As each day passes, we get closer and closer to the floodgates for Major League Baseball free agency opening and the Chicago Cubs are expected to have multiple irons in the fire as the league-wide expectation is that the team will spend actively in free agency.
While free agents are now free to sign with any team of their choosing, it usually takes several weeks for the market to develop and the top free agents likely do not find new homes until mid-December. The Cubs have been no strangers to the top free agents as they have already expressed interest in a plethora of top talents such as Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Dansby Swanson, Jose Abreu, and Kodai Senga.
The latest round of predictions comes from NBC Sports Chicago baseball insider Gordon Wittenmyer. Given the local connection that Wittenmyer has to the Cubs' organization, it is worth speculating that these predictions may have some form of inside information. Eyebrows should certainly raise with Wittenmyer predicting that the Cubs will land both Correa and current Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger in free agency this offseason.
In talking about his prediction of Correa to the Cubs, Wittenmyer had this to say:
"If Correa was a fit for the Cubs last year on a long-term deal (he was), he still is, as the youngest of the four elite shortstops in the marketplace — and without the qualifying offer that ties the three others to draft-pick compensation. The Cubs have liked this guy since working him out at Wrigley before the 2012 draft (when they were poised to take him at No. 6 before he went No. 1 overall)."- NBC Sports Chicago
Lost in this idea that the Cubs are unwilling to offer a long-term deal to free agents this offseason is the fact that they offered Correa a seven-year deal last offseason. At the very minimum, based on last year's logic, the Cubs should offer Correa at least six years. Wittenmyer offers the idea of an 8-year deal worth $290 million for the Cubs and Correa.
In addition to Correa, Wittenmyer also has the 2019 National League MVP in Bellinger pegged for the Cubs this offseason. Whether or not Bellinger reaches free agency this offseason will be determined by Friday when the Dodgers must decide whether or not to tender him a contract for 2023. Given his offensive struggles in recent seasons, the Dodgers are expected to non-tender Bellinger and avoid a price-tag of approximately $18MM for the 2023 season. If that is the case, the centerfield needy Cubs may offer the perfect short-term opportunity for Bellinger.