Chicago Cubs are officially Jed Hoyer’s team now

Feb 19, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer speaks to the media during spring training media day at the Glendale Civic Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 19, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer speaks to the media during spring training media day at the Glendale Civic Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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With the trade day fire sale on Chicago’s North Side, one thing is clear. For better or worse, the Chicago Cubs are now Jed Hoyer’s team.

Theo Epstein said as much last year when he resigned as team president. Today’s flurry of trades put the definitive stamp on it.

Chicago Cubs have a vastly different look

Within a few days, Hoyer traded away literally half the team’s starting lineup: Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and, earlier this month, Joc Pederson. Also gone are the team’s three top relievers — Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Chafin and Ryan Tepera – as well as rotation starter Trevor Williams and part-time outfielder Jake Marisnick.

Since taking over full charge of the team from Epstein last winter, Hoyer has also dispatched outfielders Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora and starter Jon Lester.

The blunder that sank the season. light. More Cubs

From the 2016 World Series champions, which Hoyer –as the team’s GM — had a big hand in shaping, only three players remain. They are Jason Heyward, pitcher Kyle Hendricks and catcher Willson Contreras. And Contreras is no sure thing to still be in a Cubs uniform next spring.

That means the Cubs’ future now hangs on the talent – much of it still at the minor league level that Hoyer has infused or will soon infuse into the system. For the present, that talent includes:

  • Outfielders Alexander Canario, Pete Crow-Armstrong and Kevin Alcantara, all prospects acquired within the last 24 hours.
  • Pitchers Caleb Kilian, Bailey Horn, Alexander Vizcaino and Daniel Palencia, all prospects acquired within the last 24 hours.
  • Major league infielder Nick Madrigal and pitcher Codi Heuer, acquired for Kimbrel from the White Sox. Madrigal is injured and out for the year.
  • Recent first round draft pick Jordan Wicks, Ed Howard and Ryan Jensen. Jensen and Wicks are pitchers, Howard is an infielder.

At season’s end, Hoyer will have a large opportunity to reshape the team with more reliable veterans. The team he takes into 2022 has only two holdover contracts of significance on it: The two remaining years of Heyward’s $44 million, deal and Hendricks’ two-year, $28 million contract. In 2022 terms that’s just $26 million.

He’s also obligated to Contreras, if he’s not dealt, and to Ian Happ for whatever they earn as arbitration 3 and 2 players respectively, and smaller amounts to Jake Arrieta and David Bote. But for 2022, the whole sum of that six-player core shouldn’t exceed $70 million, and might be less.

The Cubs will spend twice that much on payroll this year. Aside from the quirky 2020 season, the team has not been under $100 million in payroll since 2014, and hasn’t been under $80 million since 2003.

dark. Next. Front office covering themselves in trade talks

What Jed Hoyer has done with this trade splurge, in short, is indelibly stamp the 2022, 2023 and successive Chicago Cubs teams as his and his alone. The team’s future largely hangs on the progress of the players he has recently acquired. To him will fall the credit or blame for those teams’ successes or failures.