Looking Back on the Dansby Swanson and Jameson Taillon Signings, and Why They Picked the Cubs
Long removed from their actual decisions to sign with the Chicago Cubs this offseason, I find it interesting to hear how Dansby Swanson and Jameson Taillon talk about those decisions now that they’re fully immersed with their new team.
Jon Heyman was at Cubs camp and wrote a piece on each of the Cubs’ big free agent signings, which you can read here and here.
We knew that Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins talked about how their recruiting meeting with Dansby Swanson turned into Swanson grilling them about how they planned to turn the team into a winner around him. You certainly hope that means, whatever they have planned for the next seven years, was impressive to Swanson.
Hearing from Heyman on Swanson’s perspective, he was initially not seeing the Cubs as an obvious fit in free agency, despite his wife playing soccer in Chicago and the Cubs being in the market for a shortstop. Why? Because he wanted to win, and he wasn’t sure the Cubs were going to. Pretty simple.
But after his meetings with the team, and conversations with David Ross, it was a “gut feeling” that the Cubs were the right place for him to be, where he felt like not only could they win in the coming years, but that it would be particularly special to build a legacy with the Cubs. I dig that. Hope he’s right.
(Also, based on reporting, it still seems like the Cubs also offered Swanson the largest contract, which had to at least be SOMETHING of a factor in his decision. I believe that Swanson might’ve taken less to be with a winner if he thought the Cubs were going to stink forever, though.)
As for Taillon, it sounds like he was always intrigued by the Cubs, but there were two other serious pursuers. According to Heyman, Taillon actually received his biggest offer from the Phillies. Moreover, Taillon initially thought he was going to sign with the Mets, who must’ve been in that same financial ballpark, and who played in a city Taillon had come to love.
But the Cubs showed Taillon he was their priority from day one (which tracks with what Hoyer has said about their pursuit), and Taillon liked how the Cubs immediately “nerded out” with him on pitching. The Cubs shared a plan with him that he was excited about, so it sounds like it was the individualized recruitment that really did the trick.