Wade Miley acquisition shows Cubs’ flexible approach to offseason
CARLSBAD, Calif. — Jed Hoyer has been around baseball long enough to know that any strategy you can draft up at the beginning of an offseason can change.
“You go in with a certain level — some plans and some ideas, but those often get dashed really quickly,” Hoyer said Tuesday afternoon.
For the Cubs, that happened early in the offseason, albeit on a small scale. Last week, the Reds placed lefty Wade Miley on waivers.
“We were excited when he was on waivers,” Hoyer said.
The Cubs had pretty good reports on Miley, given he was in their division, but they still gathered as much information as they could on him before placing a claim on him. The waiver order is based on record, with teams with a worse record at the top of the waiver wire. At the seven spot, Hoyer knew they had a pretty good shot at picking him up.
It’s not the swing-and-miss pitcher that Hoyer mentioned at his end-of-season press conference, but Miley still served a need for the Cubs: a big-league pitcher who can provide length and plenty of innings in a 162-game season.
“We talked about needing to add innings this winter, needing to add quality starting pitching [and] quality pitching throughout,” Hoyer said. “[It’s] certainly not the end of that process, but it was a great way to start.”
That’s a crucial element of this week for Hoyer and his front office at the General Managers meetings in southern California. While they might have an idea of what they’re trying to do, or how they’re trying to improve, they’re flexible because at any moment, an opportunity can present itself that wasn’t necessarily on their radar.
“I just think that that’s the real benefit of a really good front office staff from top to bottom,” Hoyer said. “You have [that] constant state of preparedness where you can be nimble and be able to move quickly.”
For all 30 teams, this week provides a first face-to-face interaction with many teams for the first time in two years. Each front office is getting a sense of where everyone stands and what could or could not happen.
“You never know what opportunities are gonna present themselves,” Hoyer said. “What I’ve definitely learned in this game is they always will. If you’re sort of in a position to be nimble, that there will always be opportunities. You’ve never lacked for them, you just don’t know what they are at that point.”