(CBS) The rise of the Cubs to becoming the best team in baseball has been orchestrated by a shrewd, patient front office, one that to date has been also been marked by a lack of egoism.
And perhaps no one illustrates that better than general manager Jed Hoyer, who in late 2011 left his GM job with the Padres in which he had final say on baseball matters to join president of baseball operations and good friend Theo Epstein with the rebuilding Cubs. Hoyer has never regretted the decision to go from being the top man to a more collaborative role.
“When I first got here, it was something that took a little sorting out,” Hoyer said Thursday on the Spiegel and Goff Show, a day after Epstein signed a five-year extension with the Cubs and Hoyer received a new deal to match that same timeline.
“Because in San Diego, I had been the final decision-maker. Here I was coming back to work with Theo. I think it’s a couple things. We felt it was such a big endeavor here that there was a lot of autonomy to be had here for me.
“Ultimately, I want to have the same experience in Chicago that we had in Boston in ’04 (in winning the World Series). It was such a life-changing thing for all of us, I just want to be a part of it. On some level, when you play team sports your whole life, I think it’s OK to not be the guy. It’s OK to be Pippen, if you want to look at it that way.
“Theo, I think he’s ticketed for the Hall of Fame. I’ve learned a ton from Theo. I’ll continue to learn a ton from Theo. I’m 42 years old. I think I got a lot more working years, and I can apply a lot of the things I’ve learned from Theo working with him for almost 15 years — I can take a lot of those things and apply them in the future.
“It’s sort of a long way to say I love this role, I love what I’m doing. It’s a great partnership that we’ve had. Listen, if I can do my little part to get us where we need to go, that’s a great thing.”
In his nearly five years with the Cubs, Hoyer has received other offers to a promotion. Instead, he’s stayed put. His new deal won’t prevent him from taking a promotion elsewhere, but leaving for another team isn’t currently anywhere on Hoyer’s radar, he said.
“Given my relationship with Tom and with Theo, if there was something for me that made sense and I really wanted to pursue it, I don’t think those guys would ever stand in my way,” Hoyer said. “But those guys also know this is where I want to be. I’ve had opportunities in the last five years to go elsewhere, and I’ve always said no. First of all, me and my family love it here. We love living in Chicago. But we have big goals in front of us that we haven’t matched. It’s great that Theo and Jason and I finalized everything, but the reality is, they’d have to kick us out of our offices if they didn’t extend us. Because we came here to get certain things done, and we haven’t done that yet. That’s a big part of why we came here in the first place.”
Listen to Hoyer’s full interview below.