The annual MLB basic managers conferences lay the groundwork for the remainder of the offseason.
The Chicago Cubs’ sudden hiring of supervisor Craig Counsell added a wrinkle to what ought to have been an in any other case regular starting to free company. But it didn’t change the mission this week for President Jed Hoyer and the Cubs entrance workplace: getting an early really feel for the free-agent market and the commerce panorama and assembly with brokers, together with Scott Boras.
As the Cubs put together to formally introduce Counsell subsequent week, listed below are three takeaways from the GM conferences.
1. Craig Counsell’s departure to a rival a shock for Brewers GM.
Thirty-six hours after the Cubs named Counsell their supervisor, Brewers basic supervisor Matt Arnold acknowledged he was shocked by Counsell leaving for a division rival however nonetheless spoke extremely of his buddy.
“From our perspective, it’s always been about people, that’s something Craig and I talked about a lot after working together for eight years, and I think that’s really important for us to put people first,” Arnold stated Wednesday. “In this case, we put Craig first all through the method, and I’m thrilled for him and his end result. At the identical time, we’re able the place we’ve got to place our greatest foot ahead and we’re going to do precisely that.
“Everything that Craig has done, all the accolades he deserves. I certainly enjoyed our time together and I’ll always have good memories of working with Craig Counsell. But at the same time we’re going to be competing against each other, and it should be a lot of fun.”
Pat Murphy, Counsell’s bench coach in Milwaukee, is in a “very real” dialogue for the Brewers supervisor opening, Arnold stated. If he isn’t employed, Arnold needs to verify the incoming supervisor brings on his personal bench coach. That may create a path to Murphy becoming a member of Counsell because the Cubs work by way of who might be retained from David Ross’ employees.
Arnold wouldn’t focus on different names the Brewers are contemplating for the job, together with whether or not their checklist consists of Ross.
“If it ends up with Pat Murphy not being our manager, he will absolutely have a home here with the Brewers,” Arnold stated.
Arnold didn’t shut the door on letting members of the Brewers teaching employees comply with Counsell to the Cubs, stating if it’s a superb alternative for somebody, he could be open to having that dialogue.
“Having come from the Tampa Bay Rays, there are a lot of places where you get raided when you have good people, and we’ve had that happen here in Milwaukee and that’s something we should be proud of,” Arnold stated. “That speaks to our culture and the good people that we’ve produced here.”
2. Christopher Morel will get offseason work at first base.
One of the Cubs’ largest inside roster questions facilities on Morel’s positional future with the staff.
The Cubs have had ongoing conversations about his greatest match and consider Morel, 24, would profit from sticking at one place defensively reasonably than being utilized in a utility position. Ideally the right-handed Morel would play second base, the place his athleticism and arm power may shine, however that spot is locked down by Gold Glove award winner Nico Hoerner for at the least the following three years. They have tried Morel at third base, the place he logged a majority of his begins within the minors. He put in work pregame there, too, in his final two big-league seasons to enhance his 17 begins on the scorching nook for the Cubs, however inaccuracy together with his throws has been a seamless problem.
It’s a stability between mixing Morel’s strengths and talent set with the staff’s personnel.
“He’s a very capable second baseman, (but) we have (Hoerner), so that’s not the spot we’re going to put him,” Hoyer stated Wednesday. “Another team might be able to put him there and have him do that.”
With restricted on a regular basis choices for a non-designated hitter position, the Cubs need Morel to get offseason work at first base in winter ball and see how he handles the place.
“Finding a home for him is something that would be really valuable,” Hoyer stated. “(First base) suits our wants and probably his wants. … With that place, too, you’ve received to place lots of work in.
“The hard part about first base is that certainly it doesn’t require a lot of things that third base or second base do, but the footwork around the bag, understanding positioning can be really challenging, so that’s a big part of it.”
The Cubs don’t have an apparent choice throughout the group at first base and used Cody Bellinger — now a free agent — extra within the second half of the season. Lefty slugger Matt Mervis may get one other look in spring coaching and present he discovered from his first style of the majors. Otherwise, their first baseman would wish to come back by way of a commerce or free company if they need a non-platoon setup — maybe re-signing Bellinger, Jeimer Candelario or signing Rhys Hoskins. Candelario, although, most popular taking part in third base, which prompted former supervisor David Ross to as a substitute use Patrick Wisdom at first when each had been within the lineup.
There isn’t any hurt in seeing if Morel can deal with first base within the offseason. He additionally represents a commerce asset the Cubs can use to assist purchase a greater roster match, specifically a star participant. Morel isn’t arbitration-eligible till after the 2025 season and boasts straightforward energy, each enticing qualities to organizations.
3. After Marcus Stroman’s opt-out, Cubs will discover inside and exterior choices for rotation opening.
Hoyer didn’t know which means right-hander Marcus Stroman was leaning within the lead–as much as his opt-out determination.
Hoyer had a number of prolonged conversations with Stroman’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, on Friday and Saturday about what the pitcher wished to do by Monday’s deadline. Even for the time being Van Wagenen referred to as to tell Hoyer of the choice, he was uncertain whether or not Stroman would return for the remaining one-year and $21 million on his contract.
“I think he felt like in this market he’d secure a multiyear deal and I think that was a priority,” Hoyer stated. “It’s not typically once I actually didn’t know what path that was going to go. That’s why we had a bunch of conversations as a result of I believe they had been form of feeling it out and desirous about it too.
“He was a very hard worker, really diligent with his preparation, really cares about winning. He wants to sort of do his own thing in terms of how he does his preparation and that’s great. We gave him that freedom because he deserves that and he always gets his work done. He’s always prepared. I thought it was a good match for us.”
Stroman’s departure opens a spot within the rotation, and Hoyer needs to present alternatives to pitchers throughout the group, pointing to the depth that they had this 12 months. It’s a big-league group that featured right-handers Javier Assad and Hayden Wesneski and left-handers Jordan Wicks and Drew Smyly, plus arms on the higher ranges within the minors that the majority notably embrace right-handers Ben Brown and Cade Horton.
“I do like the fact that we can give some young guys some opportunities,” Hoyer stated.
But as Hoyer likes to evangelise: Teams by no means can have sufficient pitching. So count on the Cubs to discover the beginning pitching market. The Cubs pitching employees wants extra swing-and-miss stuff, which Hoyer stated he would look so as to add.
“I still don’t feel like the stuff of our staff can still continue to ramp up,” Hoyer stated. “It’s gotten better, but the stuff in the big leagues isn’t where our minor-league system is. We’ve got to continue to migrate that up and have more swing-and-miss.”