Cubs: I give Jed Hoyer a ‘C’ grade for his first offseason at the helm

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

With the offseason drawing to a close and spring training ramping up, we can look back now on a truly up-and-down winter for the Cubs and the new front office regime.

Things couldn’t have gotten off on a worse foot, with Theo Epstein stepping down, Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini being traded the Padres and with Jon Lester and Kyle Schwarber heading to Washington. It almost looked like a complete fire sale but Jed Hoyer and his team have actually pieced things together since and made this offseason respectable for what it is.

Overall, I give this offseason a ‘C’. With all the moving parts, the core is left intact and the roster definitely has some potential to it. This was one of the more active Cubs offseasons in recent  memory, which has been good and bad.

The return in the Darvish-Caratini deal was a bit disappointing, with Zach Davies coming over as the only MLB-ready player, along with a lot of young wait-and-see talent. It’s great to see us adding to a pipeline that was depleted on the quest for the World Series in 2016. However, giving up the Cy Young runner-up and arguably the best backup catcher in the league does not help this current roster by any means.

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Watching Schwarber, along with Jose Quintana and Lester walk away added a multitude of holes to this group and the offseason started off with what would have to have been an ‘F’. However, with things as bad as they could’ve been, they started to get better.

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The two morale moves to add Pedro Strop and Jake Arrieta definitely helped spirits after losing a few fan favorites. We won’t mention the Arrieta contract because there were some cheaper options out there that made more sense, but we’re happy to have the former Cy Young winner on this team. I give these moves an ‘A’ for morale purposes, but we’ll have to see what these guys do on the mound.

The rotation additions, including Arrieta, Davies and Trevor Williams help round out this group and although the Darvish loss is huge, swapping Arrieta for Lester, Davies for Quintana and Williams for Chatwood shows that the middle of the rotation isn’t too far off from before. The rotation adjustments get a ‘B-‘.

The Joc Pederson move was a nice addition after losing Schwarber and adding Jake Marisnick helped round out this outfield that will be without Albert Almora. We really shouldn’t see left field production change too much and the depth looks nice which is why the outfield moves get a ‘B’.

The bullpen is the last piece that had some changes. Jeremy Jeffress is officially gone, but additions of Brandon Workman, Andrew Chafin (re-sign) and Jonathan Holder help complete this group as well. It would’ve been nice to add another lefty arm but the late add of Workman helps bring the offseason to a ‘C’ for the bullpen.

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All in all, I believe the Cubs would be the frontrunner in the NL Central without the Darvish trade. Even with him gone, Chicago filled in pieces they needed to, added potential to the farm system and kept the core intact all while saving tens of millions of dollars. It’s not the off-season we were all hoping for, but there’s enough there to be hopeful for 2021.