Prior to the Dansby Swanson signing, Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney made some comments that immediately turned the heat up on the front office, not only telling the Mully & Haugh show that there was money available this winter, but that Jed Hoyer didn't spend his allocated budget last offseason.
Are Cubs working through a riff between Jed Hoyer, Crane Kenney?
That led to speculation that Kenney's remarks put undue pressure on Hoyer to make a splash - and that tension might have surfaced between the two Cubs executives. However, the Cubs president of baseball operations refuted that notion on 670 WSCR this week.
"There was never any sense of additional pressure or anything like that based on the comments. Sometimes with these jobs there’s a soap opera element to them, but we’ve got to do our best to ignore that, But in the building there was never any tension or never any concern, and like I said throughout the whole process, I was talking to Crane and (owner) Tom (Ricketts) the entire time."- Jed Hoyer, via 670 WSCR
Hoyer and GM Carter Hawkins have come away with a trio of significant additions this winter, including Swanson, former NL MVP Cody Bellinger, two-time Gold Glover Tucker Barnhart and veteran right-hander Jameson Taillon. So, even if there was any contention between Kenney and Hoyer, it doesn't seem to have impacted the front office's execution of their plan centered around 'intelligent spending'.
Kenney has served in his current role since the Ricketts family purchased the franchise back in 2009 and has certainly bore his share of criticism over the years. With steep declines in attendance and woeful ratings for Marquee Network, he'll continue to face challenges in 2023. Of course, his job gets a lot easier when the front office fields a competitive roster, something we haven't seen since early in the 2021 season.
When things are going well, everyone tends to view these power dynamics through rose-colored glasses. But when you're one of the most valuable organizations in all of Major League Baseball and are coming off back-to-back sub-.500 seasons, it's safe to say everything faces more scrutiny. The best way to put this to rest is getting back to winning baseball in Wrigleyville.