Results tagged ‘ Jed Hoyer ’

11/30 Prepping for Nashville

The Winter Meetings will be next week in Nashville, and the Cubs still have some holes to fill. Whether they sign free agents or acquire talent via trade, one thing is certain. No one is untouchable.

“We lost 101 games last year,” GM Jed Hoyer said. “I don’t think we’re in position to say we have enough talent, or to say to any one player on the roster he’s untouchable. We certainly have several players who we would have a hard time parting with and it would take a heck of a package to make it happen.

“In general, there shouldn’t be many untouchables in the game and there usually aren’t and I think they certainly shouldn’t be on teams looking to acquire a lot of talent,” he said. “I think the answer is no, but that’s no disrespect to the players we have. We just need to acquire a lot of talent.”

It could be a busy week.  The Cubs do want to add more pitching.

“We still look at it as an area of need,” Hoyer said. “We’re actively looking to improve our bullpen and we haven’t been able to address that yet this winter with the exception of bringing back Shawn Camp.”

Plus, because Scott Baker and Arodys Vizcaino, acquired from the Braves, are both coming off Tommy John surgery, and Matt Garza had his season shortened by an elbow injury, the Cubs need depth. They also want to add an outfielder who can play center or right, and need help for the bench.

Hoyer did confirm that Japanese pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa was considering the Cubs and did tour Wrigley Field. However, Hoyer would not comment on the negotiations or provide a timetable. He did say they were impressed by the right-hander.

“If we bring in someone who has closing experience, or a number of guys who have closing experience, that’s no knock on Carlos,” Hoyer said. “I think every team in baseball wants to have an assortment of guys back there who if the need arises can pitch in the ninth inning. Hopefully we can do that.”

– Carrie Muskat

11/30 Cubs face tough decisions

The Cubs have to make decisions today regarding their arbitration eligible players, and GM Jed Hoyer said they will likely non-tender some of them. However, he added that the Cubs hope to be able to keep all of the players and sign them to Minor League contracts. The list includes:

3B Ian Stewart ($2.237 million in 2012)

RHP Matt Garza ($9.5 million in 2012)

RHP Jeff Samardzija ($2.64 million in 2012)

LHP James Russell ($512,500 in 2012)

IF Luis Valbuena ($495,200 in 2012)

Both Stewart and Garza are coming off seasons cut short by injuries.

“We’re still having conversations with a number of players’ agents,” Hoyer said Friday. “It’s very likely we’ll have a couple non-tenders. I think we’ll see ourselves below 40 [on the roster] when we get into tomorrow. It’s also difficult to speculate which players those might be.”

The Cubs are currently at 40 on the roster. The deadline to make a decision regarding whether to tender the arbitration eligible players is 11 p.m. CT.

If a player is non-tendered, he becomes a free agent.

“I think it’s fair to say whenever the list comes out of the guys we do non-tender, that all of the guys we’ll end up non-tendering are guys we hope to get back,” Hoyer said. “We do have some hard decisions to make but we don’t want to lose any of the guys we may cut loose. If we do have to take them off the roster, I hope we can work out deals to keep them.”

– Carrie Muskat 

11/7 Let the rumors begin

MLB general managers are meeting this week in Indian Wells, Calif., which means trade rumors will be heating up. The Cubs are well represented as Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod, Randy Bush and Shiraz Rehman are at the meetings, which end Friday. The meetings are a chance for the Cubs executives to meet face to face with agents and teams.

The Cubs are in the market for two starting pitchers, an outfielder and possibly a third baseman. The Chicago Sun-Times reported the Cubs have expressed interest in free agent pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Shaun Marcum. The two would have to be willing to sign deals similar to what Paul Maholm and David DeJesus inked last year. Maholm signed a one-year, $4.75 million contract with a club option, while DeJesus signed a two-year, $10 million deal. McCarthy, 29, and Marcum, 30, have battled injuries the last two seasons.

“I think the contracts we signed last winter are a good model,” Hoyer told beat writers last week. “I think we have a chance to maybe sign more of those this year with a little bit more money to spend. … We might be able to sign more contracts like that or maybe even a little larger than last year, but I think it’s a good model of contract that really served us well.”

Hoyer said they have already laid groundwork with teams and agents prior to the meetings.

– Carrie Muskat 

11/1 Baez to be ready for spring

Cubs top prospect Javier Baez has a non-displaced fracture of the tip of his right thumb, but was expected to be ready to go in Spring Training, GM Jed Hoyer said Thursday. Baez was playing in the Arizona Fall League when he was injured last Friday, apparently while giving someone a celebratory high five. Infielder Logan Watkins, who played for Double-A Tennessee, was added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster to take Baez’s spot.

“It is unfortunate,” Hoyer said of the injury to Baez. “He had some really good moments in the fall league and also had some really good learning moments.”

Brian Harper, who is a hitting coach for the Solar Sox after being the manager at Tennessee, kept Hoyer updated on Baez’s progress in the AFL with daily reports, saying the shortstop had made good adjustments.

“That’s the real shame of it — [Baez] played plenty of games this year,” Hoyer said. “To be a young player in the fall league and having to make adjustments was really good for him. The injury won’t hinder anything going forward.”

– Carrie Muskat

10/9 AFL, Instructs, Hodges & more

Arizona Fall League

* The Arizona Fall League opens its 20th season Tuesday with three games, including the Mesa Solar Sox’s contest against the Salt River Rafters in Scottsdale at Talking Stick. The Cubs have seven players on the Solar Sox roster: Javier Baez, Rubi Silva, Kevin Rhoderick, Matt Szczur, Tony Zych, Dae-Eun Rhee, and Nick Struck, who was named the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The majority of the rosters are composed of players who competed at Double-A levels last season. Baez, who turns 20 on Dec. 1, is the youngest player in the AFL. He spent most of the season at Class A Peoria, where he batted .333 in 57 games, and also played 23 games with Class A Daytona.

AFL games run from Tuesday until Nov. 15, with the championship on Nov. 17. The Solar Sox will play at HoHoKam Park on Wednesday at 12:35 p.m. MST against the Rafters.

Instructional League

* There’s definitely a different sound to the Cubs’ instructional league workouts this year at Fitch Park. Tim Cossins, 42, the Cubs new Minor League field coordinator, asked players and coaches to each submit a song, and the music is played during batting practice at Fitch Park. It does help get the energy level going during workouts in the 90-plus degree heat. Cossins replaces Brandon Hyde, who was promoted to director of player development. A former catcher, Cossins played eight seasons in the Minor Leagues, and managed five seasons in the Marlins’ Minor League system, including three at the Rookie League level and two years, 2005-06, at Class A Jupiter.

On Tuesday, Trevor Gretzky made an impressive catch in left field during one of the drills. Cubs outfield instructor Lee Tinsley says Gretzky is one of the most improved players in camp. It also was a good way for Gretzky to show off in front of his parents, Wayne Gretzky and Janet Jones, who were at Fitch Park.

Instructional league games finish this week, with the last game on Saturday. However, players will compete Thursday in their own “American Idol” type competition.

Good timing

* Congrats to Jesse Hodges (@TCHodgy), who hit his first professional home run, a two-run shot, in Monday’s instructional league game against the Athletics. The Cubs signed Hodges after seeing him play in the World Junior Tournament in South Korea. A Canadian, he had a full scholarship at Grayson College, a junior college in Texas. His home run was well-timed as he connected in front of Cubs international scout Steve Wilson, who signed the infielder, as well as Hodges’ grandfather, who was at the game, and most of the Cubs brass, including Theo Epstein. I’ll have more on Hodges.

Scouting report

* Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer are in Arizona this week with the Cubs scouting staff for the end of the year meetings, and a chance to see some of the young players such as Albert Almora and Jorge Soler.

– Carrie Muskat

10/4 Cubs promote Rehman

The Cubs promoted Shiraz Rehman to assistant general manager, reporting to general manager Jed Hoyer, on Thursday. The team now will have two assistant GMs in Rehman and Randy Bush, who will continue to serve in the role he has held since December 2006. Rehman, 34, joined the Cubs in November as assistant to the general manager after six seasons with the Diamondbacks, where he was director of player personnel. He also held the titles of director of baseball operations (2009-10) and manager of baseball operations (2007-08) after joining the D-backs as a baseball operations assistant in December 2005.

 

9/26 Hoyer: “We have to get better”

At this point in the season, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer would prefer to be sweating over last-minute postseason travel plans than scheduling meetings to evaluate the roster and coaching staff.

“When you’re not in the playoffs — you hate when you’re not — but when you’re not in the playoffs it’s a really good planning time,” Hoyer said.

For example, Josh Vitters started at third Wednesday. He’s one of the many prospects being looked at for next season. The results so far have been mixed.

“Some have shown a lot and some have done enough to not earn a position with the team but strong consideration for the winter,” Hoyer said. “Some have indicated they need more seasoning and starting next year [at Triple-A Iowa] would be the best. It is a mixed bag. Every guy who’s come up hasn’t shown we need to reserve a spot for him next season but that’s to be expected. We need to get better next year and having depth at Triple-A is important. A lot of those guys may feel they’re ready but if they start the year at Iowa, that’s probably a positive for our roster.”

Hoyer knows first-hand that some players take a little longer. He promoted Anthony Rizzo to the big leagues last season with the Padres, and watched the first baseman struggle to hit .141.

“That first time in the big leagues, I think it’s really difficult to evaluate,” Hoyer said. “I’ve had a number of players tell me the butterflies don’t go away that first time up, they’re nervous all the time, they have a hard time calming themselves down. Maybe the second time, the third time they come up, it’s like, ‘OK, I belong here.’ It’s hard to evaluate a guy when he’s nervous. It’s hard to blame them sometimes. This is their dream, they’re up for the first time, the game is faster. Sometimes those things can snowball. It did with Rizzo last year.”

The Cubs do have a significant amount of money coming off the books and it could be a busy offseason.

“We will have financial flexibility,” Hoyer said. “We’ve been diligent to make sure we do have flexibility and we’re efficient going forward. We’ll obviously be active in the free agent market. That’s a big part of our research and work now is evaluating free agents. We have some money to spend and we’ll focus on it heavily.”

Hoyer isn’t looking at the Cubs record this year.

“People in every walk of life focus on round numbers,” Hoyer said. “One hundred losses is a round number. I’m not going to feel any better about a 96-loss season or a 98-loss season or a 100-loss season. In any way, shape or form, we have to get better. I don’t want to lose 100 games either. That’s something people talk about and it’s a round number we clearly want to avoid. If we avoid it, it doesn’t mean I’ll feel better about our season. We have to get better. That’s the focus.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/17 Money matters: free agency & Castro

Don’t expect the Cubs to be offering mega deals to free agents this offseason. The goal is to build from within. During an appearance Thursday night on “Chicago Tribune Live,” GM Jed Hoyer explained their approach.

“One of the problems with free agency is that there is an illusion in some ways that you’re acquiring this great talent,” Hoyer said. “Most of the time, players hit free agency when they’re on the back half of their career. Players peak [at] 26, 27, 28 [years of age]. Free agents [are usually] in their 30s. So, you’re spending a lot of money sometimes for declining performance. It doesn’t mean you don’t do it. It doesn’t mean you don’t seek the right guys out.

“(But) we have to build from within and build young players, because the days of going out and signing young free agents is over,” Hoyer said. “Teams lock up their guys. Look at how many long, multiyear deals teams are signing with their pre-arbitration players. You know that you’re going to delve into free agency, but if you have an offseason plan, or a plan of the future dependent upon those names, I think you’re doing things the wrong way.”

Expect to see more deals like the one they gave David DeJesus. The outfielder signed a two-year contract with a club option for 2014. He will get $4.25 million in each of the first two seasons, and the club option is for $6.5 million, and contains a $1.5 million buyout.

The Cubs also are reportedly working on locking up their young players. Starlin Castro’s agent Paul Kinzer told CSNChicago.com that he has been talking to the Cubs about a long-term deal for the shortstop. The contract could be finalized before the end of the season, and would buy out Castro’s remaining arbitration years plus two years of free agency.

– Carrie Muskat 

8/6 Garza out with elbow injury

As of Saturday, Matt Garza fully expected to make his start Tuesday night. Now, it’s not certain whether the right-hander will pitch again this season. Garza was diagnosed Monday with a stress reaction in the back of his right elbow, and will be sidelined indefinitely. Brooks Raley will be promoted from Triple-A Iowa to make his Major League debut on Tuesday against the Padres. Garza has not pitched since July 21 when he had to come out of the game after three innings because of cramping in his right triceps. He had a good bullpen session on Saturday in Los Angeles but his arm was stiff on Sunday, and he was sent back to Chicago to be examined. Tests on Monday revealed the injury. Cubs reliever Blake Parker was diagnosed with a stress reaction in the back of his right elbow this year, and last pitched June 1. He was scheduled to make his first rehab start on Monday for Triple-A Iowa.

GM Jed Hoyer would not predict whether there’s time for Garza (5-7, 3.91 ERA) to return this year.

“We’ll keep re-evaluating him and will make that decision when he picks up a ball and starts throwing again,” Hoyer said. “To speculate right now on his status for the season wouldn’t be right. Today, we got the diagnosis, talked about it and we’ll make a decision when it’s right. It’s too early to speculate on the remainder of the season or when he’ll start throwing.”

Garza won’t be allowed to pick up a baseball for the next two weeks.

“He felt really good, as he told [the media] on Saturday, and that’s the surprise of it,” Hoyer said. “Matt’s a competitor and he’ll want to get out there and get going. He’ll be eager to get back and we’ll wind up holding him back to an extent.”

With the loss of Garza, Jeff Samardzija now has senior status on the Cubs rotation, and this is his first year as a full-time starter.

– Carrie Muskat

8/5 Baker to Tigers

The Cubs continued to deal veteran players, sending utility man Jeff Baker to the Tigers on Sunday for two players to be named. The ability to move Baker helped the Cubs decide to promote top prospect Josh Vitters. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said they had some talks with the Tigers at the Trade Deadline about Baker, and Detroit claimed the versatile right-handed hitter off waivers. The two teams then worked out a deal.

“I’m happy for Jeff,” Hoyer said. “They wanted him a lot and he gets to go into a pennant race and we get to bring up Josh and give him a chance he’s earned.”

Baker wasn’t surprised at the news. The Cubs now have dealt Paul Maholm, Ryan Dempster, Reed Johnson, Geovany Soto and Baker this week.

“When you see the direction they’re going here now, you knew it was a possibility,” Baker said. “When they made the moves with Maholm, Reed, and Demp, to be honest, I don’t blame them. They’ve got to go young and see what they’ve got and see what they’ve got for the future. I just made up 21 games in the standings, so I’m definitely excited about that.”

– Carrie Muskat

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