Sunday, August 14, 2022

REPORT: Cubs Were In Contact With Carlos Correa Prior to Lockout


It’s funny how the order of events can really change your perception and expectations for things to follow. A day ago, there was no way you could seriously discuss the Cubs signing free agent shortstop Carlos Correa. However, that was before the Cubs signed Marcus Stroman to a three-year, $71 million contract that includes an opt-out after the 2023 season.

Not only did the Cubs add a good pitcher, but they essentially did it by also keeping the same financial flexibility. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the term “financial flexibility” because realistically the Cubs should be able to sign whoever they want, whenever they want. But hey, I get it, that isn’t the world we live in. Yet, it matters more now because unlike three years ago, the Cubs have plenty of money to spend and lots of room on the roster to fill.

Even if you add Stroman to that equation, the payroll still wouldn’t exceed $50 million as of now for 2024.

The Cubs completely punted on the Manny Machado and Bryce Harper sweepstakes following the 2018 season. This time around, it at least appears the Cubs are making somewhat of an effort to go after the top free agent position player available.

Shortly after Stroman broke his own signing there was a report coming out of Houston, indicating the Cubs have been in contact with Carlos Correa.

Hey, one of six teams linked to Correa may not seem like a big deal, but we’re talking about baby steps here. Remember, Stroman’s deal is the biggest free agent contract for the Cubs since Yu Darvish signed in Feb. 2018, nearly four years ago.

And yes, I understand that it’s coming from an agent and that agent’s job is to get as much interest for his client as possible to get the best deal as possible. Throwing out big market teams and connecting them to your client is smart no matter what.

But again, it feels different this time. It really does feel like the Cubs do have legitimate interest in Correa. I can’t guarantee you that they’ll go above and beyond to sign Correa, but unlike the 2018-19 offseason, the Ricketts’ checkbook should be wide open. The Cubs can’t use the excuse of not having “financial flexibility” as their current projected payroll sits at around $115 million compared to more than $200 million when Machado and Harper signed in 2019.

Since the offseason started there have been several bits of info from different sources saying the Cubs are keeping tabs on the free agent shortstop market. So yes, at this point I will give a little more credence when they are said to be in contact with one of them.

Prior to the lockout three of the top five free agent shortstops signed, as the Rangers inked Marcus Semien and Corey Seager to $175 million and $325 million contracts, respectively. Meanwhile, Javier Báez signed with the Tigers for six years and $140 million.

At 27-years-old and regarded as the top free agent this offseason, Correa will get at least $300 million from whatever team he signs with and will likely beat Seager’s contract.

The biggest contract in Cubs history belongs to Jason Heyward, who signed an eight-year, $184 million deal following the 2015 season. Since then? Not a lot from the Cubs when it comes to free agent position players.

To be fair, through the 2018 season there weren’t really many open spots in the lineup to add a position player. Heading into 2022 though? Again, a different story.

Yes, Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal is the middle-infield duo for the Cubs as of now, but why would you not want to add a proven, elite shortstop like Correa? Hoerner is much better defensively at second base and with his athleticism he could even get playing time in the outfield. As for Madrigal, he wouldn’t necessarily lose playing time with the DH coming to the National League and he’d still play second base with Hoerner moving to the outfield.

Or hey, how about Correa also playing third base?

What’s equally as good as financial flexibility? How about roster flexibility, where you have multiple good players that can play different positions? Yes please, I’d love that.

Unfortunately, we’re in the midst of a lockout in MLB and it could be several months before a new CBA is done. Until then, Cubs fans can think about Correa or other big moves and for the first time in a while, those hypotheticals won’t seem so crazy.

The outlook for the Cubs has changed, but how much? Well, plenty of time to talk about it and we started that discourse on the latest episode of the Pinwheels and Ivy Podcast. Check it out.

Pinwheels and Ivy Podcast on YouTube.
Pinwheels and Ivy Podcast on Apple.
Pinwheels and Ivy Podcast on Spotify.
Support Pinwheels and Ivy Podcast on Anchor. 

Chicago SportsNEWS
Recommended for you