I haven’t seen the vibe of a Cubs offseason change this quickly and dramatically since the Cubs signed Jon Lester back in December of 2014. Obviously, that was in the opposite direction.
- Last Monday, the winter meetings were just getting started, the Cubs were on the precipice of signing Jameson Taillon and Cody Bellinger (fine moves), there was talk of ownership green-lighting increased spending, and even rumors of the Cubs landing MULTIPLE free agent shortstops, to say nothing of a huge upgrade behind the plate.
- One week later, and off the board were potential Cubs targets Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Kodai Senga, Christian Vázquez, Chris Bassitt, Andrew Heaney, Sean Manaea, Ross Stripling, Mike Zunino, and Sean Murphy. Oh and both the Brewers and Cardinals added a Contreras-Brother.
- The real kick-in-the-pants, of course, was Carlos Correa signing with the San Francisco Giants for 13 years and $350M last night. Before that, we at least got to pretend that one of the winter’s top free agents — a PERFECT fit for the Cubs in age, position, and projected performance, particular on offense — was still a possibility. But nope. It wasn’t to be.
- You can see the initial writeup of the deal and all of my thoughts here. Meanwhile, I thought Brett and Bryan had some very useful thoughts.
- Bingo, Bryan. What is the plan? What exactly are we doing, here? We used to know, which helped make sense of the stuff we maybe didn’t like to see. But now, we’re just flying blind, and it makes everything worse. Also making everything worse? The Cubs letting that “Tom Ricketts has opened the checkbook” rumor/narrative get out. What a flop that was.
- Anyway, that $350M guarantee was the fourth largest in MLB history, behind only Mike Trout ($426.5M), Mookie Betts ($365M), and Aaron Judge ($360M). It was otherwise the largest ever for a shortstop, beating Francisco Lindor ($341M).
- And while I get that some of you look at 13 years and balk at the commitment, don’t forget that, at a certain point, the added time is a benefit for the team. That lets them effectively defer payments and lower the CBT impact. And as for the money, well, sure, it’s a lot but … they can’t ALL be overpays. At some point, you just have to accept that’s the cost of doing business. You want a superstar, you’re going to have to pay for one. And this offseason, with soaring revenues and labor peace, teams are ready and willing to spend more than ever. Well, other teams.
- As for what comes next, well … I guess we turn our attention to Dansby Swanson, who has the unfortunate title of guy we wanted fourth most (in a group of four). Swanson would still be a very important pickup, no doubt, and it does sound like the Cubs remain involved.
- In fact, they’ve been connected to Swanson more than pretty much any other team lately, but the field remains wide. The Red Sox and Dodgers were also recently connected, and it’s not like the Twins didn’t want Correa until last night. One thing’s clear, Swanson is going to get PAID. Much more than anyone thought he was going to get back in November. JD actually got into that a bit on Marquee a couple days ago.
- I’m sure there will be much more market fallout in the coming hours. So let’s just leave it there for now. As a reminder, and before we move on, here’s who’s left (and good):
- Jon Greenberg has an interesting article at The Athletic wondering “what kind of Cubs team” Willson Contreras will return to face this summer?
- I want to be so much more hyped about this than I am right now. I’m usually better at compartmentalizing.
- Don’t worry about any of this, though. Our AI overlords are on their way.
- Old friend James Norwood has signed a minor league deal with the Yankees.
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