Cubs: Jed Hoyer clarifies comments about extension talks with former core players
DENVER — Cubs Twitter was abuzz with thoughts and opinions during the team’s off-day Monday after Jed Hoyer made the rounds on the Chicago sports radio stations.
The Cubs president of baseball operations was asked on ESPN 1000 radio Monday morning about contract extension talks with star players Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javy Báez prior to a trade deadline that saw all three wind up in a new uniform.
Hoyer responded with a frank assessment.
“That is the thing that will be my greatest source of frustration from this era,” Hoyer said. “… Every one of these guys would say they wanted to stay in Chicago, ‘we want to be a Cub.’ But then we sit down and do negotiations, that wasn’t how they acted.”
That led to Rizzo responding on ESPN 1000 Tuesday morning, extending the news cycle.
Before the Cubs kicked off their series with the Rockies in Colorado Tuesday night, Hoyer took an opportunity to clarify those comments.
“We’ve always had a rule of not talking about negotiations,” Hoyer said. “I think we’ve done a really good job over the years of honoring that. Yesterday on the radio, I got asked a direct question and I did express my frustration of never getting deals done. That frustration comes from a good place. It comes from a place of wanting to get deals done and wanting to keep those guys here.
“If I could do it over again, would I have ended that sentence earlier? I think I would have. We have that rule for a reason. People get defensive when you start talking about those things. Ultimately, that frustration comes from that place of having wanted to get deals done.”
Hoyer also put to bed any notion of a war of words brewing, throwing cold water on the budding drama.
“Listen, there’s no soap opera here,” he said. “I’ve talked to Rizz a bunch of times. We’ve known each other for a long time. We’ve had a lot of conversations through the years; we’ve had a bunch of conversations this week. I think the world of him; I think the world of all those guys. Nothing I would ever, ever say would be a negative. If anything, it comes from a place of having hope that we got across the finish line in those deals.
“I think [my comments] came from the right place but I wish I hadn’t said that. I just want people to know how much I care about those guys, how emotional last week was. Those guys are icons in Chicago. They’re heroes to so many people, including my kids. There’s nothing I would ever do or say to go against that. There’s no soap opera here. Our relationship with all those guys is really good and it’ll remain that way.”
Hoyer has talked with Rizzo a couple of times since last Thursday’s trade with the Yankees and feels like these things can turn into a game of telephone with comments back and forth through the media.
All three players will become free agents at the season’s end and Hoyer once again left the door open for a potential reunion in Chicago.
“We’re all good,” Hoyer said. “There’s no hard feelings; there’s no ill will. I made it clear with all this – we had two months left in a season that we were sitting in 4th place. All these guys are winners. They belong in pennant races. I feel really fantastic that we were able to make trades that I think will help this organization but I also feel like we definitely did right by them in terms of the places we landed them. I think they are perfect fits for all of them.
“They deserve to go compete at the highest level. They deserve to go compete in the playoffs. When that’s over, I’ve always said our door is very much open. We didn’t end any relationships. We didn’t burn any bridges here at all. We’ll obviously be having those discussions this winter. Clearly there’s no bridges burned.”