With the Philadelphia Phillies seemingly in the drivers seat when it comes to Trea Turner, the Cubs have been most often linked to Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson of late. But a new report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today has the team's top priority as longtime Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
"The Chicago Cubs, who have boldly said they plan to build a contender, significantly raising their payroll, have Bogaerts as their top priority. Yet they are also exploring the market for Correa. The Cubs jumped into the Correa sweepstakes late in February before he signed a three-year, $105.3 million contract with the Minnesota Twins, and opted out after the season. "- Bob Nightengale, USA Today
Bogaerts, coming off a 5.8 bWAR season with the Sox, is a five-time Silver Slugger recipient, four-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion. He's not as young as Swanson or Correa, having just turned 30, but would be a major upgrade for a Cubs team looking to turn the corner on its latest rebuilding effort.
Cubs: Free agent Xander Bogaerts has a long history of success
MLB Trade Rumors predicted a seven-year, $189 million for Bogaerts at the onset of the offseason, but seeing how the dollars are flying around early on, it wouldn't shock me at all to see the team that comes away with his services handing out north of $200 million. Still, that's a far cry from the $300+ million Scott Boras is reportedly seeking for Correa, who seems likely to set the high water mark for this year's shortstop class.
Bogaerts showcased a dramatic defensive improvement in 2022, ranking in the 88th percentile in outs above average, although his work at the plate was a bit out of character in the sense his power output was well below his career marks. Still, he was an elite player - and one who could inject some badly-needed star power into the mix on the North Side.
The Winter Meetings are back after two lost years - and it'll be all eyes on this class of free agent shortstops, with all four still on the board as Major League Baseball front offices converge on San Diego this week armed with their offseason wish lists.