Jed Hoyer on Cubs’ plan at trade deadline: ‘We want to add to this team’
Wrigley Field is back to 100% capacity, the Cubs are in first place and summer weather has officially descended upon Chicagoland.
The MLB trade deadline is in exactly six weeks and the Cubs are expecting to be one of the teams in the “buy” column.
Jed Hoyer has long been a subscriber to the notion that every season is sacred and with the team flexing its competitive muscles in recent months, the Cubs president of baseball operations is ready to add some reinforcements.
Hoyer’s front office is focused on the Amateur Draft during the All-Star Break but they’ve also begun the preparation for what should be an interesting trade deadline.
“We’re putting ourselves in great position,” Hoyer said on Cubs Live! Thursday evening. “Obviously we’re not going to stand pat. We want to continue to add to this team. We’re gonna keep playing well, I believe, and we’ll add to this team.
“It starts slow. Teams start gathering information from others about what they’re going to do and we try to direct our scouts in the right place, we try to direct our R&D department to look at the right things. And you start to narrow it down as you get closer to the deadline.”
Hoyer understands many fans would like to see the Cubs jump the market and make an early deal but reminded deadlines are in place for a reason and most of the activity will take place leading up to July 30.
The Cubs are currently in the most difficult part of their 2021 schedule.
Beginning on May 25, the team is playing 35 games in 37 days with road trips to San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Los Angeles and Milwaukee in there. Almost every game during that stretch is against a team that is in the playoff race.
So far the Cubs are 15-8 during this difficult pocket of games, which serves as more proof that this team is a legitimate contender.
As for what the Cubs are looking to add to this roster for a pennant chase, the answer comes back to one word: pitching.
“I think [the rotation] is the area I have most concerns about,” Hoyer said. “We have enough talent there but my biggest concern is if the starters don’t give enough length, the bullpen will get taxed.
“The bullpen’s been probably the backbone of our team this year. Their run in May really allowed us to get away from .500 and that was really important. But if we use them for 12-15 outs every single night, they’re going to get tired. I think it’s important we add length to the rotation.”
That’s been an area of focus for David Ross, too.
The Cubs’ top relievers (Craig Kimbrel, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin, Dan Winkler) have been lights-out this season but Ross knows he can’t run them into the ground now.
Whether it’s adding to the rotation or the bullpen, both Hoyer and Ross are in agreement that building the pitching depth is going to be key ahead of this summer’s deadline.
“It’s a unique season where all of the pitchers — including the veterans — did not pitch a full complement of innings last year,” Hoyer said. “So I think we’re very aware of injuries; we’re very aware of fatigue.
“Adding to the pitching staff — both in the rotation and in the bullpen — is probably the main thing we’re gonna look at the deadline.”