Heading into his second offseason as the team president, Jed Hoyer said Friday the Cubs will be active in the free agent market this winter.
“We plan to be really active in free agency,” Hoyer said. “We plan to spend money intelligently."
The Cubs only have three players with guaranteed contracts for 2022 in Kyle Hendricks, Jason Heyward and David Bote. Others like Willson Contreras and Ian Happ are arbitration eligible, and Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal are under team control.
They have a lot of holes to fill on the roster — and financial flexibility to address them.
"We're scouting that market heavily," Hoyer said. "We're going to analyze that market heavily.
“There's offseasons when free agency is something that you do a little bit of. And obviously this year, we’re going to be probably a little more active than usual to fill out our roster because we have a lot of open spots.”
Uncertainty around the Collective Bargaining Agreement currently hangs over the heads of all 30 teams and the entire MLB offseason. Negotiations are ongoing, and the current agreement expires Dec. 1.
Teams can’t be sure what the next agreement will look like, or when it will even get done.
“The CBA is going to have a significant impact on 30 teams’ decision-making,” Hoyer said.
How quick the market moves this winter remains to be seen, but we know starting pitching will be a priority for the Cubs. Hendricks is the only starter on the current staff who’s guaranteed to be in the Opening Day rotation in 2022.
Frontline arms like Marcus Stroman and Robbie Ray are set to hit free agency this winter, but how far the Cubs go with the top of the market remains to be seen.
“Obviously we’ll be active in free agency but we want to do it in a thoughtful and intelligent way," Hoyer said.
How they view the shortstop role vacated by Javy Báez following his trade to the Mets is a path less certain.
“I think we're still making some internal decisions on that,” Hoyer said.
Hoerner has taken over as the starting shortstop for the final few weeks this season. He was a Gold Glove Award finalist at second base in 2020 and also has experience in the outfield.
Hoyer said the expectation right now is Madrigal will be the second baseman next year. Hoerner's versatility opens up different options for the Cubs this winter.
“He's going to be a significant piece of our team next year and going forward,” Hoyer said. “Exactly what position I think is sort of undecided, but that's the beauty of it.
“As we go into this offseason, he allows us to make different decisions. It doesn’t force us one way or the other.”