The Chicago Cubs are preparing for what figures to be an important offseason where the team is expected to be aggressive in the free agency market as a method to expedite the rebuild that began in earnest at the 2021 Major League Baseball Trade Deadline.
The Cubs showed glimpses of returning to active spending last offseason with lucrative free-agent deals with starting pitcher Marcus Stroman and outfielder Seiya Suzuki.
Stroman and Suzuki figure to be a part of the next contending Cubs team but the question remains of when that team will actually arrive.
Stroman, for his part, thinks that the Cubs are close to contending based on recent comments he made to The Athletic:
“I think we’re close,” Stroman said. “A lot of that’s out of my control. Hopefully, we make a few moves. I think we have a great core group of guys, great young guys coming up that are going to make great contributions throughout a full year. But yeah, if we add a few pieces, I think we can compete in the division right away.”
Those “few pieces” figure to be added this offseason. The Cubs are in the process of evaluating the top free agent starting pitchers available this offseason and it has long been expected that the team will sign one of the four top free agent shortstops that will be available this winter.
Current signs might be pointing to Carlos Correa being that shortstop.
When talking about the prospects of Correa returning to his current team, the Minnesota Twins, Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune made the strong implication during his podcast that Correa will be signing with the Cubs this offseason.
The Cubs’ interest in Correa last winter was no secret. The Cubs reportedly were willing to spend heavily on Correa last year but had reservations about the length of a potential deal. It remains to be seen if Correa will be seeking a 10-year deal this winter but the Cubs likely will be one of the main teams involved in his market.
Carlos Correa remains a perfect fit for the direction of the Chicago Cubs.
And before diving into Correa’s numbers this season, let’s once again apply the following caveat: The Cubs pursuing the top four free agent shortstops this offseason is not an indictment of their current shortstop, Nico Hoerner. Hoerner is a firm member of the next great Cubs’ core and his infield flexibility allows for the Cubs to address their offensive need by signing one of the top free agent shortstops.
After a slow start to the 2022 season, Correa has returned to form in his first year with the Twins. Correa currently has a slash line of .289/.365/.468/.834 with a 140 wRC+ and 4.2 WAR. In other words, Correa is still very much an elite offensive talent and would be a great fit for the Cubs.
Correa has previously gone on record and been critical of the Cubs’ plan and his willingness to sign with a team that is rebuilding. The Cubs will need to sell Correa on the idea that they are ready to contend and the comments made by Stroman may be the beginning of their pitch.