3 free agents Chicago Cubs should sign but won’t spend money on

(Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
(Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /
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Starling Marte / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

3 free agents Chicago Cubs should sign but won’t spend money on – Starling Marte

Starling Marte is going to get paid this winter – and for good reason. The longtime Pittsburgh outfielder spent the last two years in Arizona, Miami and, most recently, Oakland – turning in the best single-season performance of his career in 2021.

The veteran outfielder slashed .308/.381/.456 in 120 games split between Miami and Oakland this year, stealing an MLB-best 47 bags in the process. He grades out well defensively, as well, evidenced by his 85th percentile ranking in Statcast’s Outs Above Average metric. In short, this guy does everything well and could be a big piece in the outfield puzzle for Chicago.

With an .837 OPS out of the two-hole, Marte could be paired with Nick Madrigal atop the order next season, setting the table for high-power guys like Patrick Wisdom (or, hopefully, a big free agent acquisition). That one-two punch would be something the Cubs haven’t featured in some time.

Given the major questions surrounding Jason Heyward and the fact that Ian Happ is pretty much the only guy you feel OK penciling in to your tentative 2022 Opening Day outfield mix, Marte makes a ton of sense for Chicago. I think Hoyer would have a better chance landing someone like this over a primetime starting pitcher like Ray – but I also expect some intense competition for the outfielder’s services this winter.