The Cubs have had discussions with Carlos Correa in the past 24 hours, according to Bruce Levine of 670 The Score. President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer, general manager Carter Hawkins and manager David Ross all attended the meeting. Levine also notes the team has had recent discussions with both Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson – the other two top shortstops remaining after Trea Turner agreed to a deal with the Phillies.
Both Correa and Bogaerts in particular have been strongly linked to the Cubs this off-season, and although it’s not yet known whether or not either has received an offer, Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun-Times relays information from Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer’s media availability stating the team has made multiple offers to free agents this winter, and that the team is heavily focused on free agency over trades at the moment.
In the wake of Turner coming off the board on an 11-year, $300MM deal, there seems sure be a greater sense of urgency among the teams seeking to sign one of the top free agent shortstops. The Cubs have long been speculated as a possible landing spot for one of the “big four” (now big three) shortstops. They’re a team with plenty of financial muscle that’s looking to make a splash and return to winning ways, so inking a marquee free agent makes plenty of sense.
Correa only turned 28 in September, so he’s still young enough to be a long-term piece for a Cubs team that may not have all the pieces it needs to compete for a championship in 2023. Correa also comes with the added benefit of avoiding draft pick compensation, as he already received one last winter before signing his short-term deal with the Twins.
He’s also coming off yet another elite season, one in which he was worth 4.4 fWAR with the Twins. He slashed .291/.366/.467 with 22 home runs for a wRC+ of 140. He experienced a dip in defensive ratings, but was still worth 3 Defensive Runs Saved, though that was the lowest mark of his career.
MLBTR predicted a nine-year, $288MM deal for Correa, although in light of Turner’s deal with Philadelphia, it’s not hard to imagine Correa’s contract heading north of the $300MM mark. The Cubs currently have a projected payroll of $127MM, per RosterResource, which, for a team that has seen payrolls in excess of $200MM recently, leaves plenty of room for a Correa-sized addition and more.
Of course, Correa’s market is expected to be robust, with the Twins making a strong effort to re-sign him, and the Giants and other teams likely to be interested. With that in mind, it makes sense that the team is remaining engaged with Swanson and Bogaerts as well. Levine reports that Chicago met with Bogaerts ten days ago. Swanson is a year older than Correa, while Bogaerts is 30, and while both are elite players in their own right, both will probably command smaller commitments than Correa.
While there’s been plenty of talk of the Cubs signing one of the top shortstops, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the team could sign two of the shortstops. In that case, it’d likely be Bogaerts and Swanson signing, rather than Correa and one of the other two, and it’d be contingent on Bogaerts moving to third base. Needless to say, with the widespread interest in all three players, it’d be a challenge for the Cubs to win the bidding for two of them, but it’s an interesting added layer to consider.