Results tagged ‘ Jed Hoyer ’
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.”
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.”
Reliever Kyuji Fujikawa is done for the season. An MRI revealed ligament damage on his right elbow, and he will have Tommy John surgery.
“It’s the first big injury of my career,” Fujikawa said Wednesday. “I’m trying to look forward and trying to come back strong.”
The right-hander, who was placed on the 15-day DL Monday for the second time this season, felt some discomfort on the first pitch to the Reds’ Joey Votto in the ninth inning Sunday. That was his second inning of work, and Votto was the seventh batter he faced in the game.
“I was definitely disappointed,” Fujikawa said about getting the MRI results. “I gave it my all, and I don’t have any regrets.”
He compiled a 12.46 ERA in five games in April before going on the disabled list April 13-May 10 because of a strained right forearm. When he returned, he looked much sharper, and had given up one earned run over 7 2/3 innings in seven games for a 1.17 ERA. Sunday’s game was his seventh appearance since coming off the disabled list.
GM Jed Hoyer got the news Tuesday night and said the MRI revealed a rupture of the UCL in the right elbow.
“We’re disappointed, obviously,” Hoyer said. “Whenever we start talking about forearms, it concerns you. We were cautiously optimistic because the physical exam was positive. The thing about him saying he felt a ‘pop,’ to be candid, we were hoping
it might be something that was lost in translation. Obviously, he was right.”
The Cubs had MRIs of Fujikawa’s arm before they signed him last Dec. 7, and he was healthy.
“This was something that happened the other day,” Hoyer said. “It’s the nature of pitching.”
The Cubs and Fujikawa have not set a date for the surgery, nor have they picked a doctor. He was expected to have the procedure done in the U.S. The right-hander said he is confident he can come back and contribute to the Cubs.
– Carrie Muskat
GM Jed Hoyer likes how the Nationals have built their team with good Draft picks and smart trades. The Cubs are trying to get there.
“You look at the Reds, you look at the Cardinals, you look at [the Nationals] and we’re not there from a talent standpoint,” Hoyer said Saturday. “Some of these clubs offer a nice blueprint. You look at [the Nationals] as to where they were in ’08, ’09, ’10, and where they are now, and it shows you the value of young talent and they’ve done a nice job mixing veteran guys with that [young] talent. Right now, I want to see us compete with these guys on the field. You look at how they built their team but at some point, I want to beat them.”
The Cubs are in last place in the Central division, and appear headed for another overhaul at the Trade Deadline.
“The things we need to solve offensively are pretty clear,” Hoyer said. “Our starting pitching has been good enough to be a contender. The bullpen has not been, defense has not been … and the offense hasn’t been.”
So, what can the team do?
“We can play better and win a lot more games,” Hoyer said. “We need to win series. We need to win more games to not be in that position.”
The Cubs GM doesn’t want to overhaul the roster again. He’d rather they were in contention.
“We don’t want to be a seller, that’s not a position you want to be in,” Hoyer said. “But if you are in that position, you want to take advantage of it. You hope you’re looking to buy. It’s a lot more fun.”
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said he and Theo Epstein share in the team’s poor start, and Hoyer made a trip to Cincinnati to give manager Dale Sveum a vote of confidence. Hoyer said Sveum, now in his second season at the helm, has their “full support” and the 5-13 start is not because of the Cubs manager.
“We’re all in this together,” Hoyer said Tuesday. “We’ve struggled, it’s been painful to watch because we keep on squandering leads. That’s on Theo and that’s on me. We have to figure out ways to get better. We’re not the most talented team in the league right now. We’re trying to build to get there but as we get there, we can’t continue to make the kind of mistakes we’ve been making. We have to clean it up and get better. Dale has our complete support. That’s not what he should be thinking about in the least.”
The Cubs rank among the NL leaders in errors and have the worst batting average with runners in scoring position. The miscues were evident during the Brewers’ weekend three-game sweep when the Cubs out-hit them, 22-16. Sveum said they would find other options if players didn’t perform.
“The point Dale is trying to make, and I support him 100 percent, is that at some point there has to be accountability,” Hoyer said. “If that means benching a guy or reducing his playing time, disciplining him in some ways, at some point, [Sveum] has to be able to pull the strings he has to pull to manage the team successfully and obviously, he has our total support to do that. He’s got a great feel for the clubhouse, players respect him, and if he needs to do something to emphasize his point, then he has to do that.”
The Cubs have wasted solid pitching. The starters have a 3.11 ERA combined, third best in the National League. But the Cubs have been able to drive in just eight of the 28 players on third with less than two outs. The Major League average is 52 percent. The team isn’t doing the little things, such as advancing runners.
“Our starting pitching has been real good and if you had told me we were going to hit the number of home runs we have and have the kind of starting pitching we have, we should have a much better record,” Hoyer said. “We should have a much better record regardless.”
Hoyer and Epstein have communicated with Sveum a lot over the last few days, but the general manager felt he needed to meet with the manager and the team face to face.
“We know how hard he’s working and we’re having a lot of sleepless nights as we go through it, and we know he is as well,” Hoyer said. “We’re in this together. The front office doesn’t watch the games and think things are happening on the field that shouldn’t be. We’re in this together. We have to figure out how to play smarter baseball, whether that means making personnel changes, whether that means tightening up the players we have here, it goes without saying that we have to do better.”
What the Cubs front office is looking for is progress.
“The biggest thing for us, and this is Theo, me and everyone, we have to keep getting better,” Hoyer said. “I think we have a better team this year than last year. We haven’t played that way yet. We’re building toward something.”
He said the Reds are a good example of a team that is relying primarily on homegrown talent. That’s what the Cubs want to do.
“You want to see progress,” Hoyer said. “It’s a black and white business — our report card is in the paper every day, and you have to look at it that way. Wins and losses, that’s how we’re measured. … I think that’s part of why all of us are frustrated. We have played better than our record so far. As Bill Parcells said, ‘You are what you are,’ and we are 5-13, you can’t deny that. Feeling we played better doesn’t mean anything. We have to be better at converting these games to wins.”
– Carrie Muskat
It’s only 12 games, but the Cubs aren’t happy with the direction so far.
“It’s been frustrating with the results,” GM Jed Hoyer said. “The wins and losses, they are what they are, and that’s our record, but given some of the production, we should have more wins than we do.”
Cubs relievers entered Tuesday’s game with a 5.82 ERA, which ranks 13th in the National League, while the starters rank fourth in the league with a 3.28 ERA.
“It’s always bad when you can’t close out games,” Hoyer said. “If you want to look for a silver lining, we’ve been in a lot of games and we should’ve won more. If you’re getting blown out night after night and don’t have the talent to compete, I think it would be more frustrating. I think the way we’ve played is probably the most frustrating brand of baseball. There’s nothing worse than winning a game for 2 hours 45 minutes and then losing. I think that starts to wear on a team. As the game goes, the most frustrating brand of baseball is winning for most of the night and losing in the end, and we need to stop that. Obviously, the bullpen needs to tighten up and the defense needs to tighten up, too.”
The Cubs have been charged with 10 errors, third most in the Majors behind the Nationals (12) and Marlins (11).
“We’re off to a slower start than we would’ve liked,” said Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations. “[There's been] some sloppy play that we need to eradicate sooner rather than later. The bullpen is off to a slow start which can make for some tough losses.
“We’re not that talented that we can get away with playing sloppy ball, so we need to fix that,” Epstein said.
– Carrie Muskat
Theo Epstein’s brother, Paul, was running in the Boston Marathon on Monday, and Theo was in a meeting when he heard about the bombings. Paul finished before the bombs exploded, and was safe. For Cubs GM Jed Hoyer, seeing the explosions on TV was horrific.
“The injuries and the loss of life is awful,” Hoyer said. “If you live in Boston for any amount of time … [Patriot's Day] is kind of the best day in the city. The Red Sox game is in the morning, everyone has off work, everyone runs out of the Red Sox game and goes right to the race and watches the end of the race, and there’s usually tons of parties and gatherings at night. It’s a day that’s unique to Boston, and unique to Massachusetts and everyone has a great time and lives it up. For the rest of the country, most cities don’t have that one holiday that’s unique to them.”
Hoyer said he’s hopeful Boston bounces back.
“Seeing the blood on the ground outside buildings that you walk past every day is hard,” he said.
– Carrie Muskat
An MRI showed Cubs pitcher Matt Garza has a mild lat strain on his left side, and he will be shut down for at least one week to make sure he’s pain free. GM Jed Hoyer said the problem area is where Garza’s lat and oblique meet.
“It’s safe to say it pushes back his first CL start and what it means for the regular season, it’s clearly much too early to say,” Hoyer said. “We felt [the MRI results were] really good news. It is a mild strain and we do think it’ll be about a week until he should be pain free based on the MRI.
“Matt’s in good spirits and he felt much better yesterday,” Hoyer said. “We’re optimistic and it was certainly a positive read from our standpoint.”
Garza, who was facing batters for the first time since July 21, ended what was supposed to be a 40-pitch session after 20 because of discomfort in his left side. He missed the latter part of last season with a right elbow injury.
– Carrie Muskat
Nate Halm, an assistant of video and advanced scouting, who was a late add to the Cubs staff bunting tourney because the masseuse withdrew, beat strength coach Tim Buss to advance to the players bracket on Saturday. Theo Epstein did beat GM Jed Hoyer in the first round, but Epstein then lost to Scott Harris, director of baseball operations, in the second round.
When Harris muffed a bunt against Epstein, the Cubs exec quipped: “Smart kid.” And when Harris beat him, Epstein reminded everyone: “I hired him.”
Halm beat Harris to advance against Buss. Cubs manager Dale Sveum threw to the 16 staff members. He organized the bunt tourney last year, which outfielder David DeJesus won. The players and pitchers brackets will begin this week now that the field of 64 has been completed.
“The most important match of the year was the first one,” Epstein said of beating Hoyer. “I’ve got to get better — better than Jed, which isn’t saying much. I will say Jed and I have a long history of playing pickup basketball and other sports. That one felt good. Nate, he might get an invite to camp on a Minor League contract — that was impressive.”
Epstein’s secretary Hayley DeWitte did advance further than her boss.
“Title IX is a good thing,” Epstein said.
– Carrie Muskat
Highly touted prospect Javier Baez will be in his first Major League Spring Training camp, but the Cubs aren’t reserving a locker for him at Wrigley Field for this season.
“When a young guy’s name pops up as being invited to big league camp, often times people think it means he’s close to the big leagues,” Theo Epstein said Sunday. “In this case, Javy’s not. He’s got significant development still ahead of him. We’re really impressed by everything he’s done but he has a lot of work to do, he knows that. … He finished the year in high-A ball and that’s about where he’s going to start.”
Baez, 20, batted .333 at Class A Peoria with a .979 OPS, 10 doubles, 12 homers and 33 RBIs, and batted .188 in 23 games at Class A Daytona. For now, he’ll stay at shortstop although fans may see him play some second base in Cactus League games just to get him some at-bats.
“He’s a shortstop and he’s going to play shortstop,” Dale Sveum said. “If he happens to get in a game at third or second base, it’ll be because of flat numbers. It’s not that we need to take a look at him anywhere else — that’ll be a development question down the road.”
The invite to the Cubs’ big league camp was made to give Baez some insight into what it’s about.
“It’s nice for the fans to be able to see him, it’s nice for us to be able to see him, but this is not about making the Major League team, this is about experience,” GM Jed Hoyer said.
The same is true for highly touted outfielder Jorge Soler. Epstein said their plan is to have players spend at least one year at Triple-A. Soler played briefly at Class A Peoria last season.
– Carrie Muskat