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Hoyer seeking improvements for Cubs' roster

Starting pitching among club's key needs during Hot Stove season

CHICAGO -- The Cubs are among the teams waiting for free agent Jon Lester to decide where he'll pitch next season, but that isn't stopping general manager Jed Hoyer from trying to address other areas on the club that need improving.

Lester met with the Cubs last week in Chicago, and he has also talked to the Red Sox and Braves. The left-hander was expected to meet with at least two more teams before making a decision.

Hoyer, interviewed on 87.7 FM "The Game" on Wednesday, did not address Lester specifically, but the GM did say the Cubs were not in a holding pattern.

"We have a list of guys that we like as free agents, a list of guys we like in trade," Hoyer said. "We've been pretty clear about the areas we want to improve. We want to strike out less, we've got to get on base more, we have to get more left-handed, and we need starting pitching. Those are the key areas we want to address.

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"We have that list of guys, and there's no one domino, two dominoes, three dominoes that need to fall for us to start doing it."

Hoyer anticipates more activity in terms of free-agent signings and possible trades after Thanksgiving, but he added that didn't necessarily mean the club would be active.

The Cubs do face some tough competition in the bidding war for Lester. Red Sox principal owner John Henry said on Tuesday that his team is hopeful it can re-sign the left-hander.

"Obviously, we're doing everything we can to sign a top-tier pitcher, Jon Lester," Henry told reporters in Boston. "And hopefully, he'll come back."

Video: Muskat on whether Maddon could attract free agents

The Red Sox apparently are willing to go over the $189 million luxury tax threshhold, which would be necessary if Lester is to return to the team. There were reports that Lester was to meet with representatives from the Giants and Cardinals as well.

The Red Sox reportedly made an offer of six years at $110 million to $120 million, and a report surfaced on Tuesday that the Cubs had submitted an offer "north" of $135 million.

Hoyer did not comment about any offer made, saying this is the time of year when team officials go into "lock down" as they negotiate with players and agents.

Hoyer did say the Cubs will talk with new manager Joe Maddon about Dave Martinez, who announced on Tuesday that he was leaving the Rays after being eliminated from consideration for their managerial opening. Martinez, 50, has spent the past seven seasons as Maddon's bench coach.

Hoyer and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein are familiar with Martinez, having interviewed him for the Cubs' managerial opening prior to the 2014 season. Martinez was a finalist, but Rick Renteria got the job, only to be dismissed on Oct. 31 to make room for Maddon.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
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