With Jameson Taillon done, is Carlos Correa next for the Cubs? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
SAN DIEGO – Don’t stop now.
A day after signing baseball’s first $300 million player of the winter, the Cubs on Tuesday began fulfilling months of pledges to spend this winter in a bid to “absolutely” try to compete in 2023.
It wasn’t quite the level of Trea Turner’s 11-year deal with the Phillies on Monday. But hold that thought for a moment.
The Cubs have committed $82.5 million to complete their first free agent deals of the offseason, including securing a major addition to their rotation in right-hander Jameson Taillon for four years, $68 million .
RELATED: Cubs sign Jameson Taillon to 4-year contract
It happened late Tuesday night, about eight hours after securing former MVP and rebound contender Cody Bellinger for a year, $17.5 million,
“I think the Tom-Tom drum is finally beating again,” agent Scott Boras said Tuesday of Tom Ricketts and Cubs home ownership.
It was a drum beating slowly amid a flurry of industrial activity until Tuesday.
Now, the big question is how many more hits for how many more dollars will come next for a team that has just fired back-to-back rim shots for seasons.
And by big question, we mean the kind of big-name, big-money contract that will signal the inflection point of this latest rebuild and the bona fide start of President Jed Hoyer’s Next Great Cubs team.
Anyone Carlos Correa?
It’s no coincidence that Boras was asked his thoughts on the Cubs’ spending intentions as an agent for shortstops Correa and Xander Bogaerts, ace starter Carlos Rodón, All-Star outfielder Brandon Nimmo and, by the way, Bellinger.
Boras would not comment on the details of his conversations with Cubs officials, or even their well-documented and serious pursuit of Correa, arguably the best shortstop in the free agent class this winter.
But sources say Boras has spoken with Ricketts at least briefly since the end of the season.
And his Tuesday comment matches what NBC Sports Chicago’s Dave Kaplan reported on Monday: that Ricketts mandated Hoyer to add enough talent to pull the Cubs out of their two-year malaise and gave the “green light” to spend what it takes.
And manager David Ross on Tuesday acknowledged his and Hoyer’s meeting with Correa, the free agent’s wife and Boras on Monday – just one of ‘a lot of players’ Ross has met as part of the recruitment push that the Cubs are doing on a myriad of fronts. to add midfield talents, pitchers, batters, and outfielders.
Tuesday’s two deals might even have offered clues to Hoyer’s overall plan for the winter, especially since Taillon represents another contact pitcher in a Cubs rotation that’s already teeming with them — underscoring the need for a Gold Glove shortstops such as Correa to help cement a less-than-more-than-spectacular on the pitch (especially with extreme pitch changes banned from next year).
Not to mention, Gold Glove Bellinger outfielder was at his All-Star best.
If the Cubs’ focus wasn’t already on Correa before Tuesday, it certainly is now.
And sources suggest they are as deeply involved in trying to land him as anyone on this side of the Twins – despite a price widely believed to be higher than Turner’s as a youngest (28) of the four renowned shortstops and the only one. of the group not linked to a qualifying offer and the subsequent repechage compensation.
“We have several teams and several offers that have come in the past few days,” Boras said of his two-star job.
The Cubs are well advanced with Correa, a player they’ve coveted since a blistering workout at Wrigley Field before he was drafted No. 1 overall by the Astros in 2012. And they’re talking seriously with the free agent about ‘Atlanta Dansby Swanson as at least a possible Plan B (while Ricketts’ tenure lends credence to reports suggesting they could be in play for both).
“Whether or not we’re going to get one of those shortstops, TBD,” Cubs general manager Carter Hawkins said of that group of positions Tuesday night. “But we are certainly actively involved and we will see where it all lands.”
Multiple sources said they expect this to be resolved within days, or faster, ‘because’ as one source put it, ‘the shortstop market is hot’ .
As for Bogaerts, several other teams seem more serious than the Cubs, whose interest was characterized by a source with knowledge of their dialogue as “kicking the tires.”
“I know we’re in play on a lot of players,” Ross said. “And there are a lot of great players there. There are also plenty of great teams in the mix to try and add players.
The Cubs met “dozens” of players.
But Correa would be the crown jewel of their winter. The big investment in the big-game performer (18 home runs, .849 OPS in 79 postseason games). The investment that brings talent to the list and credibility to the process.
Just a few months ago during the season, Correa said he spoke briefly with the Cubs last winter but “didn’t want to be part of a rebuild.”
This time, “there were no reservations from him on any of the teams that approached us.”
Ross and Hawkins said they weren’t exactly making sales pitches to persuade free agents they weren’t rebuilding anymore.
But there’s been a lot of talk about visions and what’s next for a team with back-to-back losing seasons and plenty of holes to fill.
“Just be realistic about where you are. You talk about what the plan is and how you’re going to go about it,” Hawkins said. “It would be unrealistic for us to talk about being a 105-win team next year. So we’re not doing that.
“But we’re talking about the path we’re on and the improvements we’re making and how this player is going to fit into that plan.”
Adding $71 million to starter Marcus Stroman last winter and Jameson Taillon this time around can’t hurt the messaging.
But it can’t be the last word either.
Because the only way the Cubs can deliver on their 2023 promise and make it work is to keep banging on that drum. And if the rhythm continues.
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