Trending Toward Average, Swanson Preferred Cubs, Cohen and Correa, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Trending Toward Average, Swanson Preferred Cubs, Cohen and Correa, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs still have a lot of work to do from where I sit – they are definitely trending toward average, at least! – but this is where I see the possible, realistic, optimistic outcome by Spring Training:

A good, but not great offense;

A solid and deep, but not top-tier, starting staff;

A basically always fine bullpen (also very deep); and

An exceptionally good defense.

If they pull that off – need another quality bat or two, probably another starting pitcher, and a bullpen addition or two – then I could see the Cubs projecting as an above-average team by March. Not WAY above-average, mind you, but above an 81-win projection. My long-stated (again, realistic) hope for the start of 2023 is that the Cubs would have an on-paper roster that projected for at least 85 wins. That’s the range you need to be to have a decent shot at ranging your way up into the upper 80s by September, and actually making the postseason. I’m not sure they’re going to get to an 85-win projection, but I could see a path to being close.

And other Bullets …

  • Per Jon Heyman, the Twins were seriously in on Dansby Swanson late, but “they sensed later Swanson preferred Cubs.” Obviously there is the connection to the city with his wife playing on the Chicago Red Stars, but I’d like to hope it was also a sense by Swanson that the Cubs had clearly laid out the path to competing right away, and for years to come. I’d like to think they got him to buy in to a vision (because, frankly, I want that vision to be true!).
  • Jon Morosi says the Swanson signing is the moment the Cubs say, yes, we’re back in contention:
  • I might not go quite as far as Morosi on the phrasing, but I would say that it’s obvious to me that the Cubs wouldn’t sign Swanson at this time if they weren’t aiming to compete in 2023. They aren’t maxing it out for 2023, but, as I discussed above, they are pretty clearly laying the groundwork to give themselves a much better shot than they did in 2022.
  • Steve Cohen and the Mets really did try to sign Carlos Correa. It wasn’t just a media frenzy spurred by a big market, an active agent, and mere market tactics. Cohen spoke with the New York Post about their efforts to land Correa, who would’ve had to play third base, and it involved a $300 million offer. The mind reels at just how large Cohen is willing to expand the payroll. Remember, every dollar added now is just about another additional dollar in luxury tax, so Correa would’ve cost the Mets like $50-$60 million for 2023 alone. They could’ve been trending toward a total payroll cost of $450-$500 million! That’s wild.
  • I guess Cohen does have a limit, though, since he drew the line on Correa at $300 million? Nevertheless, I think we’re coming to understand that literally nothing – no matter how expensive, how roster-ill-fitting – will be off the table from Mets consideration going forward.
  • well, except making obvious trades at the deadline to supplement a World Series contender.
  • The final luxury tax numbers for 2022 are going to be out soon, and these are expected to be the teams over the first tier:
  • Gonna need to follow Lee this season to get a sense of what kind of free agency he could have:
  • If you’re hoping to get any Obvious Shirts as gifts for Christmas, you can still order today with a guarantee that it gets shipped in time for Christmas:
  • I’m not sure I’ve ever seen nearly simultaneous reports that have the contract details SO DIFFERENT from each other. Turner is getting either $15 million in 2023 (and then a SUPER cheap player option), or maybe it’s $14 million and $8 million, or maybe he’s getting just $8.3 million in 2023 (and then a slightly pricier player option). The three reports don’t even agree on the total amount of the deal! I have to assume the reason is that there are some complexities tied to the option and a buyout that play with the numbers, because this is weird.
  • Times are not great in Chicago sports, but I could argue that things are going borderline perfectly for the Bears, who got another outstanding performance from Justin Fields (with NO receiving help) against the best team in the league (great defense, too, from a banged up unit) … but also lost and are in very good position:

META: If you’ve noticed your comments not showing up or disappearing, or if you see a ban notice that you think ain’t right, it’s because there is a Disqus bug happening right now. I am seeing TONS of comments auto-flagged as spam when they are just, you know, you guys making regular comments. I’m doing my best to fix and whitelist, but it’s just one of those Disqus problems that might take a minute to shake out. In the meantime, SOME folks have had success doing the ole log-out-and-clear-the-cookies-and-cache trick.

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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.