Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We here at Inside the Cubs hope you have a wonderful day with your family and it is full of gratitude! Also, we would like to extend a "thank you" of our own to you, our reader, as you have kept up with us since our launch in August.
So, without further ado, let's get down to the roundup!
Key Free Agent Reports
As we almost all know by now, the Chicago Cubs are going to be heavily pursuing one of the four big free agent shortstops.
Since the 2012 MLB draft, the Cubs have "loved" Carlos Correa and now is their opportunity to go get him. At just 28 years old, Correa is the youngest of the bunch, but will likely command the largest contract.
Some estimations are running from eight-years and $250 million all the way to $300 million-plus. Regardless, the Cubs should be in on Correa who could jumpstart their contention window.
Here is another shortstop that has been linked with the Cubs since before the 2022 MLB regular season even ended. Turner's speed and athleticism are things dreams are made of, and he is the prototypical leadoff man.
Turner will likely come just a hair cheaper than Correa, but not by much. Whether Chicago goes in the direction of Turner or Correa will depend on how Jed Hoyer feels that day. Both are electric, both will come at a steep price, and both will be franchise-altering.
In the case of Bogaerts, there was a report that the Cubs met with his agent, Scott Boras, at the GM meetings in Las Vegas, NV earlier this month. It is worth noting considering that they are in the market for a shortstop, but this one sounds like nothing more than kicking the tires.
The Cubs are in need of a first baseman and nobody makes more sense than Abreu. Perhaps that is why one report has Abreu coined as Chicago's "top priority" in free agency. At 35 years old, he won't be inked to some massive multi-year deal, which is probably seen as a positive for the club, but he will provide excellent production and is a former MVP winner.
Abreu has lost some pop in his bat the last few years as his home run numbers have come down, but his ability to still hit the ball and put it in play is as good as it has ever been. While there may be no true "perfect" fit, Abreu is about as close as it gets for this young Cubs team.
On the surface, this one makes sense. Bellinger was just non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers and is seeking a one-year, get right deal. His shoulder injury he incurred in 2020 still affected him in 2022, which could explain his significant drop off from his 2019 MVP season to his nearly unplayable 2022 season.
If Bellinger does rebound, then the Cubs will have struck gold. As evidenced by the Philadelphia Phillies, a team only needs to sneak into the playoffs to make some noise. An improved Chicago squad with a healthy Bellinger could do just that in 2023. Perhaps that's why the Cubs have reported interest.
Vázquez is another player that makes sense for Chicago. He is a true two-way catcher as he has evidenced throughout his career with the Boston Red Sox, and most recently with the Houston Astros, with whom he won a World Series.
With the departure of Willson Contreras, the Cubs will likely not want to enter the season with Yan Gomes as their starter. Vázquez's career slashline of .261/.310/.386 is well above average production offensively for the catcher's position. He has also been heralded for his defense and ability to call games.
Seems like a good fit, there is reported interest, and he will come with a cheaper price tag than Contreras.
Let's start by saying this: yes, the Cubs have interest, but so does every team.
Okay, now the real issue standing in the way of this happening is years and dollars. Chicago doesn't want to go past five years on a deal. Judge will demand at least six, likely seven years on his next contract.
Does $40 million a year sound too steep for the Ricketts family? Well, Judge is going to want close to that.
Outside of all of that, yes, Judge makes perfect sense.
Who knows, maybe Chicago really does go all out and offers a higher AAV deal with fewer years and it gets the job done.
The Cubs are willing to extend deGrom a three-year deal according to a new report. That is the minimum amount of years it will take to get a deal done and the AAV will have to be at or above Max Scherzer's three-year, $130 million deal.
It would not be unreasonable to think that deGrom could command a $150 million salary over three years. Again, yes there is reported interest, and yes, the years on the contract actually make sense on this one. But the financial capital?
That remains to be seen.
There hasn't been any real reported interest yet between the Cubs and Verlander, but I think there should be. I wrote an entire piece on why Verlander would be a perfect fit, and it goes something like this:
Yes, he is 39 years old, but his recent performances and peripherals show no indication of slowing down. It would only take a two-year commitment, will cost less than deGrom, and his ability to mentor the young players in the rotation like Justin Steele, Javier Assad, and Hayden Wesneski is indispensable.
It's a good read and if you have doubts about Verlander it may just change your mind.
Just pay the man. He is the best bang for Chicago's buck when looking at the totality of the situation.
Odds and Ends
There have been some grumblings about potential interest in center fielder Kevin Kiermaier. He might be a good fit, but his age and injury history are a cause for concern.
Miami Marlins starter Pablo López is on the trading block, and he would make a good fit for the Cubs rotation. He slots in nicely with a group of young guys who would make up a core for years to come. But, the price tag in terms of prospects may be too steep.
Finally, pitcher David Robertson could make a return and starter Corey Kluber is reportedly on Chicago's radar.
And that's it folks! We hope you all have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!
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