The Chicago Cubs have fooled their fanbase once again. For the past 12 months, the Cubs' front office has not been shy of leaking the idea that the team has circled the free-agent shortstop class of this offseason as the reason why the team will return to actively spending in order to contend in 2023. For the past three months, Cubs' chairman Tom Ricketts has smiled for the cameras, kissed babies, shaken hands and looked Cubs fans in the eye, and told the fanbase that the team will be active in free agency this offseason in order to return to contention. Just last week at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings, both team president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer and general manager Carter Hawkins spoke about how the team had offers on the table to free agents and that shortstops were being targeted.
What has happened since?
Trea Turner signed an 11-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies worth $300MM and it is not believed that the Cubs made an offer. Xander Bogaerts signed an 11-year offer worth $280MM and the Cubs never made an offer. Carlos Correa signed a 13-year offer worth $350MM and the Cubs never made an offer.
For at least three of the four premium free-agent shortstops on the market, the Cubs did not submit an offer. Not being willing to adapt your offseason approach is one thing, but not even responding to the invite is a whole different and much more concerning issue for the Cubs.
What is the Chicago Cubs' plan?
With the Cubs reportedly not submitting an offer to Turner, Bogaerts, and Correa, it stands to reason that free-agent shortstop Dansby Swanson may have been their primary target all along. Even if that is true, the Cubs' approach this offseason has been questionable as now they have pinned themselves in a corner where if they miss on Swanson, they will have struck out on each of the premium free-agent shortstops that were available this offseason.
For what it's worth, Buster Olney of ESPN had this to say regarding the Cubs' plan.
Get to know Chicago Cubs' shortstop prospect Cristian Hernandez
The Cubs continued their series featuring top prospects within their organization and this week's focus was on shortstop Cristian Hernandez.