Man, our Facebook audience is gonna hate that headline. But since we’re slaves to the clickbait rumor machine, we’re obligated to share stuff from tabloid rag sites like *checks notes* MLB.com. That’s where we get a report from Mark Feinsand that the Cubs could conceivably pull off a huge coup by signing two of the three remaining shortstops, likely Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson.
The Cubs' interest in the free-agent shortstop market has been no secret, but according to a source, there is a scenario in which Chicago could sign two of the three remaining star shortstops, likely Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 6, 2022
Such a huge splash would almost certainly hinge on getting Bogaerts to move to third, which may have been among the topics of discussion when he met with a Cubs contingent that included former Red Sox stars Jon Lester and Mike Napoli. Bogaerts grew up in Aruba watching the Cubs on WGN, so maybe the nostalgia factor would play a role in getting him to shift to the hot corner.
There’s also the idea that signing both him and Swanson would represent a massive step toward competitiveness by giving the Cubs a stellar infield group that would also feature Nico Hoerner. Some combination of Matt Mervis and another free agent acquisition would handle first base, giving the Cubs more power and better defense than they were able to muster last season.
Swanson has some ties to Chicago as well because his fiancee, Mallory Pugh plays for the Chicago Red Stars. He reportedly loves the city, which should be a given for everyone who hasn’t fallen prey to sensationalism, and could likewise be attracted to a situation in which the team is spending big to win quickly.
The Cubs met with Carlos Correa on Monday and can’t be ruled out there, but his asking price is certain to exceed the $300 million Trea Turner got from the Phillies. Even if a team is able to work the length down by inflating the AAV, we’re still talking eight years at a minimum. It’s possible the Cubs could land both Bogaerts and Swanson for roughly the same total cost as Correa over fewer years.
I’ve felt for a while as though the breadcrumbs were leading to Bogaerts, though the situation is obviously very fluid. As such, I’m going to adjust my initial projection of five years and $170 million to $185 million over six years. That’s just a little higher than initial AAV estimates, but the total is still well below Correa and Turner. Swanson has been pegged at around $150-155 million for six years and I think we can roll with that for now.
Put them together and you’re talking maybe $330-340 million over six years, which is at least $1 million less and four fewer years than Francisco Lindor got all on his own. Dropping upwards of $56 million a year on a pair of players would definitely qualify as intelligent spending in this case, particularly if the Cubs are avoiding the dreaded age-based regression of longer deals. Even if it takes another year for one or both, that’s a risk they should be willing to take.
Put more bluntly, it’s a risk they need to take if the opportunity is truly there.
Jed Hoyer still has to make other additions, particularly to the rotation and in center, but he admitted Monday that the Cubs have a lot of offers out there. One of those could very well be to Bogaerts, according to a report out of Boston. So is this just a big nothing-burger or is Hoyer out on the grill getting a tomahawk ribeye seared to perfection? With the way these big deals keep popping off, we could find out really soon.