‘We have a lot of offers out there’: Jed Hoyer, Cubs shooting their shot in free agency
SAN DIEGO — In many ways, Jed Hoyer is feeling back in his element.
The former GM of the Padres was in San Diego, taking in the warm weather and cool breeze from the Pacific Ocean. Most importantly for Cubs fans, he was back at the Winter Meetings for the first in-person variation since 2019 and his first as the Cubs’ president of baseball operations.
“It is nice to be back in person and hopefully we can continue that,” Hoyer said. “If they want to have them out here every year, I’m in.”
If he can deliver a headline acquisition, he might be even more in favor of returning to the Grand Hyatt just off the San Diego marina every year. He’s putting the Cubs in position to be very active in an already busy free agent market.
“We have a lot of offers out there,” Hoyer said. “We’ll continue to make offers.”
How many is “a lot”?
“Good try,” Hoyer said with a hearty smile.
Hoyer, general manager Carter Hawkins and the rest of the Cubs’ brass have been active with plenty of free agents, playing the role of a master juggler.
That’s part of the nature in this market — if they sit on their hands waiting for one offer and it doesn’t fall their way, they could be stuck without many other players.
“You have to work in many markets, you have to keep a lot of balls up in the air,” Hoyer said.
One of those many markets is the star-studded shortstop market, which became a little thinner Monday afternoon when the Phillies reportedly signed Trea Turner to an 11-year contract.
The Cubs met with Carlos Correa this week and Xander Bogaerts within the last two weeks, per Marquee Sports Network contributor Bruce Levine. The pair, along with Dansby Swanson, were part of a quartet of shortstops that have been highly coveted.
“I think it’s really important to have really good defense up the middle,” Hoyer said. “A middle of the infield player – you can’t hide in the shift anymore.”
The Cubs would like to boost their first base production, but one of their main targets, José Abreu signed with Houston, whose offer separated itself in that market.
Center field is an area of need, too, but is very much like first base. Brandon Nimmo highlights that market and former MVP Cody Bellinger and former Tampa Bay Ray Kevin Kiermaier are available, but after that, the market thins out.
The Cubs are showing their hand in terms of activity, but that comes with some caution.
“Whether things come to fruition or not, you never quite know, but it won’t be through sort of lack of putting offers out there and trying,” Hoyer said.
One thing is for certain, Hoyer and the Cubs are expecting busy days in San Diego. Hoyer won’t have much time to go back to some of his old hangouts while in town.
“I’m sure both nights here will be late nights and people will be doing stuff,” he said. “Listen, you try to come here and you want to do deals, you want to do smart deals.
“It’s gonna be an active few days.”