Obsessive Top Shortstop Watch: “I will be very surprised if the Cubs do not add one of the big four superstar shortstops”

Even when there are FOUR of a free agent target, I just can’t let myself assume it’s going to happen for the Chicago Cubs.

The math of it certainly favors them if, as Jon Heyman indicated this morning, the Cubs really are treating the shortstop market – Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson – as their primary focus right now. You might be able to come up with, say, eight teams or so that are seriously in that market at a realistic price level, so hey, Cubs should have at least a 50% shot, right? And if they push just a little bit harder than the other teams, maybe it gets to 60%!

Eh, I’m not actually sure it works that way, and even if it did, I’d still be highly nervous until the ink was actually dry. The emotional swings of fandom do not always lend themselves well to being rational.

Anyway, I mention all that because, although I might be guarding any lingering optimism in my heart about this offseason – I just don’t want to be crushed! – at least one pundit ain’t being shy about what he thinks happens for the Cubs:

Very surprised if the Cubs don’t land one of them. That means Jon Morosi is operating on an assumption, at the moment, that it is overwhelmingly likely that the Cubs DO add one of these shortstops. Can we call that 80%? 90%? Do we buy it?

As for the substance of Morosi’s comments, he was primarily asked about the Cubs and Dansby Swanson, specifically. Morosi opened with the general comments above, about being very surprised if the Cubs don’t get one. But then he addressed Swanson by explaining that *IF* Swanson leaves Atlanta, the Cubs would be appealing for at least a couple reasons: (1) Swanson and Cubs GM Carter Hawkins are both Vanderbilt alums, so there is a connection there; and (2) Swanson’s fiancĂ©e plays for the Chicago Red Stars.

I think we could debate how much stock to put into those connections, but I would personally land on: it’s really hard to know how important those factors are to Swanson. I don’t know him at a human level, so I couldn’t say for sure. Probably doesn’t hurt, but only if the money is in the same ballpark as other offers.

As for Swanson and the Cubs, I know that this sense has developed that he’s the clear number four option in this shortstop group. I don’t disagree, but I think it’s worth pointing out that being fourth in THIS group hardly means you aren’t a compelling free agent. I think Swanson has to be evaluated on his own merits and the fit with the Cubs, and he would be a very strong addition. Would I prefer Correa, even at a much, much higher price tag? Yes. But it’s not as if I can’t see Swanson being a valuable player on the Cubs for many years to come. They just might have to use the “savings” to keep on improving the roster elsewhere and make up the expected performance difference. More on Swanson and the Cubs here.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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