Chicago Cubs Rumors: Pair of White Sox FAs may be targeted
The Major League Baseball deadline for teams to tender contracts to players on their 40-man roster without guaranteed deals for the 2023 season passed on Friday and the Chicago Cubs saw a new wave of players hit the free agent market. Naturally, for the Cubs, all eyes are on Cody Bellinger as the Los Angeles Dodgers elected not to tender a contract to the 2019 National League MVP, thus, making Bellinger a free agent. Bellinger has been at the top of the Cubs' wish list this offseason in terms of filling their centerfield needs.
While Bellinger certainly will dominate the headlines in regard to Cubs' rumors, the Chicago White Sox had a pair of non-tender decisions that could be of interest to the team. On Friday, White Sox outfielder Adam Engel and infielder Danny Mendick became free agents after neither player was tendered a contract by the team. Both players could fill a need for the team when healthy.
More former Chicago White Sox players appear to be fits with the Chicago Cubs
The Cubs, given their needs in centerfield, could view Engel as a potential fallback option in the event that they are unable to land one of their primary targets for the outfield such as Bellinger or fellow free agent Kevin Kiermaier. Engel, valued more for his defensive approach, would present a significant fielding upgrade for the Cubs in centerfield. Offensively, Engel does have plus speed but his slash line of .224/.269/.310/.580 in 260 plate appearances last season is indicative of his defensive skills being the primary contribution he provides to the team.
As we have discussed with the Cubs' interest in Bellinger, the team should value defense as their priority for centerfield position in 2023. The Cubs can find their offensive upgrades this offseason with the targets they have at the shortstop and first base positions.
Danny Mendick, if signed, would be more of a rehabilitation project for the Cubs as he suffered a torn ACL during the 2022 season. Prior to the ACL tear, Mendick appeared to be on the cusp of a breakout season as he had slash line of .289/.343/.443/.786 in 106 plate appearances with the White Sox last season. Mendick can not be counted on for any Major League contributions for the 2023 season but could be a low-risk, high-reward type move the Cubs may be willing to take a flier on for future seasons.