Why is transparancy an issue? Cubs' plan is pretty obvious
On a clear night at Guaranteed Rate Field, a strange debate about transparency continued.
Before the Cubs beat the White Sox 5-1 on Saturday, Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer spent some time entertaining reporters in the visiting dugout. Hoyer seemed equal parts defensive and exasperated on the transparent topic.
"I don't think it's my job to lay out exactly what our (team-building) strategy is," he said. "I think that would be pretty dumb. I think there is a desire for transparency that I totally understand."
This topic gained some momentum after the controversy regarding a recent taping of "The Reporters" on the Marquee Network. For anyone not familiar, it's a new show meant to be patterned after the old "Sports writers on TV." When guests on the show started talking about Cubs transparency, taping stopped and the group reportedly was asked to move onto a different subject.
But here's the thing: The Cubs are obviously rebuilding. Any fan can see that. They traded Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javy Baez in a span of two days last year.
The Cubs clearly are taking a long-range approach to success after using those trades to replenish the farm system, and could have tried much harder to add talent over the winter. Why it's important for Hoyer to acknowledge the obvious is a head-scratcher.
"I think it would be foolish to sit here and tell everyone exactly how much money we're going to spend, who we're going to sign and what our exact timeline is," Hoyer said. "That would be giving us a competitive disadvantage, because no one else is doing that."
For the record, Hoyer did refuse to attach the word "rebuild" to the Cubs' current situation, for whatever reason.
"That's your job," he said to the reporters gathered around him. "If you want to label it that, that's your job. My job is to tell you what our plan is and I believe I've done that using almost the exact same phrasing we used the last time."
There's another element to the state of the Cubs that Hoyer can't say out loud, and it also applies to the Bulls' decision to trade Jimmy Butler in 2017. Chicago teams take advantage of the fans' loyalty. A rebuild means lower payroll, which makes it an opportunity for profit-taking.
The Cubs want fans to keep buying tickets, so they don't talk about that part. The hope is, those minor league prospects will eventually pay off in a winning team and all will be forgiven.
"There are going to moments in time when you have to make a decision and sometimes the current and the future are in conflict," Hoyer said. "When those things are in conflict, we are going to look toward the future. Our goal is to build something really special -- just like it was last time."
The Cubs won one for the current plan Saturday, thanks to some early offense and a strong start by Keegan Thompson. In his third start of the season, Thompson (5-0) gave up 1 run and 5 hits over 5 innings, but said he got away with some mistakes.
"For the most part, I felt like I got pretty lucky," Thompson said. "I think they missed some pitches in the strike zone. I just didn't hit a ton of spots and felt like I got away with a couple of poor pitches, I feel like."
The Cubs are one of the MLB leaders in runs scored in the first inning, and connected twice against White Sox starter Johnny Cueto. Christopher Morel led off with a single, scored on Patrick Wisdom's pop fly double, then Frank Schwindel added an RBI single.
The Cubs made it 3-0 in the second, then kept the momentum in the bottom of the inning when right fielder Rafael Ortega threw out Yasmani Grandal at the plate trying to score from second on a Jake Burger single. Burger's home run in the fifth was the only scoring by the South Siders.
Cubs shortstop Nico Hoerner had 3 hits and is now 5-for-9 since returning from a sprained left ankle.
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