The Chicago Cubs made their first move of the offseason on Tuesday as they signed Jon Jay to a one-year contract, but there were two other stories that G.M. Jed Hoyer addressed on Wednesday afternoon.
In an interview with media members, Hoyer discussed several topics, including what the acquisition of Jay means for the Cubs, and whether or not it closes the door on outfielder Dexter Fowler re-signing with the team this offseason.
“We would never close the door on a reunion with Dexter,” Hoyer said. “He’s always welcome here. He’s a guy that’s going to live in Cubs lore for a long time. We would love to have him back, but we know how the business works, and that’s not something we’d necessarily count on.”
Reports have swirled that Fowler, now arguably the most talented outfielder on the free agent market, could potentially command $20 million per season, and that would almost certainly put him out of the Cubs’ price range as they aren’t looking to inflate their payroll much this offseason.
Aside from Fowler, another recent report was discussed by Hoyer, as the Cubs’ G.M. was asked about the Chicago White Sox reportedly saying that they would not trade ace pitcher Chris Sale to the North Side under any circumstances.
“I don’t think anything that’s been written is the least bit surprising,” he said. “I don’t expect a lot of deals done between the White Sox and the Cubs. I don’t think I’m saying anything surprising when I say that.”
The two teams have not made a trade in over a decade, and according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the White Sox have already told the Cubs that they will not trade Sale to them no matter what deal is presented.
The Cubs have been on the lookout for young, cost-controlled pitching, and that quest could pick up steam this offseason. Jake Arrieta is going to be entering the final year of his contract in 2017, as is veteran hurler John Lackey. It’s unclear whether either player will be back in 2018, but with the farm system not exactly flush with talent on the mound, the Cubs are going to be on the lookout to add a player like Chris Archer or Gerrit Cole to the mix.