I was in the middle of writing this one up when word broke that the Yankees were re-signing Aaron Judge, which throws everything for a loop for reasons I’ll get into at the bottom. But as you start reading, just know that I know the possible impact, and I’m getting to it.
So, last night Jon Morosi reported that Dansby Swanson was the guy to watch for the Cubs on the shortstop market, saying that Swanson is the most likely one to wind up on the Cubs.
Overnight, Patrick Mooney seemed to concur, writing, “That focus on pitching and defense also includes Gold Glove shortstop Dansby Swanson, a free agent who remains firmly on the team’s radar.”
No mention of Carlos Correa or Xander Bogaerts in that “looking ahead” section. Just Swanson.
But Gordon Wittenmyer is hearing it differently. Very differently. Not only does Wittenmyer hear that the interest in Xander Bogaerts is more “tire-kicking” than anything else, he hears that Correa is the real priority. And that the Cubs have made progress on that front, while still having interest in Swanson (via NBCSC):
And sources suggest they’re as deeply involved in trying to land [Correa] as anyone this side of the Twins — despite a price tag widely assumed to be bigger than Turner’s as the youngest (28) of the four big-name shortstops and the only one of the group not tied to a qualifying offer and the consequent draft-pick compensation ….
The Cubs are well down the road with Correa, a player they’ve coveted since an eye-popping workout at Wrigley Field before he was drafted No. 1 overall by the Astros in 2012. And they’re talking seriously with Atlanta free agent Dansby Swanson as at least a possible Plan B (while the Ricketts mandate lends credence to reports suggesting they could be in play for both).
Set aside the long-shot hope about landing both Swanson and Correa for now, and instead focus on the reporting that the Cubs are “well down the road” with Correa. That is some powerful language there, which suggests it’s reached a point where offers have already been exchanged. Maybe the negotiations are even more back-and-forth than that already.
If that sounds crazy, it shouldn’t – after Trea Turner signed with the Phillies, The Athletic reported that the Cubs had made him an offer. So they are already in the mode of trying to land these guys. Moreover, Wittenmyer hears that there could be more movement on the shortstop market in a matter of days or even faster. Scott Boras says he has multiple offers coming in on Correa and Bogaerts in the last few days, and it just kinda all points to the situation being very serious. So if there was a time to be “well down the road” with a preferred target, it better be right now.
I wonder if Correa talks get very, very serious today. That doesn’t mean the Cubs are going to get him, mind you. A team and a player’s rep can be “well down the road” but never quite agree on terms. Or, an agent could use those very talks as leverage with another team. So be guarded with your heart.
But now I have to circle back to the top. The Judge thing. The Giants-missing-out-on-Judge thing.
Another reason things might get very hot on Correa today is because there have been reports that, if they missed out on Judge, the Giants would go very hard after Carlos Correa. You better believe Scott Boras is pressing the Giants as we speak about quickly pivoting from one big-bat star to another.
And then the pressure could be quickly on the Cubs (and/or the Twins – don’t forget about them) to really step up to close it, depending on where Correa most prefers to land. We just saw Judge possibly use the Giants to get a maximum offer, which the Yankees then matched. It’s conceivable the same might happen with Correa, and we’ll see just how aggressively the Cubs are actually willing to spend.