What will the Cubs focus on as free agency finally resumes?

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Carlos Correa / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

What will the Cubs do first now that free agency and trades have resumed?

Chicago had been connected to all kinds of rumors – even during the lockout. They could go big and pursue Carlos Correa – but with Boras Corporation now representing him and reportedly targeting a deal worth more than $325 million, it would be somewhat surprising to see Hoyer make this move.

That could prompt a pivot to Trevor Story, the other remaining marquee shortstop left standing. But he comes with his share of Coors Field concerns, not to mention questions over his defense in some regards. That all being said, he’s not going to cost you $300+ million either.

But where Chicago could really stand to bring in the reinforcements is in the outfield and bullpen. Jason Heyward, Ian Happ, Rafael Ortega, Nico Hoerner, Ramirez, Frazier and Hermosillo will all battle this spring for a job in the rotation – and top prospect Brennen Davis lurks on the horizon.

Heyward will reportedly take a step back in his role with the team, at least in regards to playing time, in 2022 – meaning there are likely reps to be had in right. One potential in-house solution could be platooning the veteran, who is notoriously poor against left-handed pitching, with Ortega, who hung a .900 OPS against southpaws last season.

Ian Happ will undoubtedly start somewhere in the outfield after finishing the season in furious fashion, ranking as one of the league’s most potent offensive presences down the stretch. In an ideal world, that’s in left – allowing the team to add a legitimate center fielder but, if not, Happ will likely be back in center along with Hoerner.

But should Hoyer want reinforcements, there are options. Former Cubs Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber could conceivably return – and Chicago has been connected to Michael Conforto here and there, as well. This is by no means an exhaustive list and I’m sure by weekend’s end, we’ll be looking at a laundry list of alternatives – but if the Cubs want to shore things up in the outfield, they should be able to.