(670 The Score) Judging by general manager Jed Hoyer’s comments Friday afternoon, the Cubs don’t appear inclined to trade one of the position players from their young core this offseason, even as they remain steadfast in their desire to add another frontline starting pitcher.
“There’s a very good chance that the group that we had at the end of last year is the group we’re going forward with, which we’re really happy with given the results,” Hoyer said on the Bernstein and Goff Show on Friday afternoon.
Hoyer’s remark was in response to a question about the team’s offense, which he would like to see grind out more at-bats in 2018 than it did in 2017, when it was second in the National League in runs scored. Hoyer also downplayed the idea that the Cubs are looking to add a traditional lead-off man in free agency or the trade market.
“In an ideal situation, we’d have a natural lead-off hitter, a guy that feels totally comfortable in that spot, a guy like Dex (Fowler),” Hoyer said. “But we don’t have that guy, and I think it’s unlikely that we acquire that guy. We’re almost definitely going forward with that group of offensive players. We don’t have a perfect lead-off fit. I think whoever Joe puts in that spot is not going to be that traditional lead-off guy. We have to live with that. I think we lived with it last year, and that was pretty effective. I think when comes to the lead-off spot, we just have to find someone comfortable there who’s not going to get out of their approach.
“We’ll probably tinker.”
With Hoyer hinting the Cubs aren’t likely to deal a position player from their core, adding another starter appears more likely in free agency. The Cubs are still in the mix for right-hander Yu Darvish and right-hander Jake Arrieta, the top two starters available in free agency, but to this point they’ve refused to reach the desired length of a contract those two desire — which is believed to be five years or more.
Hoyer revealed little when the topic of Arrieta was broached, other than to say “you never know” when asked if he may return. Arrieta was 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and 1.22 WHIP for the Cubs last season and was instrumental in helping them to the 2016 World Series championship.
“Certainly, we hold him in the absolute highest regard, and we’ll see where it takes us,” Hoyer said.
Hoyer also rejected any speculation that the Cubs could reveal a big move at Cubs Convention, which starts Friday evening and runs through Sunday.
“No big announcements coming up,” Hoyer said.