He’s gone. The Cubs’ best shot at landing an impact bat this offseason – at a position that would improve the team defensively at two spots – is headed to San Francisco. And on a massive deal.
We knew – after big total commitments for Trea Turner and (especially) Xander Bogaerts – that Carlos Correa was going to require a contract out of the typical comfort zone for most organizations, and that’s exactly what this is. The $26.9M average annual value isn’t massive by any stretch (and follows the offseason pattern of lengthier-than-expected deals), but the $350M total dollar commitment is up there with some of the highest in baseball history (fourth largest in MLB history, as a matter of fact).
Outside of our blind hope/desire, and despite their enormous level of income relative to most teams in MLB, the Chicago Cubs haven’t shown any willingness to approach *anything close* to that level of spending.
Now, they’re only remaining chance to sign an impact free agent shortstop is Dansby Swanson, who’s generally considered to be the least attractive of the four (who were) available this winter. He should be the cheapest, though.
Then again, even with the Giants, Padres, and Phillies out of the way, Swanson still has a LOT of suitors.
I used up so much of my anger these past few days (as we watched Chris Bassitt, Kodai Senga, Christian Vázquez, and Sean Murphy all get acquired at very reasonable costs), so I don’t have much left to offer. This really, really stinks. In this moment, I feel pretty let down by the Cubs. We’ll talk about it more tomorrow. Beyond that, I’ll throw some fallout info below as it drips out tonight.
Random thought: I guess that last minute “Oh no! Here comes Steve Cohen and the Mets” really was just leverage, from Correa/Scott Boras against the Giants. It forced SF to over the top, and here we are.
UPDATE I: The Twins made an offer that was higher in average annual value, but less in total years by a lot. Correa went for the mega deal. No surprises there. Good effort by the Twins though.
UPDATE II: I keep thinking about Jed Hoyer’s atypical and very clearly expressed reluctance to go long on deals this offseason … and how that’s such an unnecessary, self-inflicted roadblock. The Cubs have now missed on Carlos Correa twice (last offseason and this year) under that philosophy, and he’s just the latest in a LONG line of young, superstar free agents that have passed the Cubs by.
UPDATE III: At a certain point, if everything looks like an “overpay,” maybe none of it is. Maybe that’s just the cost of business at a time of sustained labor peace and soaring revenues. Oh, and another thing: Saving money this offseason for next year doesn’t really make a lot of sense. The two best options, Shohei Ohtani and Rafael Devers may not even be available. There is already talk of the Red Sox pursuing an extension with Devers, and if Ohtani does manage to make it to free agency, the Dodgers are already circling.
UPDATE IV: I do still hope the Cubs sign Dansby Swanson, for what that’s worth. He is a great player and you have to start getting great players at some point, regardless of “fit.” But I do fear that it’ll cost much more than it probably should, and he won’t likely impact the lineup in a meaningful enough way.
UPDATE V: If you add in the $35.1M Correa made with the Twins last season, it’s like he got a 14-year, $385 million deal last offseason. How much do you want to bet he would have accepted MUCH less than that last year if the Cubs had offered? In other words, I bet, if they could, they’d go back in time and offer him 10/$325M. It’s not quite that simple, but … still.