A flurry of short-term signings could propel the Cubs back to October

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Going out and throwing wheelbarrows of cash at Carlos Correa won’t make this Chicago Cubs team legitimate contenders in 2022 – or even 2023 for that matter. Knowing that, it’s worth wondering what path Jed Hoyer will chart for his team coming out of the lockout.

"“I can see them signing a whole bunch of guys to shorter deals. Kind of like the 2013 Red Sox, if you go back to that,” Ken Rosenthal recently said on The Athletic Baseball Show podcast. “And then going about it that way, trying to stay competitive, while building up the farm and all of that.”"

Right out of the gates this offseason, we heard Hoyer and his front office are really looking to avoid locking themselves into any substantial long-term deals this winter. We saw that approach take shape with their signing of Marcus Stroman to a surprisingly short three-year deal that even contains an opt-out after year two. Virtually all predictions had the right-hander landing at least a five-year pact in free agency.

The team picked up Wade Miley off waivers – and exercised his $10 million team option for 2022. On the position player side of things, the only multi-year deal the Cubs have handed out went to veteran catcher Yan Gomes. That move was necessary for a variety of reasons, and that remains true regardless of what happens with Willson Contreras.

"“Shorter deals, that’s the key phrase here,” Rosenthal said. “If indeed the Cubs are going to take that course, I don’t expect that they’re going to get Correa done. And I know fans are going to think, ‘Well, maybe Correa will sign for shorter, because this has lingered and now he’s going to be available and a lot of the bigger free agents have signed, it’s going to be a mad rush with all the free agents.’"

Chicago Cubs: Carlos Correa doesn’t turn this team into a contender

Rosenthal went on to say he doesn’t expect Correa’s market to weaken – and that he doesn’t think the two-time All-Star will settle for a shorter term pact once the lockout ends. Another writer at The Athletic, Jim Bowden, recently pegged the Cubs as one of a handful of ‘best fits’ for Correa – but it’s hard to see the team walk the line between short-term additions while re-tooling and going all-in on Correa.

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Chicago, like most teams out there, are going to be moving quickly once the lockout finally concludes, whenever that might be. But instead of pushing all their chips to the center of the table and throwing a decade-long pact to the books, Hoyer might be looking to emulate his former franchise, which balanced reloading and staying competitive in a masterful fashion nearly a decade ago.