Cubs' offseason plan? 'Thoughtful decisions'

October 18th, 2021

CHICAGO -- The Cubs entered this offseason with a drastically reduced payroll and an increase in prospects acquired via trade. That could set the stage for a busy winter for the franchise.

In a recent letter to the team's fan base, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts emphasized that the ballclub is prepared to use its resources as president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer looks to build "the next great Cubs team."

"Jed and the team are now focused on reloading our roster," Ricketts wrote. "We have the resources necessary to compete in 2022 and beyond, and we will use them. We will be active in free agency and continue to make thoughtful decisions to bolster our team this offseason."

The phrase "thoughtful decisions" is key, as Hoyer reiterated Tuesday after the introductory press conference for new general manager Carter Hawkins. Since the end of the season, Hoyer has said the Cubs have to be "intelligent" with their free-agent pursuits.

The Cubs are coming off a 91-loss season, in which Hoyer and his front-office team made a series of blockbuster trades that broke up the core of Chicago's roster. There are holes to fill all over the Major League roster, and a pile of attractive free-agents.

"There's a reason that the best organizations are generally built from within," Hoyer said, "and they'll use free agency to sort of finish off a club. I think building a club through free agency is really challenging. So, I think when you talk about 'intelligent spending,' I think that's ultimately how I see it."

Hoyer cited the Cubs' aggressive approach to free agency going into the 2015 and '16 campaigns, when the team was already "packed" with affordable, controllable talent. The current roster is not structured that way.

"You have to be really careful," Hoyer said. "If you use free agency as the way to build the team, you're probably going to get yourself in trouble because you're committing too many dollars to decline-phase players."

Coaching staff update
One of the next items on Hoyer's to-do list is to replace hitting coach Anthony Iapoce. Initial interviews for that role on manager David Ross' staff are beginning this week.

The Cubs are also planning on filling the vacancy left by the departure of Mike Borzello, who was the team's associate pitching, catching and strategy coach. Hoyer said the Cubs may "reimagine some things" when it comes to the Major League pitching infrastructure.

The Cubs could also have at least one coach from Ross' staff interviewing for a role with another ballclub.

Hawkins on Ross
Leading up to Monday's press conference, Hawkins already touched base with Ross both as part of meetings and in one-on-one conversations.

"He seems ridiculously open-minded, growth-minded," Hawkins said of the Cubs' manager. "He wants to get this thing right and wants to help this organization continue to grow. He wants to learn himself as a manager.

"And that's the type of personality and mindset that leads to a lot of success."

Minor moves
The Cubs made some procedural moves on Monday:

• INF David Bote, OF Nick Martini, RHP Tommy Nance, C Austin Romine and LHP Brad Wieck were reinstated from the injured list.

• C Erick Castillo and C Tyler Payne were designated for assignment.

• OF Johneswy Fargas, RHP Joe Biagini and INF Tyler Ladendorf were returned to Triple-A Iowa.


"There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people who are working every single day -- 365 days out of the year -- to bring those [postseason] moments back to Chicago over and over and over again. And I cannot wait to roll my sleeves up and be a part of that process." -- Hawkins