It has become common practice for Chicago Cubs fans to blame Jed Hoyer for the way that the team's off-season has played out.
The off-season began with lofty goals of the team potentially signing one of Shohei Ohtani or Yoshinobu Yamamoto and even a trade for Juan Soto was flirted as a possibility for the team, that would be the reason why there has been massive disappointment over the fact that only significant additions that the Cubs have made were the signing of Japanese starting pitcher Shota Imanaga and a trade for a prospect that has potential but yet to prove it in the Major League in first baseman Michael Busch. Recently, they added Hector Neris on a one-year deal and that should prove to be a tremendous upgrade to their bullpen.
It's not exactly the moves that Cubs fans drew up on their whiteboard but, in a vacuum, all of those moves were great for what the Cubs are looking to do.
Like it or not, the Cubs were never going to sign Ohtani and once the Yamamoto bidding exceeded $250MM, that was never going to be an investment that the team was going to make. The Yankees depleted their farm system for one season of Soto and that wasn't going to be a move that the Cubs made without the assurance of a long-term extension.
While this is not a defense of Hoyer, the Cubs' president is trying to avoid what the 2016 team proved to be--a flash in the pan. The Cubs aimed for sustained success during their previous rebuild and the success only lasted three seasons. The lack of sustained success was, in large part, due to how often the team depleted their farm system to address needs that were created by free agency mistakes.
The Cubs' farm system is at the point where over the course of the next few seasons, top prospects will be making their guys and much like there was excitement over the revolving door of top prospects that the Cincinnati Reds had debut this past season, that will be the same feeling Cubs fans will have.
The difference is that the Cubs, specifically Hoyer, have proven that he will pull all levers when the time arrives for the team to make a post-season push. Hoyer proved that at the Trade Deadline last season when he acquired the top rental bat available in Jeimer Candelario.
There are still levers to be pulled this off-season and that is all the doomsday casting on Hoyer and the Cubs remains a mindless thought exercise. Opening Day is not this week. There remains a path available to the Cubs where they have a successful off-season and start the 2024 season as the clear favorites to win the National League Central. If we reach Opening Day and the roster looks as it is today, by all means, bring the pitchforks to Wrigley Field but now is far from the time to do so.