Hot Stove Notes: More Hope on SS Front, Cubs Meeting with More 1B/DH Types, Boras Believes They’re Getting ‘Back to 2016 Levels’

I was going to try to knock out a bullet-style list because it’s late and I’m exhausted, but I’m too much of a masochist to keep it short. The Cubs have been pretty active with mid-tier and lower-level names so far, but a lot of the news from the early going at the GM Meetings in Vegas came off as kind of a downer.

Multiple reports cast a good deal of doubt on the pursuit of top shortstops, which then called into question the whole strategy of trying to compete next season. Jesse Rogers was among those inadvertently pissing in everyone’s Cheerios, so he clarified his comments when he joined Waddle & Silvy on ESPN 1000 Wednesday afternoon.

“Let me be clear about this reporting here,” Rogers said. “The Cubs are not going to get one of these shortstops on a max contract, they’re not going to get one on a seven- or eight-year deal. So they’re not gonna do what the Rangers did last year with Seager and Semien, for that matter. That doesn’t mean they can’t get one, it just means they’re not pushing their chips all in.

“So the good news on this end is after last year, the shortstop market might not be as great for the players and it might a little more advantageous toward the teams.”

That certainly wouldn’t be good news for super-agent Scott Boras, who was at his bombastic best as he regaled the media with strange metaphors and analogies. Boras said none of his shortstop clients have been asked to move off the position, though he only reps Carlos Correa and Xander Bogaerts out of the big four on the market.

Bogaerts is older than his counterparts and is projected to earn quite a bit less over fewer years, so he’d fit the model Rogers laid out above. Then again, it doesn’t make much sense to “settle” for Bogaerts just because you can get him on a shorter deal when Correa is two years younger. The theme continuing to materialize is that the Cubs are willing to spend, they just want to do so on their terms.

It also appears as though Correa and Bogaerts are the two real possibilities for the Cubs. What makes that Boras connection even more interesting in this case is that he’s the first to be critical when big-market teams curb spending, and he’s called the Cubs out on it before. On Wednesday, however, he sounded very bullish on Jed Hoyer’s plans.

“I think it’s identifiable now, where before they were moving veteran players, now their agenda is certainly to acquire them and to build something that they think brings them back to 2016 levels,” Boras told reporters.

As difficult as it is to take anything Boras says at face value, this comment combined with Rogers’ clarification makes me feel like something could be afoot. I know these guys are all going to want at many years as possible, probably at least eight for Correa and Trea Turner, but I’m a little skeptical about whether things will get as big at the high end as initially predicted.

Jon Morosi said he thought we’d hear Correa and the Cubs linked together for a long time this offseason, which could certainly happen if he’s still hanging around and has to end up changing tack just like last year. Maybe compressing the duration of a deal into five years at a very rich AAV that features opt-outs would be worthwhile. I guarantee the Cubs would be into it.

What I can also guarantee is that they’re interested in José Abreu and Koudai Senga, though they’re working on some fallbacks or depth options just in case. Bruce Levine reported Wednesday that Corey Kluber was on their radar, which is funny because I called him an under-the-radar possibility back in October.

Rogers also noted in that Waddle & Silvy appearance that the Cubs are going to meet with Josh Bell, Trey Mancini, and lefty starter Martín Pérez. Bell and Mancini, another lower-profile name I listed with Kluber, would be alternatives to Abreu at first base and/or DH but I can’t really see how Pérez is a fit. There’s just a lot of tire-kicking going on at this point, that’s all.

Among the other nuggets from that Rogers convo:

  • Nico Hoerner is probably going to sign a long-term extension
  • Cubs are more likely than ever to sign Ian Happ because there’s not much OF power in free agency
  • Five years seems to be the Cubs’ soft ceiling, with six being the max; Carter Hawkins indicated as much a little while back

Okay, now I’m way past tired. Sorry if this one has more typos and less structure than usual.

Ed. note: To the troll who has popped back up in our comments claiming I’ve “plagiarized” quotes with full attribution, please do everyone a favor and stop this pathetic nonsense. It’s sad and stupid, but I guess that’s how trolling works. Oh, and don’t try to add me on LinkedIn again.

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