Hoyer: Cubs Will Let Baez Be Himself This Season
(CBS) All that 21-year-old Javy Baez is was on display Tuesday night when he made his major league debut for the Cubs in Denver.
The hard-swinging Baez went hitless with three strikeouts in his first five at-bats, then flashed his dazzling power with an opposite-field homer on a fastball down and away to lead off the 12th inning, a blast that proved to be the game-winner in Chicago’s 6-5 victory at Colorado.
On Wednesday morning, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer told Matt Spiegel and Mark Grote on 670 The Score that for the time being, they’re going to let the free-swinging Baez be the free-swinging Baez. The organization has no intention of tweaking Baez’s tendencies over the final two months of the season.
“For the rest of the year, I think we can sit back and watch a little bit,” Hoyer said. “I think he’ll learn a lot facing guys, seeing how they set him up. Obviously, there will be a lot of discussion about what pitchers are trying to do to him. Seeing guys for the first time, I know there will be a lot of film study from his standpoint. But as far as mechanically, it’s really just letting him play. A big part of why we decided to bring him up when we did was to let him have that 50 or so games to play. He’ll have his ups and downs, for sure, but I think he can reflect over the course of the winter and realize, ‘Here’s the things I have to work on. Here’s what I have to get better at to be a star in the league.'”
With Baez up, many fans are now wondering who the next elite Cubs prospect will be to get the big league call-up. It’s a question Hoyer and his fellow executives were already joking about Tuesday night — and they “don’t have the answer” to yet, Hoyer said.
Jorge Soler, a 22-year-old outfielder at Triple-A Iowa, is the name popping up most often, as he’s already on the Cubs’ 40-man roster.
“He has to keep performing,” Hoyer said of Soler, who’s hitting “Obviously, we love what he’s done so far since he came back (from injury). Really impressive job in Double-A, and he’s kept it going in Triple-A. His at-bats are really good. He control the strike zone very well.
“(Calling him up) is a consideration.”
In regards to the other burning question, Hoyer said the Cubs will be looking to acquire starting pitching in a “multi-year process.” When asked by Spiegel if this coming offseason was too early to make a $100-million-plus splash on a big-name starter — perhaps someone like Jon Lester or Max Scherzer — Hoyer responded “we’ll see” and emphasized the organization doesn’t want to rush.
“It’s really almost a two-year period of looking at pitching,” Hoyer said. “You never want to go into any one offseason saying, ‘We must do something.’ But at the same time, we also know over the next 18 to 24 months that we do need to add a lot of starting pitching to create that depth.
“Certainly, we’ll be looking to add pitching. Whether that’s this offseason or next offseason, it will be something we almost solely focus on going forward.”
Listen to Hoyer’s full interview below.