If you’re feeling like the Winter Meetings have ground to a halt, you’re not alone. Things have been pretty slow, especially for the Cubs, though most of that is because everyone on the outside is looking for big moves. Or the Big Move, as it were. And while the Cubs have been active when it comes to laying the foundation for what will come later this winter, they haven’t done anything to reshape the roster.
Nor will they in the next few days, according to GM Jed Hoyer, who spoke with members of the Chicago media Wednesday evening.
“The dialogue’s been good for the whole industry, I just think it’s been slow,” Hoyer admitted. “You know, I think sometimes it probably takes a couple deals to break the ice and that hasn’t happened yet. So you guys are probably somewhat bored, it’s been a slow Winter Meetings. But I know it’s been productive for us. We’ve had a lot of conversations with agents, lot of conversations with teams, good time here with staff.
“So it’s been good and productive, but I think we’re probably unlikely to make any deals while we’re here.”
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubMLB) December 13, 2018
A lot of that is a simple matter of due diligence, particularly when it comes to seeking out bullpen help. The Cubs are said to be looking for two “not high end” relievers and they’ve already engaged in talks with at least Brad Brach and Jake Diekman. But there may be more to it than that.
The baseball industry has essentially become a heliocentric system with Bryce Harper as the superstar around which all else orbits. And if he’s truly waiting to see if the Cubs can rearrange things to make signing him a reality, the market stagnation Hoyer talked about takes on a different perspective. After all, whatever leverage the Cubs would have in moving unsavory contracts would disappear if they landed Harper first.
But until that happens — and the chances of it still don’t seem very good even if we put on our rose-colored glasses — the Cubs are going to remain steadfast in their belief that all the answers lie within.
“You’re looking at the roster, trying to figure out ways to make it better,” Hoyer said. “But as we’ve said all along, we really like a lot of the pieces we have.”
Notice he didn’t say all the pieces. Regardless of what they’ve said publicly, Hoyer and Theo Epstein have been working diligently to make moves. Some of those may be pretty significant and could even involve prospects as sugar to help nasty contractual medicine go down. Just don’t hold your breath on anything happening out in Vegas while the Cubs are staying in Vegas.