Hoerner on Simmons signing: ‘I'll be ready as needed'


MESA, Ariz. — The Cubs’ signing of four-time Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a free agent deal won’t change Nico Hoerner’s plans or mindset, said the player whose role figures to be most impacted by the signing among those returning from last year.

“I’m ready to play shortstop every day and able to play other spots as well as we’ve gotten work everywhere this offseason, too,” said Hoerner, the ranking incumbent at short. “So it hasn’t been a closed mindset at all.

“I’ll be ready as I’m needed.”

That long was the expectation and desired Plan A for the Cubs after trading All-Star and Gold Glove shortstop Javy Báez in July — that the Cubs would add a shortstop with a strong fielding track record and that Hoerner’s athletic value defensively would best serve the Cubs by rotating through several positions.

First official workouts of this post-lockout spring training don’t even start until Monday, and nobody’s told Hoerner what the plans are for him yet.

“We don’t even know who’s fully on our team yet,” he said.

In fact, Simmons’ $4 million, one-year deal still was being finalized Saturday as the Cubs’ front office continued working the phones to fill pitching and outfield needs, if not even more infield help.

For his part, new Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman has been doing his part on social media, shouting out top free agent Carlos Correa to woo him to the North Side.

“I’m just doing my little pitch on Twitter,” Stroman said after throwing his first bullpen session as a Cub Saturday, downplaying the idea he has much influence or inside information. “I'm just trying, man. It’s always good to just put that out there, that good energy.”

Hoerner, the former Stanford shortstop drafted in the first round in 2018, said he’s not following the Correa chatter. He’s got more important things to spend his time and attention on, and that’s not changing as a quick spring ramp-up begins whether Simmons is the regular shortstop or the Cubs go big and land Correa.

“I definitely prepared at shortstop the most this offseason, and I’m still ready to do that every day,” said Hoerner, who broke into the majors as an emergency call-up in 2019 to close out a division pennant race as the everyday shortstop. “It’s just a matter of wherever they need me. We’ve got 162 games in not many days.”

And if team president Jed Hoyer has a lengthy list of new players on the way?

“I hope so,” Hoerner said. “Obviously, the more talent we can have on our team the better chance we have of winning. And I love the position-player group we have right now is really strong, with a lot of guys that have a lot to prove.

“Whatever moves they make to help us win I’m all for.”

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