What happens if the Cubs wind up passing on Carlos Correa?

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The lockout has put fanbases around the league in a constant, on-edge, state as we all anxiously await for players to be able to sign again.  Chicago Cubs fans are no different, as the team has been consistently linked with top free agent Carlos Correa. The move would help boost the rebuild and would rejuvenate a fanbase that had become somewhat disillusioned with everything about the team over the last few years.

The constant linkage of Correa to Chicago has put everyone in a frenzied state, with a lot of folks beginning to assume it’ll happen, Ken Rosenthal recently shot a crippling dose of reality back into the situation, though. While this certainly doesn’t mean the Cubs won’t sign Correa, it does force us to confront a situation about what happens if Chicago doesn’t bring him into the fold.

The first and most immediate issue is what the Cubs would do at shortstop. This, luckily, is probably the easiest question to answer. Nico Hoerner would likely slot in as the Opening Day shortstop, with Sergio Alcantara and David Bote being backup options at the position. An outside acquisition at short other than Correa likely wouldn’t be a worthwhile upgrade, and the team would be better served sticking with in-house options.

Another question would be whether or not the Cubs would be willing to address other holes on the team. The team obviously will still have a multitude of upgrades to be made to get back into contention. Outfield, in particular, would be a potential area to upgrade, with several big names still out there as options such as Michael Conforto, or even Kyle Schwarber.

Chicago Cubs only want Carlos Correa at their preferred price tag

As Rosenthal alluded to in the same podcast, however, he said that the Cubs would not be willing to go into bidding wars. If they aren’t willing to get Correa at their own price, it’s hard to imagine they’d be willing to meet anyone else’s price.

Another question that could be posed should Correa not be signed is what the timeline could realistically be for the rebuild. If Correa is brought in, you’re sending a message that it’s going to be a quick turn. The Cubs would be a pesky team this year as more of the farm gets major league-ready with a potential eye on making a run as early as 2023.

If Correa lands elsewhere, though, the timeline becomes hazy. Could the Cubs potentially be tanking another year and then perhaps make a run at someone like Trea Turner next offseason? Is the plan to grow completely from within? There’s a lot of different scenarios that can arise from losing out on Correa, and they would alter the rebuild timeline completely.

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The Cubs are still likely to be in on Correa until the end, but there is still a very real possibility the team swings and misses on him. It’s important for the team to be ready for either scenario, but it really makes much more sense to have Correa as a cornerstone for the next era of the team rather than saving money for the future. But the Cubs may, for one reason or another, feel differently, and they’ll have questions to answer if they don’t.