“We made our big transaction,” Jed Hoyer told the hosts of 670 The Score’s Spiegel and Parkins Show. “We’re looking to round out the team. There will be moments in the future to acquire talent as well.”
I’m not sure whether you can hear it through the screen, but the melancholy womp, womp of a trombone is telling me I overbid on the Showcase Showdown. Not that I should be surprised, what with my guess of $56 million. But I was so hopeful. In fact, I kinda still am.
“[Getting Jose Quintana] was obviously our priority, going out and finding a really talented, controllable starting pitcher,” Hoyer explained. “We gave up a lot to get it, as we have to. The incredible likelihood is that’s our big move. It should be our big move.”
So here’s where I get a little read-between-the-linesy here just so I can stir things up and make myself feel like something major is still possible. While Justin Verlander has a huge contract and is a bigger name than Quintana, his impact on the team might not be as great. Viewed through that lens, Hoyer isn’t actually ruling out the move I’ve convinced myself would be really good for both teams involved.
The thing to keep in mind in all this is that the Cubs are in a much different position from where they were when they shocked baseball with the Quintana deal. Since then, they’ve made up seven games in the standings, going from 5 1/2 back to 1 1/2 up on the Brewers in just 13 second-half games. Theo Epstein had said shortly before the break that getting hot might make them more aggressive, but they’re showing right now that they can win with what they’ve got.
“[Quintana] was our significant move,” Hoyer reiterated. “And now we’re active, but I think the moves that we’re going to make will be smaller in stature.”
There’s ol’ Buzzkill Jed again, telling me things I don’t want to hear. He did acknowledge the worst-kept secret of the trade season, which is that the Cubs are indeed searching for a backup catcher. We know all the names by now, though Hoyer indicated that they could be looking at as many as five or six options. If they indeed find themselves at an impasse with the Tigers on Verlander, that likely means no Alex Avila.
As I noted in an earlier post, Avila has been slumping at the plate for the last month and Tigers GM Al Avila might be overvaluing his son based on his overall numbers. The last thing the Cubs need to do is overspend on a backup to the hottest-hitting catcher on the planet, though a capable catcher could come in handy should anything befall Willson Contreras.
A.J. Ellis is the name popping up most often of late and Jonathan Lucroy is another we’ve heard, though he seems like an unlikely pickup. That leaves a couple other possibilities, likely names that are the very definition of “smaller in stature.” The same is likely true for any move involving the bullpen, as the names we’ve heard the most are simply too expensive from a prospect standpoint.
All that said, we’re talking about the same front office that kept a huge intra-city trade secret from everyone but wetbutt23 and katyperrysbootyhole. Which isn’t to say that Hoyer is being disingenuous when he says they’re done with big moves, just that this time of year is all about posturing and letting people know how much you don’t need what they’re selling. Given the way they’re playing, the Cubs have certainly strengthened their negotiating position.
So what do you think, dear reader: Is Hoyer being completely transparent or sending a message to fellow execs?