“You can haunt me, you can taunt me, but if you want me, baby, you gotta love me right.” – Love Me Right in the Morning, LaVern Baker
The Cubs lost the Carlos Correa sweepstakes very early Saturday morning when the Twins came out of nowhere to lock up the All-Star shortstop. It’s effectively a one-year deal worth $35.1 million that Correa can renew at the same rate next season and the season after. Super-agent Scott Boras is one creative dude and deserves our applause. He can renegotiate a long-term deal with Minnesota next year, or his client can re-enter the open market. If Correa gets injured or performs as Francisco Lindor did for the Mets last season, he has two years and $70.2 million worth of insurance at his beck and call.
The best part of Correa’s contract is that it was a little too unappealing for Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins. As for Boras, he won’t have to split his commission with anybody when Correa joins the Dodgers, Yankees, or Mariners next year. Don’t fault Hoyer on this one, he did the right thing. Though his plodding, methodical dance through free agency yielded starting pitcher Marcus Stroman and stud outfielder Seiya Suzuki, the Cubs still have a number of holes to fill. Getting Correa on basically a one-year deal at the cost of a draft pick doesn’t help build the organization’s next championship team. The Cubs are still just a 78-80 win team even with Correa, and not even expanded playoffs make the juice worth the squeeze.
Maybe Hoyer has a different agenda, however, and he could enter the trade deadline as the game’s master of ceremonies. Role players and firemen are always in high demand as the postseason inches closer, and though that sounds a lot like a brothel request of sorts, Hoyer could be baseball’s version of Monte Hall once we get past the All-Star game. He has starting pitchers to dangle to the game’s contenders, too.
Players such as Jonathan Villar, Andrelton Simmons, Mychal Givens, Daniel Norris, Robert Gsellman, Wade Miley, Alec Mills, Chris Martin, Harold Ramirez, Clint Frazier, and potentially Drew Smyly, who the Cubs are reported to be courting heavily, could yield a bounty of prospects and lottery tickets. Heck, Hoyer may not even have to wait until the deadline. Though rosters might be extended at the start of the season, he’s still not going to have a locker at Wrigley Field for everybody. Mystery surrounds the future of Willson Contreras and his expiring contract as well.
It’s worth mentioning that there are still deals to be made with the Athletics, Rays, Padres, and Reds, though with most of the premium free agents gone, it’s looking a lot less likely that the Padres will try to move Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers, or Yu Darvish before the start of the season. I fully expect Tampa Bay to extend Tyler Glasnow, so they’re probably likewise cooling on any potential trades. Cubs fans can hope Hoyer makes a run at Trevor Story or Michael Conforto, but that seems unlikely considering each is tied to a qualifying offer by their former teams.
Maybe Hoyer and Hawkins have a spot reserved for Tommy Pham and/or Jorge Soler. The former should be available on a one-year deal which would make him an immediate flip candidate, though Soler is probably looking for a multi-year contract. I certainly don’t want to trigger anybody but Eric Sogard, Jake Arrieta, Albert Almora, Jr., Jake Marisnick, and Starlin Castro are all still available.
We had such high hopes in this abbreviated hot stove season, didn’t we? In the end, the Cubs extended manager David Ross, got a premium pitcher in Stroman, a glove-first infielder in Simmons, and a bona fide hitter in Suzuki. By my scorecard, that’s the MLB equivalent of the Bad News Bears. Thanks to the frugal efforts of Chicago’s front office, Tom Ricketts can now continue his pursuit to purchase Chelsea Football Club without having to approve any pesky premium free-agent contracts.
Cubs News & Notes
- Hoyer introduced Suzuki to the media yesterday, and the outfielder professed his love for Mike Trout.
- Nick Madrigal did his part to recruit Suzuki to Chicago, but he refused to take all the credit.
- Perhaps Darvish is owed the bulk of the credit for the Cubs’ marquee signing.
- Stroman had a strong debut in Chicago’s first win of the Cactus League season.
- Stro carries a big personality to the mound but indicated it’s nothing scripted. “I intend to be authentic until the day I die.”
- For those who believe that Contreras is the game’s best catcher, the talking heads at MLB.tv would like a word.
- The Ricketts family has officially submitted their consortium offer to buy Chelsea from Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich. Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly remains another frontrunner.
- The Ricketts are believed to be at “the head of the queue” to acquire the football club.
- Sportswriter Craig Lynch passed away yesterday at the age of 72 due to complications from a recent stroke. Lynch was blind from birth but possessed a photographic memory for Cubs trivia and statistics.
Odds & Sods
The lockout has placed a bit of a fog on my memory, but didn’t the Rockies trade Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals for next to nothing and then let Story walk away in free agency? Now that they’ve signed Kris Bryant to a megadeal I’m struggling to make it all make sense. Bryant does look good in purple and those uniforms really make his blue eyes pop, don’t they?
Kris Bryant, Colorado Rockie was meant to be 😏💜
📸 : IG// Jess Bryant pic.twitter.com/xJilOVTCZE
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) March 19, 2022
Climbing the Ladder
“We’ve got smooth sailing, sailing. Looks like every drop of rain is gone, gone, gone.” – Smooth Sailing, Ella Fitzgerald
- Stroman made his spring training debut last night and was perfect in two innings. The right-hander retired all six batters he faced — three on strikeouts — and did it with a whole lotta flair.
- Frank Schwindel picked up where he left off last season, plating Nico Hoerner on a double to left-center.
- Frazier had a hit, two RBI, and a stolen base.
- Mark Leiter Jr. earned the win over the Giants, matching Stroman with three punchouts across two innings.
- Chicago’s pitchers struck out 14 San Francisco batters in the 7-3 win.
- Suzuki took batting practice after his introductory presser and even blasted a home run.
Spring Training News & Notes
Bryant and Colorado owner Dick Monfort both believe the Rockies can contend with the Dodgers, Giants, and Padres in the fully-stacked NL West. Gotta love the spring optimism.
The Rangers, Astros, Yankees, Red Sox, and Giants remain interested in Story.
New York City health commissioner Ashwin Vasan said the city’s vaccine mandate will remain in place “indefinitely” and that there were no health benchmarks for infections, hospitalizations, and deaths for which the mandate would be suspended.
Gee, I almost feel like river dancing.
— Aldo Soto (@AldoSoto21) March 19, 2022
They Said It
- “Hello, my name is Seiya Suzuki. Nice to meet you.” – Suzuki
- “Did I do something? Man, I’m blacked out after. I don’t know what’s going on after. I have to see things afterward most of the time to see what happens.” – Stroman
Saturday Walk-Up Song
Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars feat. Mark Ronson – Methinks Stroman is going to be loved more by Cubs fans than Darvish was.