Cubs, 2 superstar free agents-to-be have ‘mutual interest’

(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /

After two straight years of desperately latching onto every scrap of news and each whisper of a rumor mentioning the Cubs, it feels like Chicago will return to flexing its financial muscle this winter.

According to David Kaplan, there are two specific free agents who share mutual interest with potentially coming to the Cubs this winter – and they’d address the team’s two biggest areas of concern heading into the offseason: shortstop and a top-of-the-line starting pitcher.

"“Heard something interesting today. Trea Turner? Definitely interested in the Cubs. Definitely. And the Cubs? Mutually interested in Trea Turner … And guess who else is interested in the Cubs? Carlos Rodon. Yes. Loved pitching in Chicago. Knows that the Cubs are a team with some players coming out of the system, and they need a top of the rotation arm … But I’m just telling you: This team is going to spend, I’m told. For sure. And those are two of the guys they’re targeting.”"

The Cubs were speculatively linked to Rodon last winter, although nothing substantive ever really gained traction. Really, those rumors were based solely in Chicago’s need when it came to starting pitching and little else. Of course, Jed Hoyer went out and added Marcus Stroman to anchor the rotation, also signing Wade Miley and Drew Smyly as depth pieces, while Rodon went to the Giants on a two-year, $44 million deal with an opt-out after this year.

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Now, someone like Jacob deGrom would certainly be the sexier (and exponentially costlier) choice when it comes to free agent starting pitchers. But someone like Rodon, who has shown he’s healthy and capable of putting up quality numbers in San Francisco this year, seems a likelier option.

The left-hander has amassed 5.1 bWAR, going 13-8 with a 2.84 ERA across a career-high 167 2/3 innings of work, leading the league with 29 starts in the process. He’ll turn 30 in December, but don’t be surprised to see the Cubs dangle a five-year offer this winter in hopes of bringing him back to Chicago, the city where he spent the first seven years of his career on the South Side.

As for Turner, he represents the entire package. A two-time batting champion with 80-grade speed, the 29-year-old infielder could immediately elevate the Cubs lineup. A career .303 hitter, Turner has thrived in Los Angeles, already boasting a personal-best 96 RBI in that loaded Dodgers lineup. Slotting this guy in at short with Nico Hoerner at second would give Chicago one of the best middle infield tandems in all of baseball.

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Now, will these two guys alone turn the Cubs into legitimate contenders? No. But it would send a resounding message that the team is ready to turn the page and start playing competitive baseball again which, for a lot of reasons, is an important one to send heading into 2023.