The Chicago Cubs aren’t going to Overreact in the Face of an Aggressive Free-Agent Market
The market has lost its top available shortstop free agent.
On Monday, Trea Turner signed an 11-year, $300 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, bringing him back to the East Coast. Over a month into free agency, MLB clubs have already spent over $1 billion on players.
So far, the Chicago Cubs have yet to join the ranks of those teams. They would prefer to avoid overreacting to players’ first moves in free agency or making any course corrections that could be misguided.
On Monday at the winter meetings, President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer said, “You always have to run your race.” From an early age, I realized that you couldn’t simply respond to events. It’s up to you to make the right calls. We constantly plan for a wide range of contingencies, and while we do our best to avoid being caught off guard, we can’t deny that it has been quite busy thus far.
Hoyer thinks the flurry of activity over the past three days is due to the shortened winter meeting schedule, which has resulted in many vital sports figures departing San Diego on Wednesday. More calls were made that weekend in the run-up to the meeting at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
Hoyer remarked that it was “hard to know how the early deals impact the later deals.” The early signs of significant developments are sometimes obscure, and vice versa. To be sure, though, the market has been quite competitive.
A flood of transactions has recently been received. Naturally, some of those totals are going to be higher than expected. The market has been quite competitive so far. Although the cost of free agents has increased, the Chicago Cubs have not changed their strategy.
Hoyer has pledged to keep making proposals regardless of the outcome
Nonetheless, Hoyer and the front office must make the sales. He did not provide specifics, but he did say that the team has “a lot” of offers out to free agents. It’s impossible to know for sure, but it won’t be for lack of trying to make offers and connections.
Braves shortstop On October 15, 2022, in preparation for Game 4 of the NLDS against the Phillies, Dansby Swanson throws around a ball in the dugout. A shortstop with the Braves On October 15, 2022, in preparation for Game 4 of the NLDS against the Phillies, Dansby Swanson throws around a ball in the dugout.
The Cubs‘ failed attempts to sign star players this offseason will not appease a fan base that is sick of the team’s rebuilding strategy of the past two seasons. As long as shortstops Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson are still on the market, the Cubs should be kept from being written off as a free-agent spending team before they report to Mesa, Arizona, in February.
According to a reliable source, the Cubs actively pursued former White Sox first baseman José Abreu to add a proven power hitter to their lineup. The Houston Astros stood out from the pack by offering a third season at the same $19.5 million average annual value.
While the Cubs would like to strengthen their first base, the market is thin on quality options
We don’t know if the signing of Turner will prompt Correa, Bogaerts, and Swanson to finalize their deals soon. Each player is expected to wait for the contract he considers to be in his best interest.
Hoyer added, “And when that happens, we’ll probably pull the trigger,” though he was unsure how much weight Turner’s decision would carry in determining how quickly that would occur. Talented players are scarce, and that’s what you see in the free-agent market, so it’s not positionally. These are gifted guys that had great years.”
The Cubs will adjust their valuations accordingly if they assess whether a targeted player’s or position’s market has evolved. Flexibility remains key to landing meaningful additions through free agency. The Cubs won’t be waiting on the remaining free-agent shortstops to make other moves. Their primary focus remains on free agency rather than exploring the trade market.
“You can’t script these things out from a timing standpoint,” Hoyer said. “You have to work in many (free-agent) markets. You must be able to keep many balls in the air. If you think you’re going to home in on one thing, you’re going to miss.”