With day two in full swing after a groundbreaking report of Justin Verlander signing with the New York Mets, the market figures to be in full swing. Verlander's contract is a reported 86.0MM with a vesting option for a third year. I am not so much surprised that Verlander is receiving 43.0MM a season. More so, by the way, the rest of the market has panned out this winter. Regarding the Chicago Cubs, It's time to revisit the ideology of "spending intelligently" and how it could make or break the team in 2023.
Granted, It's only the second day of the Winter Meetings. There are several key free agents still on the board. You should not assume the Cubs aren't going to land anybody of significance. Especially given how soon it still is into the winter, after an offer to Abreu was made, followed by one to Bogaerts, the Cubs are certainly after it. However, the Cubs took the spending intelligently approach with Abreu, and they were outbid. They are hot on the trails of both Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson. It's been reported the former was to have been made an offer last night, which we haven't heard many details of yet.
What worries me most is the Cubs trying to take a modest approach and consistently getting outbid in the open market the way they did with Abreu. Glancing over the starting pitching market thus far, several pitchers have already gotten paid more than we otherwise thought they might. Clevinger is getting 12.0M. Matthew Boyd is getting 10.0M. Eflin is getting 13.0M. The market is robust for pitchers especially.
Wanting to spend intelligently may backfire on the Chicago Cubs.
Spending intelligently is a fantastic way to set yourself up perfectly to compete as soon as possible while leaving room to keep your competitive window open long-term. If you're going to be outbid consistently, you'll have to cross that threshold of overpaying for somebody if you want to have any chance of actually landing a solid piece for your team this winter. Simply put, if the Cubs refuse to pay up for guys that are high on their list of targets, spending intelligently may wind up burning them to the point that they wind up with nothing.
Again, this shouldn't be a worry at this juncture of free agency. There are still lots of dominos to fall that could help the Cubs complete in 2023. This is just something that the front office must keep in mind. Urgency seems the be the key word floating around regarding the Cubs' front office this winter. Assuming you can land any stud free agent for a modest price should be out the window after we've seen the high dollars being spent to this point.
Though the Cubs weren't in the market for Jacob deGrom and like aren't for Carlos Rodon, once Rodon signs, I firmly believe they will be in the thick of things with nearly every remaining upper-tier free agent. We know the Cubs need a center fielder, starting pitcher, catcher, first baseman, and a relief option. Hopefully, Jed Hoyer realizes he might have to drop the spending intelligently motto and get who they have circled at the top of their wish list.