The Correa Drama, the New Cubs Hitting Program, Sale on Sale, and Other Cubs Bullets

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The Correa Drama, the New Cubs Hitting Program, Sale on Sale, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I am heading to Chicago today to visit with Luis, so I may be a little more in-and-out than usual the next couple days. Send him your love from afar.

  • No official word on the Carlos Correa deal with the Mets yet. If you checked out for the holiday and missed the bombshell on Christmas Eve: after the Giants effectively backed out of their agreement with Correa because of concerns over his eight-year-old leg injury, the Mets have apparently raised the same concerns when doing their physical. Most out there expect that a deal will be worked out that will still land Correa with the Mets, but that’s not official just yet. And given what happened with the Giants and Mets, I wouldn’t rule anything out until the ink is dry.
  • You can admit it: you want to see one more wild turn. The drama is hypnotic. And other unnamed teams have reportedly checked in. As we discussed this weekend, though, it’s really hard to imagine some version of the deal not happening with the Mets after Steve Cohen talked openly about the signing. The problem is that if the Mets now go back on it, Correa’s market would be even MORE hammered – “look how excited Cohen was to sign you, and then even they backed out after your physical? oof … we can offer you $5” – and that’s the kind of unfairness that might wind up in a winnable grievance for Correa and Scott Boras.
  • Jordan Bastian did a Q&A with Nico Hoerner about the Cubs’ offseason, and it’s a great read for Hoerner’s perspective on what the Cubs have done, how excited he is to play with Dansby Swanson, and about the importance of having extreme pitching depth (Hoerner is very thoughtful!).
  • Something stray that stood out to me, though, is when Hoerner was asked about the new hitting coach (Dustin Kelly) and the added assistant hitting coaches, he hinted a bit at how the Cubs are thinking about their revamped hitting program:

On the Cubs’ new MLB hitting department structure, with multiple assistant hitting coaches under Kelly:

NH: “We’ll see how that plays out. I mean, I like the idea on paper of the player driving the process. You know, I think you can have the best information in the world, but if you don’t have trust and belief in what you’re doing, and feeling like you are in charge of your own path, then you’re probably not going to have a whole lot of a lot of faith in it when it’s just yourself in the box, you know? So if it ends up being a situation where guys are able to feel comfortable to use our endless resources to whatever they need, then that’s great. We have no shortage of good minds and people around, and I think it’s finding the right structure to make the most of that and have players confident in whatever they are working on. So excited to see how that works out.”

  • Players leading their own process is really interesting to me, not only because of what Hoerner pointed out (makes it easier to get the players to buy in, even if it might be slightly limiting), but also because it would explain why the Cubs want to have FOUR hitting coaches available. The more you personalize and allow each individual player to drive his own hitting development in the big leagues, the more coaches – and more types of personalities – you’ll need available to make that work.
  • Also? That kind of player-driven philosophy sounds a whole lot like what we’ve heard from co-minor league hitting coordinator Rachel Folden on how the Cubs have started to do things at the minor league level. So, in turn, hearing Hoerner describe it that way is also emblematic of how the Cubs have been seeking to harmonize the instruction/development process that takes place in the minors and in the big leagues. The Cubs want it to all just be one long, consistent, smooth track.
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  • We’ll see if this actually becomes anything, but it reads to me like a team that REALLY wants to nudge teams out there to make ANY kind of offer:
  • Maybe Sale, 34 in March, comes back next year finally healthy and does his thing for a couple seasons and two years and $55 million is a bargain. But is anyone trading real value for that right now? He’s thrown 48.1 innings total in the last three seasons combined. He’s been good, as always, but it’s just so many different injury issues for a guy who isn’t all that young. What would he get in free agency right now? Maybe the Mets would just say eff it, but I’m not sure any other team would roll the dice at quite that price level. Hey, if they want to attach Rafael Devers … (They don’t – they want to dump Sale so they can have even more confidence in going to $300M+ on Devers.).
  • OK, I just said all that, and then I re-thought about how we’ve talked about the risks you HAVE to take on if you’re going to land a true ace that you didn’t develop yourself. Maybe you wouldn’t want Sale at 2/$55M, but it’s only two years. Maybe the Red Sox eat some of that. Maybe there is a price level where it’s a worthwhile risk? Were Sale ACTUALLY a free agent right now, my bet is he would/could get a really strong one-year deal, upwards of $25+ million. I could even envision something like a two-year, $40 million deal with an opt out after that first year. There might be a worthwhile risk here at some price level. Doubt the Cubs would jump, and they seem satisfied by having a really deep group of quality starting pitchers, even without an ace at the front. I just wonder out loud, since it came up.

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.