(CBS) Citing the influence of Joe Maddon, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer pushed back at the sabermetrically based belief that baseball managers only account for a two-game difference in the win-loss column in a 162-game season.
In Hoyer’s mind, there’s no way the Cubs would’ve approached 97 regular-season wins in 2015 and followed that up with a 103-win campaign and second straight trip to the NLCS without the leadership of Maddon.
“People always say that managers are only worth a few wins here and a few wins there,” Hoyer said in an interview with Mike Mulligan and David Haugh on 670 on Thursday morning. “I think part of that is because a lot of things they do exceptionally well are really hard to figure out, they’re so intangible. With Joe, the tone he sets is so good, the way the players go about their business on a daily basis, the fact that he gives them a ton of freedom, the fact that they have that sort of never-quit attitude, that all comes from Joe. The manager sort of chooses the way he wants to run the clubhouse, and the way Joe has chosen to do it is by really trusting our guys. And I think they’ve really bought in to that.
“In some ways, we’re fortunate that we have such an obvious goal in Chicago. I think every team starts the year wanting to win the World Series. I think it’s a little bit of a simpler sell in Chicago. Joe knows that. He’s had players that have bought in. So he can trust that they’re totally motivated. He doesn’t have to worry that guys aren’t all looking at the same thing.
“The idea that the range (for managers) is only up and down two wins, I think that’s really narrow. I thought last year, in my opinion, we won 97 games with a really young team that hadn’t had success before. I thought last year, there’s no way Joe wasn’t worth a ton of wins. We don’t have that kind of season without Joe as a manager.
“The range is a lot bigger than the plus or minus two wins you’re talking about. I think the range can be really extreme depending on the circumstances. Especially on the down side, if the manager losses a clubhouse or loses the trust of his guys, a pretty promising season can go away in a hurry.”
The Cubs host Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday at Wrigley Field against either the Dodgers or Nationals.
Listen to Hoyer’s full interview below.