Obsessive Top Shortstop Watch: Turner Taken, Cubs On the Other Three, Sneaky Teams, More

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Obsessive Top Shortstop Watch: Turner Taken, Cubs On the Other Three, Sneaky Teams, More

Chicago Cubs

Gotta re-set my brain space on this one, because I got halfway through the post and then the Phillies signed Trea Turner. KINDA changes the landscape on an Obsessive Top Shortstop Watch.

Like I said in that post, the Cubs weren’t seen as in on Turner as much as the other three shortstops, while the Phillies were definitely his most-rumored destination. So this doesn’t negatively impact the market for the Cubs, and I would add that the contract won’t hurt it either. Although Turner got a good guarantee ($300 million is a lot of money!), there’s now a little ammo in place for the Cubs and other teams to argue that none of the shortstops in this class should get a higher AAV than Turner’s $27.27 million. I don’t think that’s a WINNING argument, but they’ll make it, and it could wind up pushing the AAVs down in the process.

Elsewhere in the shortstop market, which could plausibly stay hot from here, though I’m not certain any of the other three were strictly waiting on Turner or the Phillies …

  • In a column (appropriately) cajoling the Cubs to sign one of the shortstops, Gordon Wittenmyer writes: “Despite recent rumors about Dansby Swanson (who would still leave a sizable need for a big bat), sources say the Cubs are among a lot of teams in on Red Sox free agent Xander Bogaerts and still very much in on Carlos Correa.” Note that this was before Turner signed.

To what extent the Cubs are willing to commit future financial resources likely will guide whom they most aggressively pursue among Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson. Correa and Bogaerts offer the most consistent offensive track records and star power, while Swanson’s defense and potentially being the least costly option make him attractive.

Bogaerts, 30, and Swanson, 28, have emerged as the focus of the Cubs’ interest. Bogaerts’ offensive production — 133 OPS+ over the last five seasons with the Boston Red Sox — would provide an immediate boost to the lineup.

Swanson presents a bigger defensive upgrade; pairing him with Nico Hoerner at second base could create a strong pairing up the middle. Although Swanson has posted an OPS+ of more than 100 only twice in his last six seasons with the Atlanta Braves, the Cubs believe they would be able to tap into more production from his bat.

  • The Cubs believe they can tap into more production from Swanson, eh? That’s a specific thing for a Chicago beat to note, which to me adds to the credibility of the various Swanson-related rumors. That is to say, it tells me the Cubs have very seriously considered Swanson, and how his offensive performance would be impacted in their organization. His still is definitely a good fit for Wrigley Field, but overall he projects to be only a touch above average offensively going forward (rather than the 116 wRC+ he posted this past season, with a big assist from a likely-inflated BABIP).
  • Jon Morosi dropped a couple big rumors on MLB Network, saying that the Diamondbacks might be sneaky in on Xander Bogaerts, and the Cardinals are quiet, but definitely involved in the shortstop market:
  • Note that the Cubs are still in there, as they are now in virtually any discussion of the shortstop market. And they’ve met with them all:
  • Speaking of which, Joel Sherman was also on MLB Network and said the Cubs “very much” want to land one of the shortstops (ditto the Phillies, which hey, that one happened!). He also said the Padres remain a stealth team in the mix.
  • Ken Rosenthal was discussing the Phillies and Padres in connection to Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts before Turner signed with the Phillies, so I suppose you wonder then if that means the Padres might get more aggressive for Bogaerts. Rosenthal also mentions the very high income tax in California as a hurdle, which suggests to me that an agent or a player has brought that up. (The overall tax burden in Illinois ain’t great either, but nobody tell the free agents.)

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.