Jed Hoyer has a new mantra, and it’s that he and his front office entourage will exercise intelligent spending this winter and probably every winter going forward. That doesn’t sound exciting and it’s not meant to be, but if you feel like it’s your mom insisting that Big Yank jeans are just as good as Levi’s, you’re not alone. Nobody needs a brand name label when they’re climbing the monkey bars on a muddy November day, I suppose.
“Our goal certainly is to be competitive next year to try to do everything we can to get into the tournament,” Hoyer said on 670 The Score’s Bernstein and Rahimi Show Wednesday as if he was preparing the Cubs for March Madness.
In a way, that is entirely possible. Any extended work stoppage once the current CBA expires in two weeks could create a very compressed window to sign players, much like the NBA or NFL handle their free agency periods. Though I don’t think it’s wise for Rob Manfred to try to pit baseball against the NCAA basketball tournament and every other mid-winter and early spring sporting event, I’m sure he’s champing at the bit to steal headlines from the Super Bowl all the way down to the National Dodgeball Tournament on ESPN The Ocho.
Mr. Hoyer was referring to baseball’s postseason when he mentioned “the tournament.” After the Braves won the World Championship with a roster deemed most likely not to win the World Series, he believes anything can happen once you get in, and he’s right.
- In 2020 the Marlins swept the Cubs 2-0 in the Wild Card round.
- In 2018, Chicago lost a play-in game to the Rockies after blowing the division lead over the final two weeks of the season.
Just get in. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton, let’s see if it works for them.
The best teams usually win in October, but every once in a while a team of Average Joes emerges brandishing that ultimate piece of hardware and every baseball executive convinces himself that “better lucky than good” is the way to build a championship team.
“I think we just saw the value of sort of getting in the tournament,” Hoyer added. “I think Atlanta was widely thought to probably have the lowest odds, the worst odds of any team in the National League that made the playoffs, and they just won the World Series. So I think the goal has to be to get in the tournament. I think that’s the goal every single year. I think we have to try to build a team that can be competitive and can do that.”
I’m all for getting into the playoffs every year, something that should be an annual occurrence when you are the only major market team playing in your division. In fact, making the postseason every year should be the expectation of every member of the entire Cubs organization. If I can be perfectly frank for just a moment, that should be Hoyer’s mantra. Personally, I don’t care if they get there with a payroll of $80 million or $180 million, but if an extra 100 rocks will improve your chances of a champagne shower after the final game of the season, by all means, spend the money.
As Patches O’Houlihan said, “Make sure you pick the bigger, stronger kids for your team. That way, you can gang up on the weaker ones.”
I’m way okay with leaving the Big Yank jeans in Brian Snitker’s wardrobe. The Cubs play in the third-largest market in the country and in a neighborhood that provides the organization obscene cash flow 24/7/365. The fact of the matter is that multi-year megamillion dollar contracts are almost always an exercise in diminishing returns. You hedge that risk with a strong farm system and undervalued contracts attached to overperforming players.
Spending intelligently should mean running your team like a successful hedge fund. The blue chips will be your driver and may occasionally underperform, but a strong overall portfolio will mask any deficiencies and boost returns. You certainly need to find value in the open market, but you can’t be afraid to invest in the tried and true.
Cubs News & Notes
- There is nothing new to add to this section that hasn’t been discussed and dissected since the season ended. Maybe that means something will break today.
- We might see some Rule 5 announcements ahead of tomorrow’s deadline.
Odds & Sods
This kid is going to grow up to be the next Chuck Barris.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) November 18, 2021
The MLB qualifying offer deadline passed Wednesday and nearly every player opted to test the market.
Steinbrenner said he voted for Major League Baseball’s proposal to lower the luxury tax threshold, a plan opposed by the players union with the sport on the brink of its first work stoppage in 26 years. Owners proposed lowering the ceiling to $180 million and adding a $100 million payroll floor. The union has opposed a floor, fearing it would lead to a hard cap.
The pitching market is very robust right now because clubs and agents fear not meeting their goals if a work stoppage shuts down a significant part of the offseason.
Evan Altman touched on the very same subject a few days ago, particularly how the current fast market may affect the Cubs.
As of tomorrow, the Cleveland professional baseball team will be officially known as the Guardians.
I can’t imagine how Kris Bryant felt when seeing this young lady ask for advice about playing collegiate softball. My heart lept and I almost broke down in tears. We forget how much players mean to young fans and there is no metric that predicts a child’s heartbreak when their favorite player is traded.
This video of @kb1413's daughter Tenley asking Kris Bryant for advice on furthering her softball development is the sweetest thing you'll see today. Not gonna lie. Got some tears going. pic.twitter.com/Ja4RBz3CO5
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) November 18, 2021
They Said It
- “I’ve said this quite a bit. We have resources to spend this winter. We certainly will spend this winter. But we want to do it in the most intelligent fashion possible.” – Hoyer
Thursday Walk-Up Song
Baby Come Back by Player – This week’s American Top 40 dedication goes to a former Chicago Cubs third baseman from young fan Tenley.