Results tagged ‘ Jed Hoyer ’
Anthony Rizzo was “ecstatic” at the news that he’d been traded again, and was going to the Cubs. He’s back with the group that originally drafted him when Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod were in Boston.
“I got called up to the big leagues last year and struggled a little bit,” Rizzo said Friday. “I wouldn’t say some people wrote me off, but some people I guess lost some faith in me. For them to still have that faith, with everything they helped me through, it just shows me how loyal they are and how honored I am to play for them.
“This is such a big business,” Rizzo said. “I’ve seen it now for the last five years how much of a business it is. Everyone I’ve spoken to talks about how professional Theo is, how straightforward he is with everyone. It means a lot to me to be with them again.”
When the Padres dealt for Yonder Alonso, did Rizzo think he might get traded again?
“I couldn’t even tell you,” Rizzo said. “I figured something would happen, but I wasn’t completely sure. I just went on with my offseason and trained as hard as I’m training to prepare for next year, wherever it was. Now I’m a Cub and hopefully will remain a Cub for many years to come.”
In 2008, Rizzo was limited to 21 Minor League games after being diagnosed with Limited Stage Classical Hodgkins Lymphoma in late April. He returned in ’09 to lead all Red Sox Minor Leaguers with a .368 on-base percentage and ranked third in the system with a .297 batting average between Class A Greenville and Class A Salem.
“From the very bottom of the organization to the very top, to the ownership, when I was sick, they didn’t only help me out, they helped my family out and made sure everything was going to be OK,” Rizzo said of Epstin & Co. “To be back with the main people who were around me is just an honor. It’s a real exciting opportunity and I hope to make the best of it.”
– Carrie Muskat
Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Dale Sveum and new Cubs Ian Stewart, David DeJesus, Travis Wood and Chris Volstad will take part in the 27th annual Cubs Convention, Jan. 13-15, at the Hilton Chicago. The fanfest also will be a chance for family and former teammates of Ron Santo to celebrate his entry into the Hall of Fame. Santo, who died in December 2010, was elected to Cooperstown last month.
Former Cubs shortstop Shawon Dunston and his son, Shawon Dunston Jr., who was selected in the First-Year Player Draft by the Cubs, will headline a father-son session.
Players in attendance will include Starlin Castro and Marlon Byrd; veterans Ryan Dempster and Carlos Marmol; as well as Darwin Barney, Tony Campana and Andrew Cashner. Among the prospects scheduled to participate are Brett Jackson, Matt Szczur and Josh Vitters, part of the more than 80 current and former members of the Cubs, coaches and prospects who will attend the convention.
Saturday’s schedule includes a “Behind the Scenes with Theo Epstein” in the Grand Ballroom with the new president of baseball operations. It will be followed by “Meet Cubs Baseball Management” featuring Hoyer, the new general manager, plus Sveum, the new manager, and assistant GM Randy Bush. Proceeds from the Convention benefit Chicago Cubs Charities. The Cubs Convention has helped generate more than $4 million since its inception in 1986.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs feel Ian Stewart will benefit from a change in scenery. Stewart didn’t exactly agree. The third baseman, acquired Thursday night from the Rockies in a four-player deal, split the 2011 season between the Rockies and Triple-A Colorado Springs. He batted .156 with six doubles in 48 games with the Rockies and hit .275 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs in 45 games in the Minor Leagues. His season ended in August because of a wrist injury.
“I’m not trying to make excuses for the poor season I had, but injuries do play a part on a guy’s season and how ready they are for the season to start and how things go throughout the season,” Stewart said Friday.
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said they had targeted Stewart, 26, from the start of the offseason. So, does he need a change of scenery?
“I always felt I fit in great with the Rockies,” Stewart said. “It just didn’t seem like I was given the best opportunity to play. With this situation now with Aramis Ramirez being gone and one of the guys who had a chance to play third being in this trade to go to Colorado and that spot being open, I think it gives me a great opportunity to come in and be that everyday third baseman and get those 500 to 600 at-bats that I need to be successful.
“Change of scenery, I don’t know, but I think in the long run, being in a spot where I’m going to be able to play every day, I think will be the best thing for me,” he said.
– Carrie Muskat
Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod will headline the fifth annual Cubs Caravan luncheon on Jan. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse, 33 W. Kinzie Street, in Chicago. Tickets for the luncheon are $150 each and include the opportunity to sit at a table with a Cubs player, coach, or member of the front office staff. Cubs TV broadcaster Len Kasper will emcee the event. Tickets are available for purchase by calling 773-404-CUBS. Space is limited to 120 guests. Players and personnel appearing at the luncheon are subject to change.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs selected recently converted right-handed pitcher Lendy Castillo from the Phillies’ organization in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday. The Cubs also picked infielder Ricky Alvarez from the Angels farm system in the Triple-A phase of the Draft, and then dealt him to the Monterrey team in Mexico for cash considerations. The Cubs lost two players in the Major League portion as the Orioles took infielder Ryan Flaherty and the Red Sox picked infielder Marwin Gonzalez. Gonzalez was later traded to the Astros.
In 38 Minor League games, Castillo is 7-4 with a 2.43 ERA since he was converted from shortstop after the 2009 season. He has 111 strikeouts and has walked 42 in that stretch. Last year, the 22-year-old right-hander was 4-2 with a 2.54 ERA in 21 games, including two starts, for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. He gave up 13 earned runs on 37 hits and 16 walks over 46 innings.
GM Jed Hoyer credited scouting director Tim Wilken and special assistant Dave Littlefield with their work in scouting Castillo. Although the right-hander is new to pitching, Hoyer said he has good velocity and can spin a breaking ball well. Right now, he’s projected for the Cubs bullpen.
“Obviously, he’s a long way away or they would’ve protected him but we like him as a prospect and thought it was a worthwhile gamble taking him,” Hoyer said. “We’re hopeful it works out.”
The Cubs will pay the Phillies $50,000 for taking Castillo in the Rule 5 Draft. The Cubs must keep him on the 25-man roster next season, and he must remain active for a minimum of 90 days. If he does not remain active, Castillo will be offered back to the team from which he was selected for $25,000.
The Cubs will receive $100,000 total after losing both Flaherty and Gonzalez in the Major League phase of the Draft. Hoyer said he was not surprised they were taken. The baseball operations department had long discussions about whether to keep the pair on the 40-man roster, which would have protected them from being selected.
– Carrie Muskat
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have divided the workload at the Winter Meetings, which Hoyer said has helped them be more productive. And at least one of them has apparently talked to representatives for free agents Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.
Where Pujols and Fielder go isn’t holding up the Cubs, but the two sluggers are the top topic at the Hilton Anatole.
“There’s a curiosity factor, for sure,” said Hoyer, the Cubs’ GM. “They’re two superstar level players but I don’t think those guys have to sign somewhere to break some kind of logjam. I think that’s already been broken. I think it’s a mistake if you’re waiting around for that.
“Obviously, they’re two players we’re involved in,” Hoyer said, “but to wait around for things to happen, you can miss out. We’re working on a lot of fronts.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday that the Cubs made a “qualifying bid” for Pujols. Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations, did meet with Pujols’ agent Dan Lozano on Monday but Epstein said those discussions were about pitcher Rodrigo Lopez. The Post-Dispatch reported it had confirmed the Cubs did submit a bid for Pujols, but more in the five-year range and it would include a full no-trade clause.
Hoyer would not comment on specific players. However, he did say Tuesday that no-trade clauses are to be “avoided.”
Fielder would make more sense for the Cubs than Pujols if they did want a big slugger. Although Fielder would still require a major financial commitment, it most likely would not be a 10-year contract, which is what Pujols was reportedly being offered by the Marlins. Plus, Fielder would be reunited with Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who was his hitting coach in Milwaukee.
“There’s rumors out there and all that,” Sveum said of the Cubs and Fielder. “I don’t see that we’ve started any talks or anything like that. … We’re not in any kind of process talking to him or anything like that.”
– Carrie Muskat
What about the Cubs’ reported interest in free agents Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder? GM Jed Hoyer would not comment specifically on the team’s rumored link to the two first basemen.
“As I’ve stated in the past, we’re a major market team and we’re going to be involved across the spectrum,” Hoyer said. “I’m not going to address whether we’re on or off individual players other than the fact that we’re in contact with a lot of teams and a lot of agents and we’re doing everything we can to improve the team for next year and the future.”
What is not a secret is that Hoyer has been in contact with Kerry Wood’s agent, Pat Rooney, regarding a new deal for the pitcher for 2012.
“We’d love to bring Kerry back,” Hoyer said. “He had a great year last year and he’s an excellent ambassador for the Cubs. The stated goal of bringing Kerry back has been made very clear.”
As far as the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Cubs front office is still studying the new rules to determine how it will affect their plan.
“There are big changes, and Major League Baseball and the union made these changes for the greater good and it’s our job to figure out how it impacts our strategy,” Hoyer said. “It certainly will. I don’t think we’re at a place right now to say what we’re going to do because we’re still meeting on this. It is a significant topic of discussion in our office right now and it’s something we need to do a great job of adjusting to. The teams that adjust quickest will have an advantage there and we need to be among the teams that move quickly.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs have a new right fielder as GM Jed Hoyer made his first on-field transaction Wednesday, signing David DeJesus to a two-year contract with an option for a third year. DeJesus will earn $4.25 million each of the next two years, and the 2014 option year is for $6.5 million with a $1.5 million buyout.
“We don’t see him as a platoon player,” Hoyer said of DeJesus. “Does that mean he won’t get days off against tough lefties? I’m sure we’ll try to provide that support and flexibility for Dale [Sveum] but we’re not signing [DeJesus] as a platoon player.”
DeJesus has averaged 33 doubles, eight triples, 11 home runs and 70 RBIs per 162 games in his career, playing for the Royals (2003-10) and Athletics (2011). In 2010, he set career highs with a .318 batting average and .384 on-base percentage in 91 games but his season ended early because of a right thumb injury shortly after the All-Star break. Theo Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations, tried to acquire DeJesus prior to the Trading Deadline in 2010.
The outfielder was dealt to the A’s after the 2010 season, and last year, batted .240 with 20 doubles, five triples, 10 home runs, 60 runs scored and 46 RBIs in 131 games. He did hit .270 with a .342 on-base percentage after the All-Star Break last year.
“One thing you try to do whenever you acquire players is have a broader lens than just the previous year,” Hoyer said. “With David, he was one of the most sought after players in the trade market in 2010 before he hurt his thumb.
“We feel very good that he’ll come into Chicago and bounce back,” Hoyer said.
Hoyer said he likes DeJesus’ defense plus his ability to hit right-handed pitching well, make contact, and run the bases. In 2011, DeJesus had a 241-game errorless streak. He won’t bring much power but does give the Cubs a left-handed bat in the lineup, part of Hoyer’s efforts to get more balance. The team is still in the market for another left-hand hitter.
What about Tyler Colvin? The outfielder struggled to hit .150 with six homers in 80 games last season after hitting 20 homers and batting .254 in 2010.
“He’s certainly not out of the picture,” Hoyer said. “Tyler struggled in 2011. He has to come to camp and bounce back from last year. We’re trying to round out our lineup and do everything we can to put the best team we can on the field. I think Tyler, given the year he had, he needs to bounce back and that starts in Spring Training.”
One person ecstatic over the signing is DeJesus’ wife, Kim, who tweeted: “I was born a cubs fan, and now im married to one!!!!! COULDNT BE MORE EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOOOOO CUBBIES!!!!!!!!!!”
– Carrie Muskat
During the interview process, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer made a point of talking to every player they could who knew Dale Sveum.
“Players know best,” Epstein said. “This is about the players in the end. The thing that really stood out with Dale is he was able to hold the players very accountable, hold them to high standards, get in their faces at times if necessary, disagree with them, drive them to be their very best, but at the same time also win their respect and admiration. He was universally loved by the players he’s had without enabling them in the slightest degree. That’s a hard thing to pull off in this game. It makes him a very impactful person in the clubhouse.”
Hoyer mentioned that there was a “wow” moment early in the actual interview with Sveum. Epstein agreed.
“Dale provided extremely well thought out answers to nuanced baseball questions instantaneously, answer after answer after answer,” Epstein said. “We came up for air and took a break and looked at each other and said ‘Wow.’ This was not the type of thing you could fake. It wasn’t that he prepared for the interview but he spent a lifetime as a very intelligent person observing the game with an open mind to come up with his own baseball philosophy on how to win and it was very impressive.”
Expect Sveum to think outside the box a little. If he needs his closer in the eighth inning, he’ll use him then. He believes in five infielders in certain situations.
“It’s about winning the game,” Epstein said.
– Carrie Muskat