Notes: Hoyer keeping cards close to chest

June 11th, 2021

CHICAGO -- The Cubs went into this weekend atop the National League Central with 50 days remaining until the Trade Deadline. If Chicago keeps up its pace, adding to the roster will be a realistic path for the front office.

Standing on the field at Wrigley Field on Friday morning, Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer expressed hope to be in that position six weeks from now. And he emphasized that any unresolved extension talks with the core group should not impact the July 30 Deadline.

"The focus will be on, 'What can we do to improve this team?'" Hoyer said. "I don't see the calculus changing based on what's going to happen in free agency. I think the calculus would be, if we're in that position, what can we do to make the 2021 team better? Fill holes on the 2021 team."

If that is the way the next month-plus plays out for the Cubs, then it could delay the potential departures of Javier Báez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. That trio could hit the open market next offseason, which also would make them trade candidates if Chicago's playoff position collapsed.

Hoyer would not tip his hand as to whether any extension talks might happen during the season, though he has maintained that he has not shut that door from the Cubs' side of the negotiating table. Earlier this week in San Diego, Bryant said he felt the Cubs had the means to keep all three players.

"I don't know their financial situation. I don't. I really don't," Bryant said. "But the Chicago Cubs are doing well. They're doing well. So, theoretically, yes, you could sign everyone. It's just a matter of if they want to continue with us or if they want to go a different way."

Hoyer said Friday that the situation is more complicated than Bryant's assessment.

"Listen," Hoyer said, "the three iconic Chicago players, obviously, there's going to be a lot of competition for their services in the market. Of course, I think in theory you'd love to have those players back. Sometimes there are hard decisions that a team has to make.

"I'm not going to shut the door on anything, but I do feel like there has to be some awareness of what it would take financially and what that would mean over the next five years and what that would mean to the rest of the team.

"So, of course, would you love to have all three of those guys here in uniform? Yes, but of course there's financial considerations. It's unrealistic to say that there's not."

Worth noting

• In April, Javier Báez (back in the lineup Friday after missing three games with a right hand issue) had a 56.4 percent contact rate. The shortstop had had a 63.4 percent contact rate going back to May 1 (69.3 percent in May and 61.4 percent so far in June).

I'm trying to see the ball right now," Báez said. "I'm not worried about the strikeouts or the home runs. I know it's going to be a long season. Obviously, I want to hit homers, but I want to hit more for average and make more contact right now."

• Cubs manager David Ross announced before Friday's game that righty Kyle Hendricks would take the ball in Saturday's game against St. Louis. Sunday's starter is still to be determined, but will likely be Zach Davies or Alec Mills.

• Cubs Hall of Famers Andre Dawson, Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith and Billy Williams were all on hand for Friday's first-pitch festivities on Friday.


"A lot of emotions this morning, I think from looking forward to getting back here. Day game. Wrigley Field. Friday. Beautiful day out. Summer in Chicago." --Ross, on having a full capacity crowd on Friday