Cubs' Nico Hoerner, Keegan Thompson Offer Glimpse Into Future

Thompson, Hoerner, Morel win now for Cubs — and maybe later? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Cubs president Jed Hoyer still pushed back on idea of his front office operating in rebuild mode even as he described exactly that in an effort at more “transparency” after that became a hot topic with last weekend’s self-censorship that cost the Cubs’ house-organ TV network its last pretense of credibility.

“We’ve built something really special once, and I have no doubt we’re going to build it again,” Hoyer said at one point during a lengthy back-and-forth with media.

So this is a rebuild, one writer interjected.

“I didn’t say that,” Hoyer said. “You keep labeling that. If you want to label it that, that’s your job. My job is to tell you what our plan is. And I think I’ve done that, using almost the exact same phrasing that we used last time.”

Last time.

As in 2012, ’13 and ’14 when the Cubs tanked to rebuild a roster Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer systematically gutted upon their arrival in the fall of 2011.


Don’t call it a rebuild. Call it a “build” or a focus on building the “next great Cubs team” he mentioned again Saturday, while “trying” (hoping? crap-shooting?) to compete now.

It doesn’t hurt the effort to blunt the specific-timeline questions along the way.

If talking to Hoyer didn’t provide a lot of specifics or definitions, his team provided at least a glimpse or two of what some of that NGCT might one day resemble when the Cubs beat the White Sox 5-1 on the South Side.

Homegrown pitcher Keegan Thompson went four scoreless innings before allowing a run in his fifth and final inning of another efficient spot start — a right-hander having such a strong season that his ERA actually went up four points to 1.58 with the impressive performance that earned him a fifth victory.

Homegrown shortstop Nico Hoerner added three more hits and a run scored in his second start back from a sprained ankle.

Homegrown leadoff man Chris Morel, who’s been the majors a little more than a week, had another hit and two walks.

Homegrown relievers Scott Effross and Rowan Wick added a scoreless inning each.

The Cubs aren’t going to win much this year. They’re positioned for another roster purge in July as Hoyer keeps stressing the future.

But some of Saturday might be at least some of what that might look like.

“It is satisfying to see players coming from the Cubs organization having an impact on the big-league level,” Hoerner said when asked about whether he saw that, “probably just because I’ve seen their behind-the-scenes work, ad what guys have gone through to get to this point.

“Everyone has their own ways, right? Especially in our sport. It’s pretty unique. It’s fun. But, yeah, as far as the future, every day leads towards that. But I’ll focus on this group right now.”

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