Well, if you’re a New York Mets fan who was worried owner Steve Cohen’s Twitter rant earlier in the week over Steven Matz joining the Cardinals would scare off free agents, you probably rested a bit easier on Friday night after the team signed not one, not two, but three position players in the span of 24 hours.
All three of the players who signed with New York were potential fits for the Chicago Cubs: Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar and Starling Marte. The Mets still need to add pitching – there’s no debating that fact – but they clearly felt the need to shore up the positional ranks coming off the 2021 campaign.
Marte is far and away the biggest prize of their Black Friday shopping, a two-time Gold Glove outfielder who’s coming off the best season of his career. He could have been a major improvement for the Cubs outfield, as well, but given the fact he’s heading into his age-33 season, it makes sense Jed Hoyer steered clear – especially on a four-year deal.
Canha was definitely one of the most underrated free agents out there. MLBTR pegged him as their #30 free agent heading into the offseason. The Cubs not wanting to go to four years on Marte, whose game revolves around his athleticism, makes sense to me. Canha, though, is a guy who has found success largely through his strong on-base presence. Adding his presence to the lineup could have been a nice pickup for Chicago – especially on a palatable two-year, $26.5 million deal.
As for Escobar, who split last year between Arizona and Milwaukee, he’s the move that raises a lot of questions for several incumbent Mets players – most notably Jeff McNeil and JD Davis. It stands to reason that new GM Billy Eppler could look to come off some of this depth in a trade to shore up the pitching staff, but that remains to be seen.
Chicago Cubs still looking to make their first big splash in free agency
We’re mere days now from an MLB work stoppage and the Cubs are yet to significantly improve their roster in any way (with the potential exception of the Wade Miley pick-up). Pitching remains the focus, with the club connected to Marcus Stroman again this week, but there’s been nothing concrete on that front.
Patience, at this point, isn’t a strong suit for most Cubs fans. But I’d rather Hoyer play the long game and make moves that actually address the team’s weaknesses than just marginally improve around the edges, which more than a few folks suggested these moves from the Mets amount to.
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For now, all is quiet in Wrigleyville. But with the clock ticking on that work stoppage, we could see some movement in the coming days.