Jed Hoyer gives a sneak peek at Cubs’ offseason approach
With the trade deadline behind the Cubs and only two months left in the 2022 regular season, the offseason has become a big focus surrounding this team.
Jed Hoyer’s front office and David Ross’ coaching staff still have plenty they want to see in the major leagues over the final two months of the campaign.
But Hoyer and Co. are also already keeping an eye on the winter and how they can position the Cubs for success in 2023 and beyond.
“We’ll certainly have the money to spend going into next year,” Hoyer said in an interview with Cole Wright on Cubs Live! Friday afternoon. “Our goal is to build something really special. We know that truly special season may be a bit in the future but we want to compete every year in the meantime.
“So there will be money to spend and we look forward to getting to the offseason and working on that. But in the meantime, we got a lot more games and we can learn a lot over these next two months.”
As of right now, the Cubs have only $92.5 million committed to the payroll for 2023 (per FanGraphs) and that number drops to just over $50 million for 2024.
There are a lot of potential positions for the Cubs to add impact talent before Opening Day next season and Hoyer will be targeting two areas — power and pitching depth.
“This year, we put the ball on the ground way too often,” the Cubs president of baseball operations said. “We’ve gotten on base, we’ve done a good job of grinding at-bats but [not] finishing off rallies, too many double plays, not enough power in some ways. So those are some things we have to address.
“And certainly pitching depth. We worked really hard at the deadline, we worked hard in the offseason to do that but I think when we’ve really hit the skids this year at a couple different times, it’s been a lack of pitching depth and we just have to keep building that up.”
The Cubs came into the season with a projected rotation of Kyle Hendricks, Marcus Stroman, Wade Miley, Justin Steele and Drew Smyly. But that group has hardly been together this year.
Miley has been limited to only 19 innings and 4 starts due to elbow and shoulder injuries. Hendricks and Stroman have both missed time due to shoulder injuries and Hendricks is still on the IL and not nearing a return. Smyly missed over a month with an oblique injury.
The silver lining with the injuries was it gave Keegan Thompson an opportunity to join the rotation and he has flourished. But the Cubs have also struggled to get consistent starting pitching at various points throughout the year due to the injuries and that had a trickle-down effect on the bullpen.
Hoyer doesn’t want to repeat those issues in 2023.
“The system is about to start churning out some really good pitching but we saw this year what happens when you don’t have enough pitching,” Hoyer said. “We had four starters on the IL and we weren’t able to perform when we had that, so we have to avoid that going forward.”
The Cubs have been extremely aggressive in building up the organization’s pitching depth in recent weeks. They drafted and signed 15 arms last month and acquired a trio of intriguing young right-handers at the trade deadline.
If Hendricks can return to health and form, the Cubs rotation next year looks solid with him, Stroman, Steele and Thompson. The Cubs obviously want to create more depth and they already have a head start with young starting prospects like Caleb Kilian and Hayden Wesneski (who was acquired in the Scott Effross deal).
As for when that next great Cubs team will show up, Hoyer doesn’t have an exact date but he feels it coming — much in the way he did in 2014 when he knew the farm system was in a great spot.
“We’re getting really excited about the way things are coming together in the minors,” Hoyer said. “…We have a lot of talent, these guys are all performing and I think pretty soon, everyone will start to realize just how much ability we have in the minors.
“And now it’s about that transition. When you get to that point, it’s about transitioning to being a championship team. We did that exceptionally well in 2015 and that will be our challenge to get to that point.
“You have to gather that talent in the minor leagues but then that transition to make sure you can win in the big leagues is really important. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.”
Hoyer touched on a variety of other topics, including the bullpen, the 2022 draft and injured prospects. Check out the full interview in the video above.