Who blinks first post-lockout: Carlos Correa or the Chicago Cubs?

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

Once this lockout ends (whenever that may be) and the transaction freeze is lifted, things are going to get crazy. The Chicago Cubs aren’t alone in having a very unfinished product and you’re going to see an all-out sprint from teams looking to round out their rosters before the season starts.

Arguably the top free agent left standing, Carlos Correa, is looking to eclipse the 10-year, $341 million pact Francisco Lindor inked with the Mets last offseason. Side-by-side with agent Scott Boras, the former AL Rookie of the Year and reigning Platinum Glove winner faces a dwindling number of potential suitors – further complicating his efforts to land such a contract.

The three biggest organizations linked to Correa at different points of the winter are the Cubs, Yankees and Dodgers. Obviously, New York and Los Angeles have a… complicated history when it comes to Correa and the Astros. Houston could make a run at the fan favorite, but it would take a pretty insane short-term pact for that to happen.

Of course, that might end up being the best path forward for Correa: settle for a high-AAV, short-term pact and then test the free agent waters again in a year or two. But if you’re thinking that’s how Chicago lands him, you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment. Correa on a two-year deal doesn’t do anything to make this team a legitimate contender. There are just too many holes on the Cubs’ big league roster.

A five-to-seven year deal, though? That seems like the only path forward if Correa is going to call the North Side home. That range is rumored to be the Cubs’ sweet spot as far as length goes – with the team balking at the idea of handing anyone a decade-plus long deal this offseason.

Who blinks post-lockout? Scott Boras and Carlos Correa or Jed Hoyer?

This standoff will be one of the most interesting storylines to watch coming out of the lockout. In an ideal world, Correa and Boras would have had months of posturing and working the phones in hopes of lining up that record contract. Now, they’ll face a wildly condensed timeline, perhaps a matter of weeks, to accomplish that goal – hardly an easy task.

There’s no question the Cubs need a proven shortstop. Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal up the middle has potential, sure, but with both coming off injury-plagued 2021 seasons, a more proven presence would go a long way toward solidifying the lineup.

Next. What will it take to lure Juan Soto to Chicago?. dark

But, based on all the evidence, Jed Hoyer isn’t about to drop a bag of cash at Correa’s doorstep – especially if it’s one of those arrangements that eats a major chunk of the team’s payroll for the next decade. Will Correa cave in the face of a less-than-favorable market or will Hoyer see the face of the future in the superstar infielder?