An interesting rumor surfaced for the Chicago Cubs offseason that the team is among those in play for free agent outfielder Michael Conforto. Admittedly, I struggled to see the fit of Conforto on the Cubs' in 2023 considering how the roster is currently structured but it is important that we not lose sight of the Cubs' goal this offseason: improved offensive production. If Conforto can return to being the player that hit nearly 30 home runs for three consecutive seasons, then perhaps, you can live with the less-than-ideal defensive fit.
The Conforto rumor continued a trend for the Cubs' offseason where the team has cast a wide net of free-agent targets. One scenario is that the Cubs are preparing multiple paths this off-season. A path where they are able to land one of the free-agent shortstops and address their offensive need with the signing. And, the other path is where they miss on each of the four free-agent shortstops and need to use their openings at first base, designated hitter, and centerfield to address their offensive needs. Signing Conforto would likely fall under the latter path.
Outside of the Conforto rumor on Friday, at Cubbies Crib, we took a look at the latest between the Minnesota Twins and Carlos Correa; broke down the latest from Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma in The Athletic; revisited the Cubs' offseason strategy in regard to spending on free agents; projected three pitching prospects that could have breakout performances in 2023; and, congratulated Cubs' top prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong on receiving Gold Glove honors.
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There was some movement on the first base market on Friday as the Pittsburgh Pirates signed 36-year-old Carlos Santana to a one-year deal worth $6.7MM.
The Cubs were not believed to be interested in Santana but have expressed interest in Jose Abreu, Trey Mancini, and Josh Bell. Abreu is believed to be the Cubs' primary target for first base next season and he likely will be in the market for a two-year deal with a $20MM AAV.
All remains quiet on the overall Major League Baseball front. There figures to be an uptick in rumors beginning next week as the Winter Meetings start a week from Monday.