Jordan Bernfield, who is now hanging out with the fine folks at Cubs Den, hosted Cubs GM Jed Hoyer on his Cubs Weekly show on WGN Radio today. I very rarely listen to the radio, but because I appreciate how transparent and honest Theo Epstein and Hoyer are with the team, and how well Bernfield conducts his show and questions, it was well worth my time. You can follow Jordan Bernfield via Twitter below and of course continue to check out Cubs Den.
#Cubs GM Jed Hoyer NOW on #CubsWeekly on @wgnradio
— Jordan Bernfield (@JordanBernfield) May 12, 2013
How’s the team gone so far?
Starting pitching good, record not so good, bullpen struggling. Pleased with the starters, frustrating that the Cubs are in so many games but struggling with guys in scoring position and the bullpen issues. Hard to complain about it, because they’ve done it to themselves by not pulling away in games and not closing things out.
About the Nationals and the way they built their team…
They look at the Nats as a blueprint, but they had good fortune with Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Lots of other homegrown guys, smart free agent acquisitions, Mike Rizzo was very patient. Once they had that critical mass of talent, Rizzo was very aggressive. Says a lot about a person to have the right balance of patience and aggressiveness.
How about the Cubs fans and their patience?
Hoyer knows what a championship team looks like (re: Boston). Hoyer is building towards that, recognizes that the talent isn’t at the level of the Nats, Cards or Reds. Takes time to build that kind of club and the reward is tremendous when it happens. Cubs have never had the extended stretch of competitiveness (mentions World War II). Definitely working towards it.
Regarding the #2 pick in this year’s draft…
Unfair to compare to Strasburg and Harper, very rare occurrence. Hoyer thinks there is an impact player though, make sure that the pick becomes a cornerstone player. Talked a bit about Albert Almora and thinks Almora will come back fine from the hamate injury. Talked about Pierce Johnson, Paul Blackburn and Duane Underwood, very happy about the pitchers. Stressed patience. Have to tackle pitching with volume. Happy with adding Derek Johnson as new pitching coordinator.
Talking about Starlin Castro…
Great question by Bernfield re: where Castro is hitting in the lineup. Hoyer thinks Castro needs to learn to get on base, has no worries about his power (thinks it will come). Hoyer thinks Castro will stick around in the middle of the order. Needs to grind out at-bats better. Thinks Castro can stick at shortstop, states that Castro was rushed in the minors and just needs more development. Unfortunate that the development wasn’t better in the minors, but maturation at the majors expected.
About Jeff Samardzija…
Hoyer sees Samardzija as an ace. Upper 90s, good splitter and slider, plus a cutter. No reason Samardzija can’t be a top-of-the-rotation guy. Still inconsistent, but can be dominant, so work on consistency. Believes Jeff will get there and stick for a long time.
How has the Cubs Way manifested?
Takes time to develop a mentality. Comes with players drafted and how the coaches deal with players. Consistent leadership, consistent messages. Hoyer likes the direction of the minors, good job instilling what they want to teach the players. Means a lot to the Cubs, and they’ll keep working on it.
Jed had to go after a 15 minute segment, but he was very good with his responses (possibly rehearsed), very intelligent, very nuanced. I’m glad to have him as the general manager. I think you should be glad too.