On the surface, it felt like this year’s Winter Meeting moved at the speed of mud. Checking my notes, the Cubs made zero trades and signed zero players this week. The most excitement came on Thursday when the Cubs picked up pitcher Gray Fenter in the MLB Rule Five Draft and pitchers Nicholas Padilla and Samuel Reyes in the minor league portion of the Rule Five.
Despite the lack of moves, Jed Hoyer was all over the place talking about a lot of topics and just exactly what and when the Cubs might do something this winter. It was quite the virtual media blitz. Here he is discussing the Cubs’ new coaches hired by David Ross.
Here are a few other key sound bytes I wanted to go over today.
– ”If there are moves we can make that can help our future, we have to look at those given that we have a lot of players that are close to the end of their arbitration years.”
– “The best part of our farm system right now is at the lower levels, where the talent is emerging, and at the big leagues, where they’re all wearing rings.”
– “Our farm system is certainly on the rise and I think next year will be a big turning point for it.”
– “We are pleased to invite four of our long-time affiliates to continue working with us and help develop our players.”
– On Gray Fenter: “We liked the fact that he’s got an explosive fastball, has the ability to throw two different breaking balls with a slider and curveball and all the makeup stuff that we got on him was really positive.”
– “I don’t think there’s a single player on our roster that some team hasn’t called about at some point. If we were just to shut down the discussions immediately, it wouldn’t do us any good.”
– “The present is super important. We just won a division. We have an excellent team, but of course we have to think about the future because there’s gonna be baseball at Wrigley Field long after 2021.”
-“I don’t think it should be treated as a fait accompli that [a trade] is going to happen.”
What I liked most about Hoyer’s comments was that he feels like I do that the minor league system is getting ready to break out. The Cubs have a lot of young talent that really has not been given the chance to play. Their production and their performance could change the future of the big league club in short order. I am most excited to actually see the 2019 pitching class pitch unfettered from pitch counts and innings limits.
However, the whole tone of most of his articulations came off as more “matter of fact” than anything else. It’s not that he was unsure about what he is wanting to do. Rather, he sounded unsure of “if and when” he could begin making moves.
In fact, Hoyer talked about when things might actually get going. He said,
“I assume at some point they’ll tell us an estimation of when the season’s going to start, when spring training is going to start, and that things may kind of work backwards from there. If the season gets pushed back, then, yes, I think the hot stove season will get pushed back as well, because people will wait for additional information, which is just the smart thing to do.”
He also added these thoughts on NBC Sports:
It was not exactly a beacon of hope in a winter of Cubs’ despair. It came across as more “hurry up and wait”; which seems to be the pace of this offseason.