Yesterday, Bruce Levine hopped on 670 The Score to discuss several topics as the Chicago Cubs continue to push on this offseason. Most notably, the Cubs are looking to continue spending and add this winter to an already much-improved roster from just a season ago. After the signings of Cody Bellinger, Jameson Taillon, Brad Boxberger, and now Dansby Swanson, the Cubs look to spend.
""We are probably more right-handed than would be ideal right now,” Hoyer said. “That is probably fair to say.” "- Jed Hoyer via Bruce Levine
Among those listed is no surprise to see Michael Conforto and Domonic Smith who the Cubs have been loosely tied to this winter. The other name that may come as somewhat of a surprise is Eric Hosmer. Given that he's a left-handed first baseman, it's hard to see a perfect fit on the roster. Adding an everyday lefty in Hosmer begins to raise questions about the confidence in Matt Mervis who would then have to primarily serve as the team's designated hitter.
I understand the defensive mindset the Cubs are trying to instill, which is excellent. Hosmer is a four-time Gold Glove winner. Aside from that, where he lacks in pop, he still slashes a career .277/.336/.428. His batting average is 34 points above league average, and his on-base percentage alone benefits a team that ranked just 17th in OBP with a mark of .310 collectively. I have no qualms with Hosmer being inserted into the lineup if it means Matt Mervis isn't being blocked from having at-bats. If you elect Hosmer at first base and Mervis at DH, it essentially rules out a spot for Michael Conforto, who is looking for as much playing time as possible to build back his stock for a contract next winter. He wouldn't find an everyday role with the Cubs at that point, with three outfielders already locked in for the Cubs.
Elsewhere, the Cubs are interested in more defense-oriented catchers such as Tucker Barnhart and Robert Perez. Both have earned two Gold Gloves and can frame pitches well. Jorge Alfaro was also mentioned as a name of interest. The possibility was still there at the time of the podcast for the Cubs to reach out to the Mets regarding James McCann, but he was just traded to the Baltimore Orioles. It's becoming evident that the Cubs will be adding a catcher via free agency this winter unless they go big and reach out to Toronto, which they still may be reluctant to do at this point.
All in all, the Cubs are not done spending by any means. Jed Hoyer didn't list a set dollar amount he's willing to go to but adding Hosmer, who the San Diego Padres are still responsible for financially, is an excellent place to start to save dollars for corresponding moves. If you can land Conforto, who may wind up in Texas as a Ranger, you go that route first. Bruce Levine states that multiple signings are still expected. The shape of the Cubs roster should only improve as we continue pushing on this winter.