(670 The Score) In looking ahead to his team’s future and how it will spend money in free agency, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts often shares some variation of the ball is in president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer’s court on the decision-making front.
That’s music to Hoyer’s ears, who at a season-ending press conference Monday emphasized that the Cubs front office has Ricketts’ blessing to spend significant money this winter on players whom it views as quality fits.
“It’s what someone in my position wants,” Hoyer said Monday at a season-ending press conference. “You want the autonomy to make what you feel are the right decisions, the best decisions. We work so hard to research and think about how a player fits, and when we have a moment where we feel like this is the right fit at the right time, we’re going to present a lot of documentation about why we think that’s the case. We don’t do many things of the cuff. We’re going to be well-researched, and we’re going to think heavily about anything that we’re going to do, especially given the size of the transactions that I think you’re alluding to. But I know that if I present Tom with a plan to do something like that, I know I have his support. And he’s really, really good about pushing (general manager Carter Hawkins) and pushing me for answers in terms of asking the right questions, making sure that we’re thinking about things the right way. But I have total confidence if we get to a place where we ask for a significant amount of money to sign one player or several players, I have no doubt that we’ll have his blessing. And I have no doubt that the resources will be there.”
The Cubs have a $166-million payroll in 2022, which ranked 14th in MLB, according to Spotrac. They made two lucrative additions last offseason, signing right-hander Marcus Stroman and outfielder Seiya Suzuki to multi-year deals.
The expectation is the Cubs will be quite active again this winter – but to what extent remains to be seen. There has been widespread speculation across baseball that the Cubs will seriously pursue a star shortstop, as Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson are all set to hit the open market. The Cubs have other holes to fill as well, with center field being a hole and Hoyer on Monday noting they’d like to add more starting pitching depth.
For his part, Hoyer reiterated he wants to spend intelligently, and he shared the definition of what that means.
“To me, intelligent spending involves making decisions that make sense for now in the 2023 season but also aren’t going to hinder what we’re trying to build,” Hoyer said. “The nature of baseball contracts is challenging that way, because we’ve all seen contracts of certain lengths that can really bog a team down. It’s easy to talk about the player you’re acquiring, but if that contract ends up hindering the ultimate goal here, which is to build something special and sustainable and lasting, then it wasn’t a good transaction. So that’s sort of the lens that I want to look at everything through, is that we absolutely do want to compete next year. We want to add players that can help us in 2023, but we also want to do it with a real eye on the future.”