What Cubs' Jed Hoyer Says About Team's Competitive Timeline

What Jed Hoyer says about Cubs’ competitive timeline originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

What exactly are the Cubs doing?

And how long is it going to take?

Those are questions shared by fans and media members for the last 10 months in the aftermath of the Cubs trading away most of their All-Star core.

But whether you’re ready to put a timetable on this transition period/rebuild, Jed Hoyer isn’t.

“I don't want to put the exact years on it like you want me to,” said Hoyer when asked if 2023 can be a season fans look at the Cubs on paper and see a playoff contender. 

Many of the Cubs’ top prospects are in the lower levels of the minor leagues, including those they acquired at the 2021 deadline for Javy Báez and Anthony Rizzo: promising outfielders Pete Crow-Armstrong and Kevin Alcantara.

The upper levels of their system include players they’re high on, too, like outfielders Brennen Davis and Nelson Velazquez, and starter Caleb Kilian, all of whom are at Triple-A Iowa. 

RELATED: Why Kilian’s Cubs, MLB debut may come sooner than later

For as much talent as there is in Myrtle Beach and South Bend, Hoyer doesn’t want to link the team’s next competitive window entirely to that group of players.

“We did trade for a lot of guys that were in the lower levels," Hoyer said. "And a lot of people felt like because of that, ‘OK, they're signaling exactly when they're going to be competitive.’

“Waiting on the development of a couple minor leaguers is really, really challenging. I don't think you can tie a team's competitiveness to a group of guys that are in the low minors.”

That suggests the Cubs’ timeline could include 2023 — as did some of their moves last offseason. 

They signed Seiya Suzuki to a five-year deal and see him as a building block for “The Next Great Cubs Team.” Marcus Stroman is on a three-year deal with an opt out after 2023 — though that also makes his contract tradable.

Ever since the end of last season, Hoyer has repeatedly said the Cubs want to keep one eye on the present and one on the future.

Last summer’s deadline trades served the ladder, but Hoyer added Suzuki and Stroman to help the Cubs compete now and in the coming seasons.

The trade deadline in a few months will suggest a direction, at least in the short term. What does Willson Contreras' future hold?

For as much talent as the Cubs have added to their farm system, there’s no such thing as a can’t-miss prospect. It’s folly to assume all their promising minor leaguers will pan out.

The Cubs obviously will need at least some of their prospects to develop into impactful big leaguers. Hoyer just isn’t tying the Cubs’ next competitive window entirely to the younger guys.

“Certainly, I think a lot of those guys are going to play a big role here, but I don't want to think about their timeline as being our timeline,” Hoyer said.

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