(670 The Score) Jed Hoyer has signed a new five-year contract to succeed Theo Epstein as the Cubs' president of baseball operations, keeping him as the team's lead baseball executive through 2025.
Hoyer, 46, will be tasked with guiding the Cubs through their current challenges, and he believes they can continue to contend in the NL Central while doing so. Hoyer hopes he can bring the Cubs continuity after Epstein stepped down from his position last week.
"I don't look at me really following Theo," Hoyer said in a media session Monday. "I have been here the last nine years. I know I played a role in all the things I have well and played in roles we struggled with as well. I have been a part of this all along. Following a Hall of Fame executive and gaining from that is the way I will view the experience."
Starting his 10th season now in the Cubs' front office after serving as the team's general manager under Epstein, Hoyer plans to keep some of the same structure and approach in place that both he and Epstein previously formulated. But Hoyer also hopes to put his own stamp on the organization as it goes through a transition period in 2021 and beyond.
Hoyer is no stranger to being the top baseball executive for a franchise. He was the general manager and lead baseball executive for the Padres in 2010-'11 before being hired by Epstein and the Cubs. Hoyer left a robust farm system there that was ranked No. 1 among the 30 MLB clubs by ESPN.com.
"Jed was a key baseball operations leader as we built a team that made the playoffs five of the last six years and won the world series in 2016," Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said. "My family and I believe he will be an incredible baseball operations president. The Cub fans have one of the best in the business leading the team to continue our commitment to sustained success."
In 2015, the Cubs had the top farm system in baseball, according to multiple outlets, under the guidance of Epstein and Hoyer. Now the task for Hoyer is to lead the way in restocking the system while also keeping the team competitive at the big league level.
With the franchise lagging behind in developing pitchers, Hoyer will look to fortify the system with viable arms to develop in the rotation and bullpen. To help that goal, he plans to hire a general manager from outside the organization, though he didn't give a timeline on that hire.
Hoyer's biggest challenge will be deciding the future of four key players who are set to be free agents after 2021. Handling the possible signings or possible trades of third baseman Kris Bryant, shortstop Javier Baez, outfielder Kyle Schwarber and first baseman Anthony Rizzo will be the first order of business for Hoyer.
With the Cubs' usual revenue streams relying heavily on both ticket sales and gameday operations, Hoyer may have to be creative about how he handles the payroll amid the pandemic. He intends for the Cubs to contend in 2021 while restocking the farm system with prospects.
"Every time you make the playoffs, you have a chance to win," Hoyer said. "You can't be the favorite every year. But with our resources, I think we can compete every year to win and be able to position your team long term as well."
Hoyer began his career with the Red Sox in 2002. He worked in Boston with Epstein and Cubs senior vice president of player personnel Jason McLeod, helping build World Series champion Red Sox teams in 2004 and 2007. Hoyer then was hired in San Diego in late 2009.
Hoyer is now being tasked with maintaining the Cubs' winning standard while finding new solutions for contending. He understands that begins with addressing the team's struggling lineup.
"Most of the time we have been talking about what we can do to fix our offense," Hoyer said. "How do we change our approach and messaging? Those are the things we are looking at for both the offense and developing pitching."
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.