Jed Hoyer lays out his expectations for the 2023 Cubs season
Opening Day is a time for hope, but it’s also a time for prognostications throughout the baseball world.
Most projection systems and predictions from national baseball experts don’t have the Cubs in the playoffs in what figures to be a hotly contested pennant race in the National League.
That doesn’t matter to the Cubs.
“I just hope the expectations are high in that room,” Jed Hoyer said, referencing the Cubs clubhouse. “That’s what really matters. You want the guys in that room to believe in themselves.”
Hoyer then reminisced on two other times in his career when he helped build a team that exceeded external expectations — 2003 in Boston and 2015 with the Cubs.
“In both cases, the team believed in itself before people outside did,” Hoyer said before the first pitch of the 2023 regular season. “… What’s most important is those guys in here and how they feel about themselves. I sense a real optimism in that room.”
The Cubs went out and proved the president of baseball operations correct with a 4-0 win, beating former Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes for the second straight Opening Day at Wrigley Field.
Marcus Stroman threw 6 shutout innings, striking out 8 Brewers hitters on a sunny afternoon.
The star signing of the offseason, Dansby Swanson, played solid defense at shortstop and collected 3 hits, including driving home the Cubs’ first run of the season.
The recently extended Nico Hoerner also played quality defense and did his job in the leadoff spot, scoring a run on heads-up baserunning.
It’s only one game, of course, but the Cubs left Arizona with a quiet confidence about their chances this season and the team’s leaders helped set clear expectations for this season.
“I think a successful season ends up in the postseason,” Hoyer said. “That’s true success. My hope is that this team is really competitive and plays the game the right way. We have to pitch really well and play really good defense to get to that point. Hopefully we can do those things. I think that’s definitely a possibility.
“With what we’re watching on the field here and then organizationally, I feel a great sense of optimism. We’ve got a ton of young talent in our system. We’ve got a ton of young talent and controllable talent here in the big leagues. As I drove in today, I feel really good about where we are and I hope that leads to being competitive and being in the hunt and hopefully making the playoffs.”
Over the offseason, the Cubs added depth all throughout the roster and players with winning pedigrees and track records of success in the big leagues.
The idea was to start shifting the narrative back to the days of sustained success and contending for the playoffs every year.
“I hope we’re in it the entire way,” Hoyer said. “Certainly that’d be a change and a departure from the last couple years.”