Voluntary exclusion decisions, five-man rotation, DH plans, business deadline expectations, adding prospects, much more

Earlier today, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer and manager David Ross spoke to the media. It’s been a while since we heard from any of them about the overall state of the organization and plans for the 2020 season, so let’s not waste too much time. This is what they said.

• Hoyer believes that leaving payroll space was the right thing to do in serving the future flexibility of the big leagues (the Cubs used 50 of their 60 assigned spots), as Brett discussed earlier today. I will add that I have heard of other organizations planning to do the same for the same reason, which surely seems obvious in retrospect. Along these lines (but with a more than competitive approach to development), the Cubs will consider adding prospects to the South Bend roster eventually, but not until there is a little more comfort with the roster they have put together. At the moment, MLB depth is the team’s priority.

• In case you missed it, two Cubs staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, but to date, no Cubs player has. Of course, only a handful have been tried so far, with most of the guys traveling this week, so that’s not the good news that seems at first glance. That said, most Cubs players will soon be evaluated:

• For now, let’s hope for the best and see what happens.

• In that regard, no Cubs player has yet indicated any desire to unsubscribe from the season, as some of their peers in the league have. I’m happy to hear that for personal, fan-related reasons, but I’m also fully ready to support each and every player, coach, or staff who decides not to participate this season (as everyone should). As expected, the Cubs also hope to respect and support any player who does.

• Returning to the roster, the Cubs have no short-term plans to add to that pool of 50 players from outside the organization, although, as always, they will try to stay nimble when it comes to adding pieces to the puzzle. . There are some interesting free agents left in the market, but let’s not forget what off season we just came out of. If the Cubs weren’t spending before, they’re certainly not going to be aggressive now, even if the luxury tax isn’t necessarily as big a deal in the future as it might have been before.

• Manager David Ross stepped in to discuss his expected emphasis on MLB safety protocols, which is good to hear. He will be a leader in that clubhouse, and perhaps the entire league, and the seriousness with which he enforces these rules will be followed by those in his charge.

• Reliever Brad Wieck, who made his presence known with his performance at the end of his final season, is “ready to start” this year, following his heart procedure in February. Hoyer hopes to find out more later this week about the status of the rest of the team.

• Hoyer discussed the importance of a quick start, which is obvious but also literally truer than ever, especially with the unknowable nature of the August 31 business deadline: “I think it is too early to tell. I just don’t think we know what this will be like. ”

• I, Michael, have been going back and forth on the potential move by the deadline, bouncing between “there’s no way someone is giving up anything of value” and “well, a closing closer can still win the postseason, so maybe that guy will retain his value, “but it comes down to how much each organization, both intrinsically and financially, values ​​winning the World Series this year. If it’s the same as always, well, then, if you need a closer, you need a closer, but maybe you’re less likely to chase the “Nick Castellanos” of the world, who is there to help you. get As of October, don’t win it. If, on the contrary, the teams think that winning the 2020 World Series is much less important than usual, then those exchanges will not be there.

• For what it’s worth, Ross wants to win:

• Ross became a bit more specific about how the Cubs can use DH this year, although there were not many surprises in his response: “I think we have that much depth in that area, be it Kyle and Souza or Vic and Willson Those are the four most obvious options, with the occasional break for Anthony Rizzo (and his back), so calm on the north front. Ross noted the importance of keeping the boys cool in a 60-game sprint, and hinted who has discussed this decision with Schwarber, in particular:

• With his arm in the garden and the other Potential efficiencies that can be had, I certainly hope the Cubs don’t put Schwarber in a strict DH role. It is not the best use of your talents, the new position or the list in general. Period. Naturally, Schwarber told Ross that he is ready to do as he is asked.

• Ross also talked about wanting to see his team as soon as possible, despite the positive comments since spring training closed. Specifically, he wants to get some early bullpen sessions and simulated games soon.

• There is no plan to move to a six-man rotation as of now and the use of a “starter” has not been discussed. I am happy with both decisions, for long-term reasons to enter at this time. Continuing with the rotation, Ross has not decided on his first opening day, noting he has not “seen my players” yet. Yes Understandable. I guess if everyone is healthy it’s Yu Darvish on opening day (remember it was between him and Hendricks in late spring) and Tyler Chatwood to complete the rotation.

• That said, Ross is still planning to shoot with Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo at the top of the order, and is still determined to stick with a more established lineup on a day-to-day basis.

• Hoyer hopes the Cubs will take advantage of their 3 exhibition games at this “Summer Camp,” and while the White Sox are the logical opponent for those games, there is still nothing to announce on that front.

• David Ross, who went from being a nomadic backup receiver, to a Chicago hero, to a Dancing with the Stars player, to a baseball analyst, to a manager for the first time, to missing his first training game of spring with the flu, to manage your team during a pandemic with completely new rules in every league … think it will be weird to drive in front of a crowd without fans at Wrigley Field: