Although the Cubs generally sat out last winter’s star-studded free agent market for shortstops, there’s already been ample speculation that they’ll be more aggressive on that front in the 2022-23 offseason. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic added to that this week in his podcast, voicing a belief that the Cubs “will get” one of the marquee shortstops on this year’s market. As profiled in our latest Free Agent Power Rankings here at MLBTR yesterday, the class includes Trea Turner, Carlos Correa (who’s expected to opt out of the final two years and $70.7MM of his Twins deal this winter), Xander Bogaerts (who’ll opt out of the final three years and $60MM on his Red Sox deal) and Dansby Swanson.
It’s obviously far too early to make any definitive statements regarding who’ll sign where over the winter, and it bears emphasizing that speculation this time of year often doesn’t align with reality when the offseason dust settles. (A year ago this time, the common speculation was that Correa would reunite with former Astros skipper AJ Hinch in Detroit. A few years back, Patrick Corbin and the Yankees were linked to one another just about every week.) Signing one of the “big” shortstops would likely require the largest commitment the Cubs have made since signing Yu Darvish to a six-year, $126MM contract in free agency — and each of the four can be reasonably expected to clear that sum on the open market this year.
Correa was reported to be a target of the Cubs last winter, but he revealed in a July interview with Gordon Wittenmyer that in spite of some conversation, he never received an actual offer. The Cubs ultimately signed the recently released Andrelton Simmons to a one-year, $4MM deal.
More from Wrigley…
- The Cubs aren’t certain whether they’ll get Kyle Hendricks back this season, although manager David Ross tells reporters that the right-hander’s latest MRI revealed only continued inflammation and some indications that the 32-year-old is “getting better” (link via Tim Stebbins of NBC Sports Chicago). Hendricks, who hasn’t pitched since July 5, will be shut down for an additional week, at which point the Cubs’ medical staff will reevaluate him. Hendricks, who’s in the third season of a four-year, $55.5MM contract extension, posted a 4.80 ERA through 16 starts when healthy enough to pitch. For the time being, the team’s focus is solely on getting Hendricks healthy and not necessarily on getting him back into game shape, Ross suggested, which makes sense for a player who’s signed for $14MM next season on a team with no postseason hopes. “I don’t think getting him back in games is a top priority for everyone,” said Ross. “But if he is able to get to that space, I think that’s a win for everyone.”
- “Cubs bench coach Andy Green and assistant hitting coach know recently claimed slugger Franmil Reyes quite well from the trio’s time together in San Diego, Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun-Times points out. Green admitted to “fist pumping” when he learned the club had been awarded the waiver claim on Reyes, and both he and Washington effused praise for Reyes’ clubhouse demeanor and energy. As Lee explores, the Cubs’ decision to option Frank Schwindel following the Reyes claim — much like the decision to option David Bote after acquiring Zach McKinstry — signal a shift to beginning to evaluate newly acquired and/or untested players over the season’s final few months rather than sticking with struggling veterans whom the club knows a bit better.