far, but that’s been our biggest struggle. I think we’re a solid team, but ultimately, you look at the Pirates for example, they dominate teams at the end of the game and we’re not there right now. That’s our biggest struggle right now. That’s what’s really separating us from being a team that’s right around .500.”

* On the Cubs’ offense:
“We still need to get on base more. We’ve hit for some power this year, but the on-base percentage has been a struggle. I think until we get on base more and grind out at-bats – I watch the Reds play with Choo and Votto. We don’t have that quality of at-bat yet, so I think that’s really holding us back a little bit.”

* On getting Starlin Castro to be more patient:
“He’s a great hitter. I think by the end of the year he’ll be back up by .300 and he’s a hit-maker. I think, with him, he has power. He’s a strong guy. I think the biggest challenge for him is getting into those counts where you can drive pitches. You’re not gonna hit a lot of home runs 1-2 in the count. You need to be up 2-0, 2-1. He’s getting better at that. He’s still developing that, but I think his power will come if he gets in better counts.”

* On getting Castro to go deeper in counts:
“It’s one that we talk about all the time because this guy is a slasher. He’s a guy that barrels up pitches all over the zone. It’s a good question. Do you try to teach a guy like that to get on base more and to get in better counts or do you just let him be and let him get his 200 hits? I think that’s a big question. I don’t think he can be the type of power player we think he can be without getting in those counts.”

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