Jed Hoyer admits offseason nearing the finish line, despite Cubs' massive holes

Last month, the Cubs president of baseball operations said the offseason was in the 'fourth or fifth inning'. Now, it's a very different story - and his team looks largely the same.

Chicago Cubs Introduce Shōta Imanaga
Chicago Cubs Introduce Shōta Imanaga / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

It's no longer the middle innings of the winter as was the case when Jed Hoyer was pressed over the team's lack of major moves last month at Cubs Convention. Pitchers and catchers are in camp, with position players set to join the team ahead of their first Cactus League game on Feb. 23.

He knows this - and said as much in his start-of-spring presser with the media at Sloan Park on Wednesday morning, continuing to praise the depth of the organization and remaining noncommittal when pressed on his front office's involvement with key remaining free agents.

"The closer's definitely warming up at this point. There's a lot of good free agents out there. Certainly, it's been a late-evolving offseason so everyday we're in contact with different free agents and we may well add one or more players to the roster but at this point, as we sit down and think about it, it is Feb. 14. It is day one of spring training and we're trying to focus on the guys who are here."

Jed Hoyer via Marquee Network

Cubs still surveying the free agent market, even as spring training begins

As was the case last month, Cody Bellinger remains top of mind for the Cubs fanbase. The hard truth, though, is Hoyer and this organization will not overextend itself for any player, especially one that comes with very legitimate questions like he does. On the other hand, we saw just how dynamic a player Bellinger can be last summer as he thrived on a one-year pillow contract on the North Side, so it's easy to see both sides of the argument that's shaping the standoff between the Cubs and Scott Boras.

Third base remains a deep concern for the team, in addition to its major lack of left-handed power, with a Nick Madrigal and Patrick Wisdom tandem set to handle the hot corner again in 2024. Another high-profile Boras client, Matt Chapman, also remains unsigned and could be a fit, even with rising infield prospect Matt Shaw being looked at as a potential long-term solution at the position.

Hoyer noted a 'bitter' taste left in everyone's mouth given last summer's September collapse. But with a new season upon us, fans continue to wonder whether - or even if - this team is capable of flexing its big market financial muscle to lure top free agents to Chicago. As has been the case for months now, we'll continue to wait and see.