Results tagged ‘ Jed Hoyer ’
Every year around this time there is a name or two that shows up on the spring training roster that send the interwebs into a delirious state of being because THAT guy might make the team. This year I think it’s safe to say that guy is Javier Baez. Baez was highly touted last year, but after a stellar 2012 he is now considered a legit top twenty guy, not just in the Cubs system, but in all of baseball. Jonathan Mayo put that notion to paper, or internet web page, when he came out with his 2013 MLB prospect watch list, which has Baez sitting nicely at sixteen. That is seven full spots up from last year when he was at twenty-three, sure, seven spots might not seem like a major jump but when you crack the top twenty more people pay attention.
Before we get too far into what is expected of Baez in 2013, let’s recap what solicited that seven spot jump by remembering what he did last year. Baez destroyed Midwest League pitching, he hit .333 with 12 home runs, and 33 RBI’s in just 57 games, he also stole 20 bases. He made the jump to Daytona late in the season and struggled, part of that was due to the increase in talent on the mound, and part of it might have been playing once a week because apparently August and September is monsoon season in Florida. Baez capped off his 2012 season with a stint in the Arizona Fall League for the Mesa Solar Sox and he destroyed the ball when he made contact. A thumb injury ended his AFL season too soon, but Baez still managed to hit the second most home runs (4) in the league, and had 40 less at bats than the leaders (5). There was a lot of talk about his bat, and rightfully so, but the knock on Baez was his ability, or inability to stick at short-stop as he progresses through the Cubs system. A lot of people, including myself, think that a move to third base would make the most sense, but another thing Baez did during the 2012 season was show everyone that he can stick at short-stop if he has to, as evidenced by this Jonathan Mayo quote, “Many were ready to move Baez to third right away, but he showed some ability at shortstop, with a very good arm and good hands. His instincts allow his average speed to play up on both sides of the ball. Even if he has to move to third, his bat should profile just fine there.”
We made a few trips to see the Cubs farm system in action, obviously the guy who impressed us the most was Jorge Soler, but a close second was Javier Baez. Why you ask? I’ll tell you my inquisitive friend, he exudes confidence, some might call it cockiness, well most everyone will call it cockiness, because that’s what it is. Baez knows he belongs, and knows he is good (the tattoo on the MLB logo on the back of his neck should tell you everything you need to know), he is twenty years old, I really don’t expect much more from him, but that’s where this whole experience thing comes into play.
This camp isn’t about can Baez make the team, it’s about seeing how guys who will make the team go about their business, and for him to work on things at a different level. Jed Hoyer spoke to that, “He’s here to get a feel for what big league camp is all about, see how these guys go about their business,” general manager Jed Hoyer said of Baez. “It’s nice for fans to be able to see him, nice for us to be able to see him. But it’s not about making the major league team. This is about (getting) experience.” That’s exactly what I was hoping to hear out of Hoyer, there shouldn’t be unnecessary expectations for Baez, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get excited about seeing him in a spring game. Theo Epstein expanded on Hoyer’s comments by giving Cubs nation the following quote, he said that Baez “has a lot of work to do” before he gets called up. Most of that work will be learning how to work counts, because after all there is a Cubs way now, regardless, Baez needs to see more pitches to have his game translate to the big leagues successfully. So if you want to get excited about seeing Baez in a Spring game this year go for it, but don’t get excited because you think he will make the team, get excited because you are watching him take the next step towards making the team when he is ready, maybe that will be this year, you never know.
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In somewhat of a shocking move today, well depends on who you ask I guess, Oneri Fleita the Cubs VP of Player Personnel (former) has been given his walking papers. Just last September Fleita was given a contract extension by Tom Ricketts, keep in mind this was before Theo Epstein was brought in to take over. Fleita was outstanding when it came to dealing with the Latin American talent, and losing that could hurt, but I’m guessing the decision here might have been mutual. Fleita is going to be a hot commodity on the open market as he had over 15 years experience with the Cubs and a tremendous track record. The reason I say that it could be mutual is I wouldn’t be surprised if Fleita is on to bigger and better things, and he wouldn’t be able to do that unless he was fired because of said contract extension last year.
Up until this year Fleita was the head man overseeing everything having to do with the Cubs farm system. Enter Theo and Jed, they brought in Jason McLeod to assume that role before this season with Fleita acting as second in command. With the recent promotion of Tim Wilken to special assistant, and bringing in Jaron Madison to be the new scouting director, Theo is starting to make his mark on the Cubs organization as a whole and how he wants it run, and who he wants running it. Best of luck to Oneri, we will have more details if and when they emerge.
[UPDATE 1:24 PM] Theo means business today, according to Paul Sullivan, the Cubs have re-assigned Ari Kaplan from Manager of Statistical Analysis to a consulting position. Sullivan continues, letting us know that the Cubs have eliminated Chuck Wasserstrom’s position which was Manager of Baseball Information, Wasserstrom had been around forever, and per Toni Ginetti, the Cubs are looking to find a new position for Scott Nelson who was the director of player operations. The deck has officially been shuffled, we will be back with more.
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Earlier today Jorge Soler worked out for several teams. To no surprise one of those several teams to see him workout was the Chicago Cubs. Jed Hoyer who was in attendance today said, “We obviously scouted him extensively, a lot of teams have, and a lot of teams are involved. He went on to say, “He is really talented.”
Soler’s agent has asked teams interested in the 20-year old Cuban to make an offer by tomorrow, June 7. It would be nice to find out sooner than later if the Cubs in fact are able to sign the very talented outfielder, but just because offers will be coming in tomorrow it does not mean we will find that out anytime soon. Soler will have until July 2, before the new restrictions on international signing begins, so we should find out in the next few weeks at the worst. Here’s hoping the Cubs can sign Soler and continue to replenish the farm system. We will keep you posted as we find out more.
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It looked like the Cubs would try to trade Matt Garza this offseason, but now it appears the Cubs are going to start contract extension talks with him. This whole winter we heard Garza would give the Cubs the best opportunity to replenish the system. On the other hand the Cubs also expressed interest in keeping Garza long term and it now appears that may be the route they are headed.
Yes Cubs fans, you read that correctly, and it’s not up for discussion according to Cubs skipper Dale Sveum, “It’s Bryan LaHair’s job, and it’s not his to lose. It’s his job and the guy has earned the right to have it and he’s earned the right for me to have a lot of patience too if he’s not getting off to a good start.” As Dale Sveum begins to dive into his first camp as the Cubs manager, he is starting to piece together what the opening day lineup will look like. Much to the surprise of many, the first decision that was made was that of Brian LaHair not only starting at first base, but hitting 4th, arguably the spot in the lineup for a teams biggest run producer. Cubs fans got a taste of LaHair at the end of last season, and one could say that LaHair’s performance was one of the few bright spots in a very dark season. In 59 at bats last season LaHair hit a respectable, if not solid .288 with a .377 on base percentage. That type of on base percentage was unheard of for a Cubs player last year given the complete lack of discipline and patience at the plate from the team as a whole, in fact LaHair’s OBP led the team, not counting Steve Clevenger who only had 4 at bats.
The story is now a couple hours old, so the media has had the opportunity to speak with Carpenter and Hoyer. Bud Selig also issued a statement. Contrary to some of the stories out there the compensation deal was finalized by the two teams, not Bud Selig. I’ve included a number of quotes from Carpenter this morning, as well as Hoyer. Both parties were very complimentary of one another.
After four months, the Cubs and Red Sox have finalized the deal that brought Theo Epstein to Chicago. Headed to Boston is relief pitcher Chris Carpenter, who impressed in his short time up with the Cubs at the end of last year. Carpenter, who is 26 years old, will be given a shot in the Red Sox bullpen, where I expect him to have some decent success. The deal also says that the Red Sox will receive a player to be named later, and the Cubs will receive a player to be named later (April 15th deadline already in place). I don’t anticipate either of the players being anything more than fringe prospects. All parties have been assured that these players will be named before the conlcusion of Spring Training. Theo Epstein released a statement this morning regarding Carpenter going the other way, in a word, he is relieved.
Throughout the season we will have features that we run each day of the week, one of them will be Media Monday. We hope to bring you all the best pictures, audio, and video (where allowed by MLB) from the past week. Obviously everyone is very excited about Spring training getting underway, please enjoy the content below.
The biggest free agent remaining on the market is now officially in play for all teams, and the Marlins have struck first making the highly touted Dominican a 6 year, $40MM offer. Cespedes made his way to the United States last week on Thursday, and met with the Marlins. At that time Marlins president David Samson said that it was possible that the Marlins would make an offer to Cespedes at said meeting, apparently that’s exactly what happened.