Cubs: Position battles, trades and free agency will create chaotic drama
Should there actually be a 2022 MLB season, there is bound to be a fun-filled free-agent frenzy shortly after an agreement is reached between the players and the owners.
I am looking forward to that. Rash decisions are bound to be made, and I am one who hopes that this includes one Carlos Correa, on the way to Chicago, but even if that doesn’t happen, I’m ready to mount my head on a swivel and merely transcribe the pickups, for use in my various articles.
It’s going to be war, you know. Teams will be climbing over one another to snare players of all kinds to fill out their rosters. Bullpen arms especially will be in vogue. The Chicago Cubs are going to need at least a couple. Maybe a starter of some kind, to fill things out. Hendricks, Stroman, Miley, Mr X, and the winner of the contest between Steele, Alzolay, Marquez… Mills, Thompson… with the others going to the pen to shore that area up.
And there will be trades, too, with teeth in them. The Cubs and Tampa look a likely duo. Outfielders could change locations. Michael Cerami has been thinking Kiermaier. I’d prefer Manuel Margot or even Austin Meadows if a deal could be struck, but none of those are horrible possibilities. Ryan O’Rourke in these pages opted for Taylor Walls. That isn’t bad, either. Center field is the biggest need unless you want to take Brennen Davis north. Kiermaier costs $12 million for 2022. Ouch. But he’ll vacate the spot for Davis, one would think, in 2023.
The Cubs’ outfield battles are going to be interesting. There are a lot of relatively unproven players jousting for positions. Rafael Ortega, Michael Hermosillo, Alfonso Rivas figure to be in the rotation, with Ian Happ manning a spot, and Jason Heyward presumably backing up in a more limited role. Wisdom can also play a passable corner, leaving the team with good flexibility, for a year or so, until the Cubs’ phenoms start coming up.
But the big story is the sharks set loose in the formerly calm seas of free agency, where they will commence the feast within minutes of the signed agreement being announced, if such an event takes place.
Where do such luminaries as Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant, Freddie Freeman, Trevor Story, Nick Castellanos go? What about Kyle Schwarber or Anthony Rizzo? Carlos Rondon? And for how much?
This is the kind of thing that keeps baseball writers up at night, under ordinary circumstances. Now everything just screams EYELID TIME! Why? The frenzy has not begun. There’s only the residue of blood in the water, in too few parts per million molecules for even Scott Boras to smell.
But, in the theater of my mind, it looms. And it’s going to be awesome.