Hoyer on '22 expectations: ‘Good vibe' around Cubs


What should fans expect out of the 2022 Cubs?

It's a question both manager David Ross and team president Jed Hoyer were asked Thursday, before Opening Day against the Brewers.

“My expectation is for us to win ballgames," Ross said. "We’re going to go out and compete really hard.

"I think the goal here is to win championships, as I always say, so we're gonna work towards that," Ross added. "We're gonna be better at the end than we are right now, I'm sure of that. I think we got a lot of talent."

Said Hoyer: “We'll compete hard. It's a scrappy group. I think there’s a good vibe about this team.”

Scrappy, indeed. The Cubs kicked off their season with a 5-4 win over Milwaukee, a back-and-forth affair that was tied as late as the seventh inning.

The Cubs roster underwent massive change over the offseason. Of the 28 players on their Opening Day roster, 11 were acquired this winter.

Their message has remained consistent over the last 16 months, dating back to the trade of Yu Darvish, and was evident in their offseason moves: They’re keeping an eye on the present and another on the future. 

“Our goal this offseason, we said over and over, was to spend intelligently,” Hoyer said. “We wanted to build a team that could compete.

“We also wanted to really keep an eye on the future. I didn’t want to shy away from that. Given the moves we made last summer, I think obviously that's a prudent thing to do. 

“But I think that by bringing in guys like [Marcus] Stroman and [Seiya] Suzuki, I think we’ve been able to accomplish that.”

Suzuki is a potential building block for “The Next Great Cubs Team” who can help the team in their near-term. As can veterans Jonathan Villar, Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons and potential breakout candidate Clint Frazier.

Kyle Hendricks, the longest tenured Cub, held the Brewers to one run and five hits in 5 1/3 innings, striking out seven. Ian Happ went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs.

The Cubs aren't considered favorites to win the NL Central in 2022, and if they’re not in the playoff mix come July, they’ll likely be in sell-mode. They have a ton of players signed to one-year deals.

But perhaps Thursday is an indication of that "scrappy" nature Hoyer described and what this team could do.

"I really believe in the group that we have right now," catcher Willson Contreras said. "I told them during a meeting, they're here for a reason.

"I think with the adrenaline we played with today, the energy that those guys bring every single day and have brought from Day 1 of spring training is really special."

Hoyer has said in the past he doesn’t know what a “rebuild” is when asked in the context of the Cubs’ current situation.

But whatever you want to call this period, it’s a different era, and Hoyer said he likes the organization’s progress in its larger plan.

“The moves we made, I feel really good about the health of the organization from a financial standpoint,” he said. “I feel really good about it from a prospecting young player standpoint. 

“Now we have to go out and play. The competitive part, that's printed in the newspaper every day. I'm excited to get going."

So far, so good.

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