In an appearance on Foul Territory earlier this week (that I just got around to listening to this morning, thanks to half my house battling some sort of illness coming out of the holidays), national MLB insider Ken Rosenthal covered a wide range of topics, including the Chicago Cubs and their complete inaction to this point in the offseason.
Noting that they'd never publicly call themselves 'desperate', that's the category Chicago finds itself in, right alongside the San Francisco Giants - a team that has very publicly whiffed on multiple major free agents in recent years. After luring Craig Counsell to the North Side in early November via a record-breaking contract, Jed Hoyer is yet to make a single addition to the big league roster - and it hasn't gone unnoticed.
Cubs hoping to avoid overpaying on Scott Boras clients in free agency
Rosenthal says that Hoyer is trying to avoid the trap set by Scott Boras, who almost singlehandedly has the top of the free agent market in a stranglehold right now, representing Cody Bellinger, Rhys Hoskins, Matt Chapman, Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery. In order to avoid overpaying one of these guys, Rosenthal says he expects the Cubs to make 'at least 1' trade between now and Opening Day, tapping into its deep farm system.
"Their farm system now is at a point where they can possible make a trade, even two, and still feel relatively good about where they are. I don’t know if they want to get sucked into the Boras trap and have to bid up his clients, Bellinger being one of them. So I would expect them to make at least one trade."- Ken Rosenthal, Foul Territory
Chicago remains firmly in the mix for Bellinger's services - and that's not shocking as his standing as the top free agent bat on the market. They're also reportedly still involved in Japanese starter Shota Imanaga, who has less than a week before his signing deadline, so perhaps that's a hold-up in Jed Hoyer more seriously pursuing a trade.
Even if they land Imanaga, though, the lineup still needs to, at the very least, replace Bellinger (or re-sign him). And, in an ideal world, they not only do that, but add another complimentary bat (a la Hoskins) to bolster the offense heading into 2024. For now, though, we continue to do what we've done all offseason long: we wait.