The Cubs have held talks with Carlo Correa in the last 24 hours, according to Bruce Levine of 670 The Score. President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer, General Manager Carter Hawkins and manager DavidRoss all attended the meeting. Levine also notes that the team has recently had discussions with both of them Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson – the other two top shortstops that remain after that Trea Turner agreed to a deal with the Phillies.
Both Correa and Bogaerts have been heavily linked with the Cubs this off-season and while it’s not yet known whether or not either have received an offer, Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun-Times shares information from Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer in the media that shows the team has made several free agent offers this winter and that the team is currently heavily focused on free agency over trades.
With Turner stepping down from the board on an 11-year, $300 million deal, there seems to be a greater sense of urgency among teams trying to sign one of the top free-agent shortstops. The Cubs have long been speculated as a possible landing ground for one of the “Big Four” (now Big Three) shortstops. They’re a team with plenty of financial muscle, keen to make a splash and get back to winning ways. So inking a marquee free agent makes a lot of sense.
Correa only turned 28 in September, so he’s still young enough to be a long-term part for a Cubs team that may not have all the parts it needs to be in contention for a championship in 2023. Correa also has the added benefit of no draft pick-up, having already received one last winter before signing his short-term contract with the Twins.
He’s also come off another elite season where he was worth 4.4 fWAR with the Twins. He curtailed .291/.366/.467 with 22 homers for a 140 wRC+. He experienced a drop in defensive ratings, but was still worth 3 defensive runs saved despite being the lowest mark of his career.
MLBTR predicted a nine-year, $288 million contract for Correa, although given Turner’s deal with Philadelphia, it’s not hard to imagine Correa’s contract being north of the $300 million mark. The Cubs currently have a projected payroll of $127 million per RosterResource, which leaves plenty of room for a Correa-sized addition and more for a team that has recently posted payrolls in excess of $200 million.
Of course, Correa’s market is expected to be resilient as the Twins are making a big effort to re-sign him and the Giants and other teams are likely to be interested. With that in mind, it makes sense that the team would continue to work with Swanson and Bogaerts. Levine reports 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 are likely to have smaller commitments than Correa.
While there has been a lot of talk about the Cubs signing one the top short tops, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported that the team was able to sign two the shortstops. In that case, Bogaerts and Swanson would likely sign rather than Correa and either of the other two, and it would be contingent on Bogaerts moving to third base. Needless to say, with the widespread interest in all three players, it would be a challenge for the Cubs to win the bid for two of them, but it’s an interesting additional layer to consider.