Lester Helped Land Swanson, 40-Man Moves Soon, McCann Traded, Taillon Contract Details, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Lester Helped Land Swanson, 40-Man Moves Soon, McCann Traded, Taillon Contract Details, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The winter storm and freeze situation is kinda scary, and I hope everyone impacted will be OK. We are cancelling some family travel plans for Friday juuuuust in case we would get stuck somewhere off the road in sub-zero temperatures.

  • A housekeeping matter on the now-official Dansby Swanson signing: the Cubs’ 40-man roster is full. So, making the Drew Smyly re-signing official is going to require someone getting the boot, and ditto any other additions thereafter. I expect that the Cubs are discussing trades out there, if possible, but are otherwise trying to time any moves to when they think they have the best chance of sneaking someone through waivers.
  • Jon Lester just keeps on helping out the Cubs. It turns out the Cubs sent a production crew to Lester’s house in Georgia to create a video package where Lester explained to Swanson why he took the leap with the Cubs when he did, what he appreciated about the organization, etc (The Athletic). It is a logical connection, both geographically and in terms of a star player having to be sold on joining a team that is trying to turn the corner.
  • (You may recall that it was reported Lester did something similar for the Cubs on their Xander Bogaerts pursuit, but hey, this one worked!)
  • It turns out the Braves never did budge up from their six-year, $100-ish million offer to Dansby Swanson:
  • That’s according to Anthopoulos, mind you, so we might not know just how much less Swanson would’ve taken to stay in Atlanta. But the Braves drew a hard line because they are looking down the road at where the budget is going – think of all the players they have locked up (which is a great thing, but it does limit your future flexibility somewhat if you keep signing everybody). Anthopoulos also pointed to shortstop prospect Vaughn Grissom as part of the reason the Braves had to be comfortable drawing a firm line on Swanson.
  • Of course, Anthopoulos was still highly complimentary of Swanson, and I appreciated this note in the Q&A:

He defines what it is to have “intangibles,” right?

No doubt. And it’s real, it’s authentic, it’s sincere. It just comes so naturally for him. Guys follow him, he leads; it’s not contrived. He lives his life that way each day. Look at the different places he hit in the lineup — eighth, seventh, second. Some guys are very particular about where they hit in the order, and sometimes it becomes a political thing. Not once in my five years with Dansby Swanson did I ever hear one gripe, one complaint, about where he hit in the lineup or what he was doing. He always had really thoughtful ideas, where it was about our defensive positioning or the roster. It was never about himself. I don’t think he came to me one time with something about himself.

  • As you might have anticipated, Steve Cohen’s latest wild spending spree has ALREADY started the hostilities behind the scenes among smaller market owners who see him as wrecking the system and flaunting the CBA’s intent for competitive balance. There is, as always, good debate about what owners could afford to do, but the reality is that many of them will never, ever spend aggressively enough to prevent the big disparity. And a 2026 CBA fight between big and small-market owners is already teed up. Neat!
  • The Mets traded catcher James McCann last night to the Orioles for just $5 million in salary relief (though, recall, that winds up being $9.5 million of relief to them because of the 90% top tier of the luxury tax):
  • My reaction is mainly that it seems like the Orioles just got a heckuva good back-up catcher for two years and $5 million. I know McCann had partial no-trade rights, but it’s a mild surprise that no other teams (including the Cubs) were in at that price level. Maybe it means the guys they’re looking at are (1) not much more expensive, and (2) rate better to them internally on those soft factors.
  • In my opinion, the Giants should agree to a deal with him, and then the Cubs should actually sign him thereafter:
  • The particulars on the Jameson Taillon contract features the Cubs’ typical approach to kinda-deferring-but-not-totally-deferring:
  • The backloading there may have a TINY amount to do with all the money coming off the books after this season, but I tend to think in these situations it is always just about the time value of money – better to pay a guy a million next year rather than this year, if you have the choice.

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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.