The blurb in Jon Heyman’s column was as brief as can be, so I’ll do my best to keep this quick as well. Michael Conforto was again linked to the Cubs, with the Marlins and Astros also interested, though Houston might prefer a reunion with Michael Brantley. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about a Cubs/Conforto pairing, and all this inactivity makes it easy to start pulling on speculative threads
With a full outfield and Conforto looking for an everyday opportunity, adding him would be a strong indication that the Cubs are looking to move Ian Happ. That goes against the report from earlier in the offseason that the front office was expected to engage both Happ and Nico Hoerner in extension talks, but the calculus has already changed quite a bit in a short period.
One of the factors is a catching search that has seen several possible targets come off the board. Signing Conforto could have the Cubs calling the Blue Jays, who were reportedly interested in Happ when he was being shopped ahead of the deadline. The Jays just added Kevin Kiermaier, but they also traded Teoscar Hernández and might be willing to talk about one of their trio of backstops for Happ.
This is all highly speculative, of course, and the various moving parts make it little more than a fun thought exercise. The Cubs are going to have to do something here soon, though, and that could mean getting a head-start on their third annual deadline sale.