The Chicago Cubs were able to complete two free-agent signings at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings as the team signed former National League MVP outfielder Cody Bellinger to a one-year deal worth $17.5MM and veteran starting pitcher Jameson Taillon to a four-year deal worth $68MM.
One item on the Cubs' to-do list that was unable to be scratched off was the addition of one of the premium free-agent shortstops. The Winter Meetings saw both Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts sign lucrative 11-year deals with the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres respectively. The Cubs remain focused on trying to land one of the two premium free-agent shortstops remaining in Carlos Correa or Dansby Swanson.
That would be the reason why the Cubs get an incomplete grade for their activity at the Winter Meetings. The signing of a veteran pitcher like Taillon signals that the team is ready to contend and feels confident in their ability to land Correa or Swanson. If that happens, then the team's Winter Meetings signings were a success. If not, then the question will remain regarding what exactly the plan is for the team at the Major League level.
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Willson Contreras is now catching with the St. Louis Cardinals and the overwhelming question for Chicago Cubs' fans has been what went wrong between the Cubs and Contreras. The fans asking that question must have gone deaf over the past two years regarding everything the Cubs have said about what they want out of the catching position.
Contreras' was a liability for the Cubs' pitching staff. Based on the numbers above, the Cubs feel like having a catcher that can manage a pitching staff is more valuable than a catcher that has a primary value to a team because of his bat. That is the reason why the Cubs had no interest in bringing Contreras back.
Jason Heyward signs with the Los Angeles Dodgers
Jason Heyward has signed a minor-league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and considering the Dodgers are Cody Bellinger's former team, that has once again allowed for a misguided conversation. First and foremost, Heyward had a negative defensive value while playing center field for the Cubs last season. Secondly, Bellinger's signing does not nearly carry the same weight that Heyward's signing had with the Cubs. Bellinger, despite the reputation of his name, is a stopgap option for the Cubs in center field in 2023.
New York Mets still spending
The New York Mets made the biggest move on Thursday as they brought back center fielder Brandon Nimmo.
Former Cubs' closer David Robertson is also joining the Mets.