There are so many free agent shortstop rumors flying around right now. So I’ve decided to collect and discuss them all in one place. Gotta clear out some tabs.
Cubs on Carlos Correa and Trea Turner
Let’s start with some good news. Jon Morosi was on MLB Network this afternoon, and really hammered home his belief that the Cubs are involved in the shortstop market, with a preference for the top two guys available:
“(The Cubs) are basically involved on all the main shortstops out there in free agency, they are broadly active in terms of what we can see with the shortstop market. Carlos Correa is on their list, Trea Turner is on their list, Xander Bogaerts is on their list, as is Dansby Swanson.
I think that the two main guys they’re showing the most interest in right now are Correa and Turner.”
I love it. At this point, there’s been an overwhelming volume of reports connecting the Cubs to the shortstop market. There’s really no mystery or concern remaining; Win or lose, they’re going to be involved.
Setting that aside, I think it’s especially good to hear that the Cubs are potentially most interested in Correa and Turner. While each has gotten their own Cubs connection in the past, the momentum had begun to shift to the more … affordable options over the past few weeks. And while I’d be happy with any of the four (really, I mean that), I would definitely prefer Correa or Turner.
But all of this is setting aside the best part, which came next. According to Morosi, the Cubs signing Correa is “the favorite right now … because of how clear that pairing is.”
Woo! That’s fun. To be sure, Morosi said something similar in the past, but this is a week later and also on the heels of (1) a local writer predicting Correa to the Cubs and (2) the betting odds believing the same. Good vibes, my friends.
Don’t forget, in addition to being the youngest shortstop of the bunch, Carlos Correa is not connected to draft pick compensation. That’s matters a lot to the Cubs.
Swanson or Bust for the Braves
In other good news, the Cubs’ field of competition for one of the shortstops might not be *quite* as bad as we once thought.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Brave signing a shortstop “other than Dansby Swanson” this offseason is “highly unlikely.” Rosenthal went onto explain Atlanta’s reluctance to commit “too high a percentage of their payroll” to any one player, knowing in future seasons “the salaries of their young players will rise.”
And this sentiment is shared by Braves beat writer David O’Brien.
The dual national/local reporting lends a little more credence to the news. And while the Braves could certainly still extend Swanson, the fact that they haven’t already certainly isn’t a good sign.
At a minimum, these reports give us a clear rooting interest: We want someone other than the Braves to sign Swanson, as it could take both his new team *and* the Braves out of the running for one of the other three shortstops, whom the Cubs seem to prefer anyway. In the past, the Dodgers have been heavily connected to Dansby Swanson. Do with that information what you will.
Seriously … The Phillies *and* Cardinals?!
And now the fun comes to a screeching halt.
Elaborating on a report from Jon Heyman (regarding the Phillies sudden interest in Xander Bogaerts), Tom Verducci goes out on a horrifying limb that both the Phillies *and* the Cardinals “will get one of these premier shortstops.”
Now, the question is … Do we buy it?
For the Phillies? Absolutely. The smoke between Philly and Turner is/was already so heavy, and there have now been multiple connections between them and Bogaerts, as well. They also have the money and positional need, and are in a clear window of contention — one they pried open with money for impact players, I might add.
For the Cardinals? Honestly? No I don’t. Call it wishful thinking, but I do not think the Cardinals are about to spend $280M+ on Carlos Correa or Trea Turner. Even Bogaerts feels like he’ll end up out of their comfort range. St. Louis just never hands out super long, pricey deals (extensions or free agency) and they RARELY wade into the deep-waters of free agency.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like the Cardinals don’t ALSO have the need – Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, and Adam Wainwright aren’t getting any younger, and the NL Central remains eminently winnable. But I just don’t see them spending money this way. I really hope I’m right.
Informing my belief? Derrick Goold via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “The description I got was related to Turner and Correa especially — the two shortstops aiming for and likely to get the biggest deals of that group. The Cardinals are hanging out on the edges to see where the market goes next.”
Hanging out on the edges isn’t particularly convincing. I’m not worried, yet.