The Chicago Cubs may have some serious competition in their quest to land one of the top four free-agent shortstops as the San Diego Padres have emerged as a legitimate contender to sign Trea Turner. On Friday, we learned that the Philadelphia Phillies are set to meet with each of the top four free-agent shortstops--Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson--ahead of the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings that begin on Sunday, and today, we learn that the San Diego Padres have already met twice with Turner in person.
"The Padres have met with free-agent shortstop Trea Turner twice in person before next week’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, major-league sources told The Athletic, signaling that an unexpected suitor has a legitimate interest in signing a player who could command this offseason’s second-largest contract. It’s unclear exactly when and where the Padres sat down with Turner, though those conversations did not take place in San Diego, sources said. But the fact that there have been multiple meetings suggests some level of mutual interest."- The Athletic
The Padres would be a unique entrant into the sweepstakes for the free-agent shortstops. With Fernando Tatis Jr suspended for the first part of the 2023 Major League Baseball regular season, the Padres could look to add a shortstop this offseason with the ultimate goal of shifting the free agent to third base. The Padres may have already broached that idea with Bogaerts but the former Boston Red Sox shortstop is not believed to be interest in changing positions.
Turner, who has long-been rumored to sign with the Phillies this offseason, signing with the Padres may throw the free-agent market for the shortstops upside down.
For reasons that have been stressed since the offseason began, the Cubs can not afford to miss out on each of the top four free-agent shortstops. If they do, then there is a legitimate reason to be concerned with the direction that this team is headed. It is fair to be skeptical of the lack of noise surrounding the Cubs this offseason and the top free agents, but the noise does not always equate to moves. If the moves made by the Cubs are more of the same as we have seen in recent offseasons, then questions regarding the sustainability of the Major League team under the ownership of The Ricketts family will need to come into focus.