Jed Hoyer Says ‘Answers Have to Be Internal’ as Cubs Seek to Meet Expectations

As the rumors begin to pick up steam with exactly seven weeks left ahead of the trade deadline, Jed Hoyer predictably downplayed the Cubs’ need or willingness to make big moves. The president of baseball operations joined 670 The Score’s Mully & Haugh Tuesday morning to discuss “as frustrating of a six-week period as I can remember” and how the organization can turn things around.

“I’m really proud of our system,” Hoyer said. “I think we’ve built up a really great farm system. I think ultimately the goal was to be able to bring these guys up, and that creates tremendous efficiency and tremendous depth as an organization. We do want to avoid, we were a little bit guilty last time of constantly making short-term deadline deals that ended up putting us in a hole.

“You’re always trying to balance the winning now, making that short-term move with you do that too many times, you wind up in a real organizational hole. And that’s something we want to avoid going forward. So, you’re always balancing those things.”

The big rumor lately is that the front office has had internal conversations about the possibility of trading for Vladimir Guerrero Jr., though Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins recently dismissed any potential trade talks as premature. Pete Alonso is another premier slugger whose name has been tossed around for quite a while now in connection to the Cubs, and the lack of an extension coupled with the Mets’ poor play probably means he’s being moved.

But would the Cubs really make a splash like that?

“I do think that it is very important to look at external possibilities,” Hoyer said. “We always do, we spend all day doing it. Also, I think you have to look to, ‘OK, what can we do internally to fill those holes?’ Whether it’s improving a player’s performance or whether it’s from the farm system.

“All the answers can’t come externally.”

That seems to leave the door open to something significant, but anyone hoping for Alonso, who seems like a far more attainable target than Guerrero, might want to think again. Bruce Levine told Mully & Haugh that it would probably take a top-five organizational prospect like Owen Caissie or James Triantos to pry the Polar Bear away from New York. There’s no way in hell Hoyer should entertain such a trade for an aging slugger with limited control.

Setting aside past performance, Alonso would be only a marginal improvement over Michael Busch at the cost of a player who could have a big impact as soon as next season. Guerrero offers youth and an extra year of control, though his slugging and ISO have dropped precipitously year-over-year in each of the last four seasons — from .290 to .130 ISO and .601 to .417 SLG — I’m not so sure the Cubs want to spend big on a first baseman/DH with a suspect glove who’s fast becoming more of a contact hitter with a high OBP.

“The answers have to be internal,” Hoyer said.

As is always the case with public comments, it’s important to understand that executives rarely say exactly what they mean. I’d suspect the front office is very much open to outside additions, especially when it comes to breathing life into the nonexistent offense from their catchers. When you get right down to it, though, Hoyer is simply saying that even a massive trade won’t matter if the key players already on the roster don’t pull their own weight.

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