With one new post-lockout prediction having Carlos Correa going to the Cubs, it was already fun to start dreaming again this morning. But only dreaming. It’s still highly unlikely that the Cubs go to the level necessary to land Correa.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 11, 2022
Perhaps most intriguingly, the Chicago Cubs are poised to play a major role in the courtship of Correa as the baseball industry bursts back to life.
The Cubs were among the teams that had the heaviest dialogue with Correa’s camp in the hours before the lockout began in early December, and there is every reason to believe those conversations will resume.
While the Cubs weren’t a popular pick to land the superstar shortstop last fall, there’s a logical fit between the parties.
The Cubs have the payroll flexibility to add a significant multiyear contract. Jason Heyward’s contract expires after the 2023 season, and newly signed starter Marcus Stroman is the team’s only player under contract beyond ’23. The Cubs’ bandwidth to add a superstar is further enhanced by the fact that Kris Bryant, Javier Báez and Anthony Rizzo were traded away last summer rather than extended.
From there, Morosi goes on to discuss the reasons Correa makes sense as a fit in the near and long-term, and also how the Cubs are not the only suitor. Obviously.
Your main takeaway here, though, is that the Cubs were (1) among the teams with the “heaviest dialogue” with Correa’s camp before the lockout, and (2) that is expected to continue (presumably it would have started last night). We had heard reports that the Cubs and Correa had “mutual interest” before the lockout, so this all tracks.
There is one big difference between then and now, though: Correa switched agents to Scott Boras during the lockout. That doesn’t mean it would be any more or less difficult to sign Correa, mind you, only that the previous dialogues weren’t with Correa’s current agency. So it might take a little more time to work through things if the Cubs do in fact re-engage.
One other major note from Morosi? While we knew Correa previously rejected a 10-year, $275M offer from the Tigers before the lockout, the deal was even sweeter than that: it not only came with three(!) opt-outs, it also came with a bonus provision that would’ve given him an additional $10M *EACH TIME* he finished in the top five in MVP voting. It still isn’t the deal Corey Seager got – 10 years and $325 million guaranteed – but it’s not a bad offer.
With Boras now in tow, it’s a lock that Correa will be waiting patiently to top not only the previous offer, but also that Seager deal. That, again, is where I have my doubts about the Cubs, even with the need, the financial flexibility, and the fit. But it sounds like they’ll be talking!