We are at the lull between Major League Baseball contests, where winter leagues are not always accessible to the lay person, where we sit just under 100 days until spring training and 140ish days from Opening Day. While the GM meetings go forward in Vegas, we’ve already gotten a few snippets of what the Cubs are likely to do (at least what they’re willing to spew to reporters) that may make our ideal offseason more of a pipe dream after all.
I still think the Cubs will sign some rotation help, since they have proven capable of building a bullpen on the fly, but someone still has to eat five or six innings before going through the gauntlet. The Cubs have been connected to Japanese pitcher Kodai Senga, who is also getting perceived interest from many other clubs. If the crowdsourced contract is right, the Cubs have no reason not to acquire his services.
Even with Jason Heyward’s expiring contract and arbitration raises still on the payroll, if the Cubs land Senga, they still have around $100MM to play with before they skirt up against the first luxury tax threshold, and they should spend some of it for sure because the offense last year was abysmal. Along with pretty much everyone else, I anticipate Willson Contreras is gone despite how much I’d love him to stay. And when I look on the free agent list, I keep saying to myself that the Cubs should just sign one of the big name shortstops already.
That’s easier said than done, partly because it isn’t my money, and partly because the signals being given off by the Cubs to their reporter buddies is that they’re not going to commit to huge long-term contracts, at least not on the surface.
The Cubs will be involved in the deep end of the big-name shortstop market this winter, but they have no appetite for another Jason Heyward-length contract — and probably not even a contract for a year or two less than his eight-year deal. Especially given the fact that all of the Big 4 free agent shortstops are 28 or older. Look for maybe a five-year offer for Trea Turner or Xander Bogaerts. The Cubs are said to be a serious player for Carlos Correa, too, but sources, perhaps obviously, say he’s seeking the lengthiest deal of the group, and that Cubs interest may wane in proportion to the number of years he seeks.From Gordo
My first impression is that such a sentiment is incredibly cheap (when in reference to a team that should be swimming in money even if they cry poor), and my second impression is that it’s really stupid. Given the lack of other plausible bats on the market and what value the big three shortstops can provide in at least the first chunk of their contracts, if the Cubs want to be competitive, they will have to pony up. Even with a revamped rotation, the team needs to score runs to win games, and we can’t realistically expect a shutout or quality start every time up. There is a possibility that these guys will get caught up in massive bidding wars, although you never know if the owners and front offices are in double secret collusion.
The Cubs’ default position should be to maximize their available funds and ensure they land at least a Carlos Correa (no qualifying offer, and the youngest option available). They can do some fancy accounting if they need to, but this needs to happen or else the offense is most likely going to be mediocre, barring some major trades that I doubt will happen because they did just restock the farm.
Cubs Convention tickets go on sale soon, so hopefully they make it worthwhile for the fans to actually show up to both the winter festival and to actual games.