The Cubs shipped out several franchise cornerstones at the 2021 Major League Baseball trade deadline, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Chicago is entering a full-blown rebuild that’ll preclude the organization from targeting top free agents, like Carlos Correa, before Opening Day.
MLB insider Jon Paul Morosi on Friday explored the market for Correa — arguably the best player remaining in free agency — and pointed to the Cubs as a potential destination for the longtime Houston Astros shortstop.
“While the Cubs weren’t a popular pick to land the superstar shortstop last fall, there’s a logical fit between the parties,” Morosi wrote for MLB.com.
Correa, now represented by agent Scott Boras, could command a contract in excess of $300 million, especially with fellow shortstop Corey Seager signing a 10-year, $325 million deal with the Texas Rangers before the MLB lockout. That’s obviously a huge sum, but the Cubs seemingly are well positioned financially to make such a sizable investment.
Here’s more from Morosi:
The Cubs have the payroll flexibility to add a significant multiyear contract. Jason Heyward’s contract expires after the 2023 season, and newly signed starter Marcus Stroman is the team’s only player under contract beyond ’23. The Cubs’ bandwidth to add a superstar is further enhanced by the fact that Kris Bryant, Javier Báez and Anthony Rizzo were traded away last summer rather than extended.
Stroman, Kyle Hendricks, and Wade Miley rely on strong infield defense to a greater extent than many modern starting pitchers. Correa, the reigning American League Platinum Glove Award winner, could impact the Cubs’ run prevention as much as their lineup. Nico Hoerner, the top internal candidate to be the Cubs’ primary shortstop in 2022, started only 12 games at the position last season and might be best suited for a multi-position role.
Of course, the Cubs will have competition in their potential pursuit of Correa, a two-time All-Star firmly in his prime at age 27. The Astros haven’t ruled out a return, and the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox are among the other clubs that have been floated as possible suitors. It could be a bidding war.
Morosi noted Friday the Cubs were among the teams that had the “heaviest dialogue” with Correa’s camp before the MLB lockout. So, we’ll see if those talks heat back up with free agency restarting Thursday.