By this point, Chicago Cubs president Jed Hoyer and general manager Carter Hawkins must be about as confused as Cub fans everywhere.
Is this team capable of contending in the NL Central? Or is it a tease? And should the Cubs buy or sell at the trade deadline.
To this point, the team’s 2023 season has at times felt like a giant game of Chutes and Ladders. The team won 12 of its first 19 games and found itself solidly in contention. Then May, a 10-18 month, dashed those assumptions.
June has seen a stretch of nine wins in 10 games –pulling the Cubs within two games of .500 – followed immediately by losses in five of six and a fall back into fourth place.
What follows is a mid-term assessment of the Cub front offices’s personnel decisions since the conclusion of the 2022 World Series with a particular focus on the extent to which those decisions have helped or hindered the team’s performance.
The standard of measurement is Wins Above Average (WAA), a variant of Wins Above Replacement (WAR). For this purpose, WAA is preferable because unlike WAR, it is zero-based. That means the sum of all the decisions made by Hoyer and Hawkins impacting the 2023 team gives at least a good estimate of the number of games those moves have improved – or worsened – the team’s status this season.
A team’s front office impacts that team’s standing in five ways. Those five are:
1. By the impact of players it acquires from other teams via trade, purchase or waiver claim.
2. By the impact of players it surrenders to other teams in those same transactions.
3. By the impact of players it signs at free agency or extends.
4. By the impact of players it loses to free agency or releases.
5. By the impact of players it promotes from its own farm system.
Here’s how Hoyer and Hawkins stack up by those five yardsticks.