The Rundown: Cubs Have Myriad Hot Stove Options, Contreras All But Gone, Smyly Declines Option, Mets Expected to Be Very Aggressive

The Cubs are at the forefront of the rumor mill at this year’s GM Meetings and will likely play that role all winter long. Jed Hoyer has a lot of work to do, the Cubs have significant roster decisions to make, and their minor leaguers are progressing a little faster than most expected. A blue wave is coming to Chicago in the next 1-3 seasons, so Hoyer has to manage his roster through the 2025 season starting this winter.

The front office has a lot of options this week and beyond, and it’s probably going to take one domino to fall to open the path toward Chicago’s 2023 roster. Koudai Senga could be that first move, as the Cubs seem to have been pretty aggressive on that front already. The president of baseball operations is reportedly also very interested in José Abreu.

The shortstop market may take some time to develop. That’s a product of both supply and demand, as Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson should have plenty of options. Aaron Judge will undoubtedly slow the free-agent market, too. The Red Sox could move Rafael Devers and a number of teams would love to add the 26-year-old, power-hitting third baseman.

Keep an eye on the Brewers as well. My source in Milwaukee said that Corbin Burnes will be a hot commodity in trade talks and that the NL Central runners-up may kick off their rebuild a year earlier than expected. Brandon Woodruff and Eric Lauer could also be traded. By the way, I was told the Cubs are exploring possible trades for Tyler Glasnow and Shane Bieber.

It should be noted that my friend is not an insider, per se. He’s privy to information that is not available elsewhere, but there is no guarantee that it is more solid than speculation. But, kicking the tires on Glasnow and Bieber is a great exercise in due diligence anyway, so there’s most likely a lot of truth to both.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Perhaps the Angels should give Mike Trout a few players who can get on base. Kris Bryant had a similar issue with the Cubs.

Wednesday Stove

The Athletics are “most likely” going to trade catcher Sean Murphy.

There reportedly is a sizable gap between the Red Sox and Devers in their negotiations on a new deal. Boston apparently raised its offer to at least $200 million, but the third baseman is seeking at least $300 million.

A source told’s Mark Feinsand that the Rangers are “very big on the high-impact starters,” referring to Jacob deGromCarlos Rodón, and Justin Verlander.

Texas will also pursue Clayton Kershaw if he decides he is willing to engage with teams other than the Dodgers. Texas is clearly in win-now mode with 67-year-old Bruce Bochy returning to MLB after a three-year hiatus, but the club has a lot of work to do after going 68-94 in 2022. Martín Pérez is leaving as a free agent, so at least one rotation opening exists.

Kiley McDaniel of ESPN+ predicts Judge will get a nine-year, $324 million deal ($) in free agency. He ranks Turner as the top available shortstop (8/$272 million), followed by Correa (8/$265M), Bogaerts (6/$168M), and Swanson (6/$150M).

Add the Mets as teams interested in signing Turner, who reportedly prefers to play on the East Coast.

Look for GM Billy Eppler to strike quickly as soon as free agents are free to discuss deals with other clubs. The New York GM is all for an NBA or NFL-style type of market.

The race between Judge and Shohei Ohtani for AL MVP has officially begun. Yordan Álvarez is the third finalist.

The Mariners will not extend a qualifying offer to outfielder Mitch Haniger.

The Astros declined options on outfielder Trey Mancini and reliever Will Smith.

Chris Antonetti of the Guardians was named MLB Executive of the Year.

The Cardinals may explore the Pacific Rim for offseason additions to their roster.

Shift limits are changing the way that front offices evaluate talent.

MLB Trade Rumors turned 17 years old this week, and that’s significant because the site created a seismic shift in baseball reporting that allowed independent blogs like Cubs Insider to establish firm footing as credible sources of information.

Extra Innings

It looks like Jackson Frazier has a new gig.

Wednesday Morning Six-Pack

  1. Playmakers Justin Fields, Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, Khalil Herbert, and David Montgomery have made the Bears a must-watch option on Sunday afternoons.
  2. Voting has ended and control of both chambers of Congress is still unknown. Key races remain too close to call while many votes still need to be counted.
  3. Check your portfolio this morning. In the year following every midterm election since 1950, the S&P 500 has risen no matter which party won. A divided government means a 13% annualized average return, historically speaking.
  4. Anheuser-Busch became the first Fortune 500 company to buy a Major League Pickleball team.
  5. One unidentified person from California will take home the entire $2.04 billion Powerball Jackpot. I hope it’s CI reader Torque. I won $7. Again.
  6. Cornell University suspended frat parties and social events following allegations of drug-laced drinks and sexual assault at an off-campus location.

They Said It

  • “The more I do it, the more I think it causes tension. Guys want to start the season. … I just don’t think it’s a great way to start the season. I’d like to push that up a little bit. And if we get it done, great. But [not] doing it in spring training, at least [not] starting the process and trying to end it.” – Hoyer
  • “[Correa’s] overall market value is back to being roughly where it was a year ago, and I look at a team like the Cubs. They’ve always been linked to him in the past a lot. I think the Cubs and Correa will be one of those pairs we’ll probably talk about for weeks to come.” – Morosi
  • “Going with a guy in Dustin Kelly that we think the world of and has relationships with all those young hitters, that was really important. We felt like Dustin was the right fit.” – Hoyer

Wednesday Walk-Up Song

It’s got to be a bit of a rude awakening to be non-tendered.

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