The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings begin on Sunday and that marks the beginning of what should be a pivotal week for the Chicago Cubs and their offseason. Unlike in previous offseasons where there has been speculation regarding the Cubs and whether or not they will spend actively in free agency, the team, this offseason, has set the expectation that money will be spent this offseason in order to return the team to contention in 2023. As rumors surface regarding potential Cubs' targets like shortstop Trea Turner signing with a different team, fans are naturally growing pessimistic over the Cubs' chances of having a successful off-season.
While there is reason to be antsy over what the Cubs do this offseason, there is also reason to be cautious when analyzing the rumors that are surfacing and the lack of Cubs connections. Take a look at the major free-agent signings of recent memory for the Cubs--Jon Lester, Jason Heyward, Yu Darvish, Marcus Stroman, and Seiya Suzuki--in each case, the Cubs were barely connected to any of those players before the signings were reported.
Yes, Lester made sense for the Cubs at the time of his free agency, but there was an overwhelming expectation that he would return to the Boston Red Sox or sign with San Francisco Giants. Ditto for Heyward in the next offseason as there was an expectation that he would either sign with the Giants or return to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs were loosely connected to Darvish but his signing with the team in February of 2018 also was a surprise. Last offseason, the Cubs' interest in Stroman did not surface until the day that the signing was reported. Suzuki, meanwhile, was expected to sign with a west coast team such as the San Diego Padres.
All this to say that even though the Cubs may not be the loudest team in rumors, that doesn't mean they won't land their targets. Time will tell and if we reach March and the Cubs have missed on most of their primary targets, then we will have a different discussion.
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Yesterday, we took a look at a potential designated hitter candidate for the Cubs in J.D. Martinez. Today, the designated hitter candidate that comes to mind is Joey Gallo. While with the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers last season, Gallo posted a slash line of .160/.280/.357/.638 while posting a wRC+ of 85 to go along with 19 home runs. Unlike Martinez, Gallo could give the Cubs some positional flexibility as well as he is capable of playing all three outfield positions and first base. Gallo shouldn't be a primary option for the Cubs and their need for offensive improvement this offseason but the ban on defensive shifts figures to boost his slash line in 2023 and makes him an ideal fallback option for teams in need of power.
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