I would say there were at least two reasons why, when I started thinking about the EXTREMELY REMOTE chance that the Cubs could pull a Rangers and sign two of the top shortstops, I was thinking it would be Dansby Swanson and Xander Bogaerts (which wound up being the rumor last night).
For one thing, among the four top shortstops, theirs are expected to be the lowest price tags. Still quite high! But lower than Trea Turner and Carlos Correa, and that makes signing them both seem slightly more plausible.
For another thing, since no one disagrees that Swanson’s spot is going to be shortstop wherever he goes, the other signed shortstop would have to become not a shortstop. And among the four free agents, the one who was already getting some talk about a move to third or second base in the near future was Bogaerts. Maybe Correa or Turner would eventually have to move, too, but that wasn’t really on anyone’s radar. Heck, Correa won the Platinum Glove at shortstop in 2021.
But what if.
What if the Cubs got so greedy – so deliciously, devilishly greedy – that they tried to convince Correa to play third base, and signed him and Swanson? All due love to Bogaerts, but that would be a next level on top of something that was already extremely next level.
I tend to think it’s impossible, and it’s far more likely that the Cubs’ efforts with the shortstops are about making sure they land at least one (and maaaaaybe the Swanson-Bogaerts combo could happen (5% chance?)). But if someone says it’s possible, I ain’t gonna totally close the door:
Gordon Wittenmyer reports that Carlos Correa is the Cubs’ Plan A at shortstop (yes!), with Dansby Swanson as the Plan B – or a combo:
Or maybe they go after both? That’s what the Rangers did last year by signing free agent shortstops Corey Seager and Marcus Semien to contracts worth a combined $500 million.
If that sounds crazy, especially after the Rangers’ pitching left them a flopping mess this season, consider that NBC Sports Chicago’s Dave Kaplan reported late Monday night that Ricketts ownership issued a mandate to Hoyer to go big this winter to turn the team around — that he has the “green light” from the family to spend what he needs for the players he wants.
A mandate to go big. That certainly sounds like an opportunity for a front office to get greedy, no?
And not to forget: we know the Cubs are serious in their courtship of Xander Bogaerts, having broken out the big guns to recruit him. Maybe that means he’s the Plan C, or maybe it means that the Cubs want as many of these shortstops as they can get! (Probably stopping at two … )
Wittenmyer’s article, by the way, doesn’t mention Bogaerts at all. Curious, no?
Anyway, I am no longer mentally ruling out the SLIM possibility of a Swanson/Correa combo, about which we know nothing of Correa’s willingness to move to third base. I just like that it’s theoretically on the table, much like Swanson/Bogaerts.
All of this is a reminder: I’d be happy for the Cubs to land anyone ONE of these options, though if it’s Swanson, there is still going to need to be a serious impact bat addition (or two). Hence why this combo stuff is even on the table in the first place – Correa and Bogaerts, regardless of position, are two of the best bats on the market.