Tucked away toward the end of Patrick Mooney’s piece on why the Cardinals chose to give Willson Contreras a long-term deal when the Cubs would not was a little nugget about the ongoing shortstop pursuit. There have been conflicting reports about who the Cubs are truly prioritizing, whether it’s legit or just the product of leaks meant to produce leverage, but Mooney asserts that the team has “a particular focus on Dansby Swanson.”
That certainly fits with the notion that Jed Hoyer still has several irons in the fire, especially now that we can assume Carlos Correa‘s asking price has shot further north of $300 million. Signing Correa for something like $360 million over 13 years is something the Cubs should be able to do, but it could also limit their desire or ability to bring in additional impact talent in the immediate future. Swanson, on the other hand, will come at a lower cost and might mean having more flexibility.
Of course, making Swanson a former Brave could also represent the last big move the Cubs make this winter. As egregiously irresponsible as that would be from a roster-construction standpoint, it’s not outside the realm of possibility. Nor is the idea that the Cubs could end up with neither remaining shortstop.
Talk about an epic failure, especially after the way things seemed to be progressing early in the Winter Meetings. Now that the annual summit has closed and the frenetic pace of talks and agreements seems to have slowed — which is as much a function of not having every baseball writer in the country packed in among all the team execs and player agents — the Cubs must remain aggressive.
Swanson is about to get married and the window to negotiate anything with him is closing quickly, even if that’s only temporary. Correa could find himself fielding massive offers from the Giants and Twins, perhaps even the Red Sox, as the very clear top remaining player on the market. Regardless of whether and how far the Cubs really got down the road with him, the calculus has changed in the wake of the Bogaerts deal.
Is that why Swanson became the priority or was that the case all along?
All I know is that the Cubs need to do something here just for the sake of those of us out here who are obsessively following the goings-on. Actually, they need to do a few different somethings. If Hoyer feels Swanson offers the best opportunity to make much-needed upgrades at other spots as well, there’s no reason to wait.