We’ve felt the tide turning for some time when it comes to the role the Chicago Cubs will play ahead of the trade deadline next month. But Jed Hoyer’s latest comments only seem to confirm that the team, once viewed as sellers, will look to add to the team in hopes of making one last run with this core.
"“I think when it comes to the trade deadline, I guess I look at it from 30,000 feet,” Hoyer told The Athletic. “We’ve been really aggressive here to win ever since we’ve been in a winning mode. I think that’s sort of undeniable. Sort of the industry standard that everyone uses — and there’s a couple very rare exceptions to this — if you’re in a pennant race you try to get better and you try to buy. We’ve always done that and I don’t know why this year would be any different.”"
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If Chicago keeps pulling off wins like what we saw on Friday at Wrigley Field, there’s no telling what Hoyer will have up his sleeve. Maybe a Max Scherzer rental to front the rotation down the stretch? Before that happens, though, it seems more likely he’ll look to shore up some weak spots (starting pitching, namely) and see how the team plays in the weeks leading up to the deadline.
Less of a blockbuster move that could solidify the staff, perhaps as early as this month, as Buster Olney told us back in April, would obviously carry a lower price tag as Hoyer examines his roster and decides, once and for all, which way to go with the roster.
Chicago Cubs could play the balancing act
If the Cubs keep winning, Hoyer won’t have much of a choice – at least not when it comes to selling off the team’s big free agents-to-be. He’ll have to give them a chance to pull off one more October run or risk alienating an entire fan base.
"“The focus will be on, ‘What can we do to improve this team?'” Hoyer told MLB.com. “I don’t see the calculus changing based on what’s going to happen in free agency. I think the calculus would be, if we’re in that position, what can we do to make the 2021 team better? Fill holes on the 2021 team.”"
As Hoyer and his front office take stock of potential trade targets in the weeks to come, don’t be surprised if one way the team pulls off a move is through a ‘thread the needle’-style approach. This could mean trading closer Craig Kimbrel and leaving the ninth in the hands of someone like Ryan Tepera down the stretch.
There’s a lot of time between now and the end of July but as things currently stand, there’s no reason Hoyer and the Chicago Cubs won’t be among the busiest teams on the trade circuit this summer.