Looking at the deals that are done and the free agents remaining on the board, it’s become clear that the Chicago Cubs offseason relies, in part, on the actions of the San Diego Padres. We’ve previously discussed how the Cubs could try to buy prospects from the Friars by taking on Eric Hosmer’s salary, but the connections go beyond the salary dump.
Between their similar free agent pursuits and potential actions, the Padres could completely change how Jed Hoyer and company approach the rest of the offseason. This isn’t to say San Diego can completely torch everything the team is hoping to do before opening day, but they’re sitting in a unique position where they can throw a wrench in the gears or open the door for the Cubs to make certain deals.
Cubs: Team’s biggest pursuits tied to the Padres’ looming decisions
Of course, one of the biggest ties between the two clubs was outfielder Seiya Suzuki. The Padres were long viewed as favorites to land the Japanese outfielder, but the Cubs came out on top after Tom Ricketts personally met with Suzuki in a grand overture earlier this week. This was your typical free agent competition, but from here, the web only gets more tangled.
The Padres are also rumored to have serious interest in former Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. Assuming they go hard to land Freeman, it’s a near-certainty that, barring a change of direction from ownership, San Diego would have to shed a bad contract (or two). That’d be an ideal outcome for the Cubs, who are a prime candidate to take on those deals in exchange for prospects.
A serious Freeman pursuit would really expedite Hosmer’s trip out of town though, leaving him with little room on the Padres roster. You could also see San Diego look to shed Wil Myers’ contract, but it would likely take much less to get a team to bite there as he’s heading into the final guaranteed year of his deal.
Beyond implications on prospect buying, Freeman’s decision is important because of how it may be holding up free agency in general. The Padres have the opportunity to knock down that chain of dominos, adding just another wrinkle to how the offseason shakes out in Chicago. Once that decision is made, the outfield market, which both teams remain active in, will likely become more active, once more pitting these two together.
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With Suzuki in Chicago, the Padres could intensify their pursuit of someone like Freeman – or even former Cubs star Kris Bryant. Regardless, these two teams have been linked intricately for months now and that doesn’t figure to change anytime soon.