It'll be years, not dollars, that keep the Cubs from landing key free agents

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins
Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

When Jesse Rogers joined the CubsTalk podcast this week and poured some cold water on the prospect of the Cubs landing a primetime shortstop this year, specifically Carlos Correa, it obviously sparked plenty of discussion amongst fans looking for the team to start acting like what it is: a large market franchise capable of spending with the best of them.

"They're not top of the market. They're not pushing all their chips in on one of these guys ... Unless you're going to give them max money, they're not going to come.""

Jesse Rogers

Suggesting the Cubs wouldn't go to $250 million on a contract for Correa who, having just turned 28 is a perfect fit for the team both in the long and short-term, isn't notable in and of itself. Tom Ricketts and Jed Hoyer have been extremely hesitatant to shell out any major money since Theo Epstein left town, instead focusing on clearing out the books and re-stocking the farm system.

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Given that history, Rogers not believing Chicago will shell out what it takes to land Correa makes perfect sense. But the critical factor to keep an eye on here is contract length. For someone like Correa, you're not going to land him on a five or six-year deal after he settled for a one-year payday with Minnesota last winter. He's looking for that deal that potentially takes him into the twilight years of his career - something in the eight to 10-year range.

So, circling back to that $250 million number, it makes perfect sense the Cubs wouldn't be a player there - to get to that total amount on a deal, it simply takes too many years. At a bare minimum, you're talking about probably seven years (I doubt Hoyer is ready to pay Correa the $41.67 million annually it would take to get that dollar total in six years, although you can definitely make the case he should be). We know about this front office's aversion to long-term deals, so right there it becomes really difficult to come to that $250 million number.

Given his age, I think anything under seven years would be palatable for Chicago. At the end of that deal, Correa would be just 35 - allowing the Cubs to avoid an Albert Pujols or Miguel Cabrera-like situation, where you're paying guys way past the point of production. A seven-year, $250 million deal might be enough to get it done - which works out to $35.7 million annually. With essentially no long-term contracts on the books outside of Seiya Suzuki, the money is there, to be sure.

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At the end of the day, I think the Cubs are more than capable of giving out that $250 million deal. But they're not going 10 years for anybody - or anywhere close to that length, really. I still have hope they can strike a balance between being smart financially and doing what it takes to land their guy. But, then again, I've been wrong before.