(CBS) The Cubs embarked on an organizational rebuild in late 2011 when they hired president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer. It culminated in a championship last season, five years after the process started.
A month after the Cubs won their championship, the White Sox started a rebuilding process of their own by dealing ace left-hander Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton at the MLB Winter Meetings in early December. That process has continued to this day, with the White Sox acquiring 18 prospects by trading nine big league players in the past eight months. They’ve accumulated blue-chip talent as well, with seven of the game’s top 68 prospects, as rated by MLB.com.
From afar, Hoyer holds a great respect for how general manager Rick Hahn and the White Sox have handled this rebuilding business, which included sending left-hander Jose Quintana to the Cubs for highly regarded prospects Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease in mid-July.
“I really like what they’ve done,” Hoyer said in an interview with Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley on 670 The Score on Tuesday morning. “I think one of the things I’ve said publicly about our own rebuild was I felt like we didn’t cut corners, that we went all the way, that when we had a chance to make a trade, we made it. And I think a lot of teams hold on to guys for various reasons and aren’t willing to do that. And I think that the White Sox, they traded all the guys they wanted to trade. They didn’t cut any corners, and as a result, I think they’ve got a really stacked minor league system.”
Now comes the second — and just as crucial — phase of the rebuild for the White Sox: developing their talent.
“You’ve got to transition these guys from the minor leagues to the major leagues, and that is a hard process,” Hoyer said. “I think we had, definitely, some growing pains, some ups and downs as we did that. We were able to probably transition a bit faster than we thought … we’d be able to do. And I think Jon Lester and Dexter Fowler and Miguel Montero and Jake Arrieta had a big role in that. Those guys really stabilized our roster and allowed some of those ups and downs from the young players when they came up to the big leagues, and those minor leaguers weren’t leaned on quite as much. They were able to be somewhat in the background. Riz (Anthony Rizzo) helped with that as well. So I think the transition is really difficult, trying to make sure you get these guys to the big leagues, allow them time to struggle and still try and compete at the same time.”
Listen to Hoyer’s full interview below.