What would you do with a financial windfall?
Whether it’s ten bucks, five hundred, ten thousand, or mid-six figures, each answer can be illuminating. Whether paying off bills, getting in a vacation, setting aside money for a rainy day, or something else, everyone has a different spending priority.
How does this relate to the Cubs? Not only has Jed Hoyer added expectations to his employment with his recent promotion to President of Baseball Operations, he's likely added something to his professional operating budget. How should he invest it?
Theo Epstein walked away from $10 million by leaving and Hoyer figures to get at least a portion of that to spend with his promotion. Whether by internal hire or headhunting from another organization, the General Manager spot will be refilled. By the time all the replacements stop, it's likely for the largesse to be significantly less than the initial $10 million, perhaps $7 million or so. At that point, Hoyer ought to get about internally assessing the four internal pipelines that determine future success, or lack thereof: Original selection, player development, development assessment, and roster effectiveness.
Original selection assesses scouting amateurs, in all its forms. Player development incorporates the non-players that helps players become more effective, regardless of the level. Development assessment notes the differences between player abilities, regardless the organization or level. Roster effectiveness pits the Cubs' roster against the other 29 teams. To bring in a one-time starting pitcher for a $6 million one-year salary (or increasing the amount spent on a starting pitcher by that amount) splurges the entire Epstein amount on one season, presuming that money is available for player payroll. Adding a few specific non-player pieces would instead improve the perceived benefit over a few years. Is Hoyer prioritizing the future in general, or 2021 specifically? Perhaps fans return en masse in 2021, or perhaps not.
For as long as Hoyer has been around, I know very little about him. Apparently, he banged the table rather aggressively promoting including Pedro Strop in the Jake Arrieta trade. However, as far as how he sees the future? I have no idea. Yes, he "values prospects,” but that rings of "believes gravity exists." The recent additions of DJ Snelten, Jake Jewell, Rafael Ortega and others were likely already in play. What does Hoyer being in charge add to the Cubs, and what does Epstein's removal subtract?
I think I look forward to upcoming potential trades. Not because they will help the team (that will likely be a coin flip), but because we will finally have awareness of who Hoyer really is. In the Cubs’ recent heyday in the mid-20-teens, it was noted that nobody was certain what responsibilities were Epstein’s, and what was more on the plate of Hoyer, or even Jason McLeod. As of now, my most certainty for who will be promoted revolves around Dan Kantrovitz, who has now drafted well in three organizations. Hoyer's next move will be the first I assign to him in real-time.
For fans of the long term? Baseball remains a deliberative game. Decisions are played out over long stretches. Organizations are seemingly more about the long-term than the quick, reflexive payout.
Will Hoyer send away a longer-term piece or two on Friday to upgrade the current 40-man roster? He'll have up to a few dozen teams trying to persuade him in that fashion. When I tune into a college game, or a low-minors tilt, it isn't to prove what I believe. It's to add data points. The intriguing outfielder against the high-upside arm? Who provides more current luster. What is Hoyer doing to help the team? Where will he prioritize decision-making? How is he different from Epstein? The soon-to-be-departed executive seems to have been very different in 2013 than 2018? As for Hoyer, he's that MLB-debuting pitcher with a mixed bag of minor league results. The data from before pales in comparison to the data about to be recorded. Here's to the incoming data.