(CBS) The Cubs' top priority this offseason is to acquire another top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher, as they've stated multiple times and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein repeated Thursday.
Of course, with that comes a tricky question: Should the Cubs buy starting pitching or trade for it?
General manager Jed Hoyer lauded the organization's positional player depth at the big league level, pointing out the season is a "marathon" and the abundance of young talent gives the team options and helps it overcome any injuries that may loom. At the same time, moving some of that talent could net a starting pitcher with a more team-friendly contract and protect the Cubs from the risk of ponying up $150 million or more for a single arm on the free-agent market.
Which Hoyer and Epstein readily realize.
"It's hard," Hoyer said of deciding which youngsters to keep and move when they look like they all have big upside. "There's certainly a vision for what this team will be. And everyone can probably imagine that a significant part of that involves these young players. I think, for me when I think back on the last 45 games of the season, what I really think about is how deep we were. It just felt like we could play any combination of players, and it was a good team. The value in that is pretty incredible. Everyone has injuries, everyone needed days off, and when you can roll out a good player at almost every spot every day ... the value is pretty incredible.
"That depth is going to be something we're very reluctant to get rid of because of that. Because everyone always writes down a starting lineup on paper and a rotation and an eighth-inning guy and a closer and say, 'There's our team.' And I think when you watch baseball over a long period of time, you realize that so rarely does happen when you start those same five guys (pitchers) over and over or guys in your starting lineup don't get hurt or perform badly. And I think that having that really long lineup, that really good roster 1-25, that really wins the marathon."
"I do think we're going to be reluctant to get rid of too much of that depth because I think that's a real strength in the future."
While Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell look to be firmly entrenched in the Cubs' future plans, the likes of Starlin Castro, Jorge Soler and Javier Baez could be candidates to be moved.
Listen to Hoyer's full interview below.
Jed Hoyer on the Mully & Hanley Show
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