Jed Hoyer and Cubs owner Tom Ricketts have their work cut out for them.
The Cubs’ Jed Hoyer and Tom Ricketts have some tough decisions looming in the weeks and months to come. Do they hold on to Kyle Schwarber or Kris Bryant or unload them? What about Willson Contreras? Hoyer will immediately have a chance to make his mark on the organization, that’s for sure.
Former president of baseball operations Theo Epstein left before hitting his 10th year with the club, walking away from $10 million and the final year of his deal, saying he felt like he needed a change. Epstein knew he was on the hook for making moves that Hoyer should be making himself. So he opted to ride off into the sunset and hand the reins to his protege.
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The Epstein-designed Cubs won three division titles, made three consecutive NLCS appearances and brought home a World Series in 2016. But in recent years, especially 2018 and 2019, they fell flat on their face – missing the postseason altogether in 2019. That led to the end of the road for Joe Maddon as manager and allowed him to end up back at his old stomping grounds with the Angels.
Now, it’s Hoyer’s show. Epstein helped guide the organization through an unprecedented 2020 season. But that’s in the past now – and you can bet Hoyer’s eyes are on the future. There’s no looking backwards now.
As for Ricketts? He seems likely to have a hand in how the roster takes shape – if nothing else, dictating a reduced payroll. The Cubs slashed jobs throughout the organization this year, with more than 100 employees being laid off. He spearheaded the multi-year renovation of Wrigley Field and the surrounding area, unlocking new revenue streams. But COVID-19 turned off the tap for most, if not all, of those ventures and the on-field product may reflect as much in 2021.
Hoyer has the main role in this offseason. What’s he going to do with it? Does he tear it down to the studs and start over or will he re-tool on the fly? Either way, Cubs fans are excited (or scared) to see what will happen next. Let’s hope he’s up to the test.