The Rundown: Cubs Again Linked to Top Shortstops, Bieber Could Be Trade Option, Judge Could Land $500M Deal

The Cubs are continually linked to the big four free agent shortstops, but didn’t we hear the same thing last winter? Last year’s entries on the open market were Javier Báez, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, and Marcus Semien. Seager and the Cubs seemed like a perfect match for a brief moment and each of those players had varying degrees of success with their new teams. Here are their 2022 stats per Baseball-Reference, with Nico Hoerner added for comparison.

  • Correa .291/.366/.834, 140 OPS+, 5.4 WAR
  • Seager .245/.317/.772, 119, 4.1
  • Semien .248/.304/.733, 108, 5.7
  • Story .238/.303/.737, 102, 2.5
  • Báez .238/.278/.671, 93, 2.5
  • Hoerner .281/.327/.736, 107, 4.5

Báez and Seager are rumored to be on the trade block and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Red Sox gauged Story’s market, too. The class of free agents includes Correa, Dansby Swanson, Trea Turner, and Xander Bogaerts. None will come cheaply and, as was the case last season, Correa is being heavily linked to the Cubs. Last March, Sahadev Sharma and Patrick Mooney mentioned that some members of the Cubs’ organization viewed Correa as a perfect fit following the Andrelton Simmons pickup.

“Even with Simmons in the fold, Correa still makes sense as there are those within the organization who see him as a perfect fit,” Sharma and Mooney wrote for The Athletic. “[Nico] Hoerner could then shift to center or a super-utility role and the Cubs would have the type of depth and flexibility that David Ross desires. It’s hard to deny that the Cubs have a need — beyond the glove, they could certainly use his bat — and money to spend.”

Correa still makes sense for the Cubs and Hoerner’s flexibility would allow him to shift back to second base, where he might be even more valuable. I like Turner a little more, but he’ll probably sign with an East Coast team if he doesn’t re-up with the Dodgers. If Jed Hoyer pursues Bogaerts, I’d prefer he play third base. I won’t even speculate on Swanson until I feel comfortable that he’ll truly leave the Braves.

Correa will command $275-325 million over nine years and will have plenty of other suitors. That’s a heck of a lot of cabbage to throw at one player. The Cubs also need an anchor arm for the rotation, a third baseman, a centerfielder, a first baseman, and a stud reliever. You can forget about trading for Shohei Ohtani if the Cubs sign Correa or any other shortstop. It’s tough to decipher what Hoyer means by intelligent spending, but a nine-year deal seems outside whatever those parameters may be. I’d rather he throw $85 million over two years at Justin Verlander and work out a trade with the Angels for their two-way superstar.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Nobody had a follow-through like Mitch Williams. It was spectacularly glorious, actually.

Postseason News & Notes

The Marlins have hired Cardinals bench coach Skip Schumaker as their new manager, replacing Don Mattingly.

Agent Leigh Steinberg told Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy that Judge could land a 10-year, $500 million contract in free agency.

A $50 million AAV would top Max Scherzer, who earns $43.3 million this season and next.

Keep an eye on the Rangers, who could be baseball’s biggest spenders this winter.

If Judge moves on, the Yankees could pursue Verlander, Carlos Rodón, and Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds to make up for the loss of their slugging outfielder.

In addition to hiring a new manager, the White Sox appear to be primed for a major roster shakeup following a disappointing 2022 season.

Until there’s more clarity with regard to the Angels’ ownership situation, the rest of the club’s offseason plans figure to be shrouded in mystery as well.

Let me whet your hot stove appetite with a handful of wild trade suggestions courtesy of Bleacher Nation, including Rafael Devers to the Brewers for Brandon Woodruff.

MLB sponsorships grew 5.6% to $1.19 billion in 2022. The study reveals that the biggest spenders by sector were banks, beer, and insurance. It is also expected that those revenues will grow in 2023 when sponsorship patches are added to big league uniforms.

The Padres might be seeking to extend midseason acquisitions Juan Soto and Josh Hader.

Extra Innings

I really love Owen Caissie and I believe he and Kevin Alcántara will eventually top Brennen Davis and Pete Crow-Armstrong as the best outfielders from Chicago’s current group of minor leaguers.

Wednesday Morning Six-Pack

  1. Justin Fields led a postgame line dance in the Bears’ locker room after Monday night’s win over the Patriots.
  2. The win was great and another benchmark game for young Bears like Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon, but the trade deadline is November 1, and some veterans, such as Robert Quinn, could be moved for draft picks.
  3. Hello, darkness, my old friend: Starting today, the sun sets prior to 6 pm for most US cities. Additionally, we “fall back” in about 10 days. Fun times.
  4. You’ll need plenty of Vaseline if you want to carve a perfect pumpkin for Halloween.
  5. Dead Letter Office is one of the best albums R.E.M. has ever released, regardless of what Spin magazine says. “Band Wagon,” “Burning Down,” and “Voice of Harold” are gems.
  6. Today’s PSA: Please keep your falling leaves out of landfills by choosing not to bag them.

They Said It

  • “Outside of it, personally, I think [shift restrictions] are good for the game. I think that it kind of goes back to baseball as we’ve always known it. There [are] going to be some more double-play opportunities, potentially. And I don’t think it’s something that’s going to dramatically change the landscape of the game… It’ll change the game visually a little bit. You’re not going to have a guy roaming around out there [in shallow right field]. And personally, I will miss doing that. I like playing that position. I like the unique aspects of those plays and being creative with that.” – Hoerner

Wednesday Walk-Up Song

My alarm clock ear-wormed me this morning so I thought I’d pay it forward.

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