Chicago Cubs: Trevor Story could be a better fit than Carlos Correa

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Look. I’m not going to complain if Jed Hoyer and the Chicago Cubs have themselves a press conference introducing Carlos Correa in the next few months. But given we’re in a lockout with no end in sight, we might as well consider all angles of such a possibility – including pivoting to someone who’s gotten very little traction on the rumor mill to this point in Trevor Story.

The longtime Rockies infielder miraculously wasn’t traded at the July deadline, and wound up simply running out the clock in Denver. Now, at age 29, he’s one of the last free agent shortstops left standing, along with Correa, after Javier Baez and Corey Seager inked deals prior to the lockout.

When it comes to Correa, we’re talking about anywhere from a five-to-seven year deal pushing $40 million annually to one that spans at least a decade, potentially taking him to his age-40 season. Either way, there’s a lot of risk – and a lot of dollars – at play. The ceiling is high, don’t get me wrong, but if it ends up being one of those signings that don’t work out, the Cubs could find themselves behind the 8-ball for years to come.

Meanwhile, Story is projected to settle for less than half what Correa is looking for. MLBTR predicted the two-time All-Star would end up taking home a six-year, $126 million deal in free agency. Here’s what that could mean for the Chicago Cubs.

We know that a lot of you are terrified of another free agent signing that lasts the better part of a decade. Jason Heyward’s eight-year, $184 million pact was enough to make you think more like the Cubs’ front office, which is said to be very wary of those types of contracts.

Chicago Cubs: Carlos Correa v. Trevor Story should be a heated discussion

But thinking about a five or six-year deal is different, especially when it doesn’t cost $40 million a year. Adding Story for somewhere in that $20-$23 million AAV range will A) give the team more resources to add in other ways and B) be a much lower-risk move. If the signing winds up as a bust, Chicago could still be competitive with that deal on the books.

Since the start of 2018, Story has amassed 19.9 WAR, according to Baseball Reference. During that same span, Correa clocked in at 15.7 WAR – with nearly half (7.2) coming this year alone. Now, Correa is two years younger, which is something to seriously consider, but in keeping Story on a six-year deal, he’d be off the books after his age-35 season.

Next. Is any player in baseball really worth $40 million annually?. dark

All I’m saying is this: yes, Correa would look amazing as the next centerpiece on the North Side. But if the Cubs can manage to get close to the same level of production for less than half the cost, you have to seriously consider it. Story could keep the books in a much more fluid spot moving forward, hopefully allowing the front office to avoid being in the position we saw in recent years: competitive, with needs – but unable to address them in meaningful ways.