With no concrete information - and a ton of conflicting reports - coming out of this week's MLB Winter Meetings, a melancholy and sometimes downright angry mood has gripped the Cubs fanbase.
No Shohei Ohtani, Juan Soto or Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Even the Tyler Glasnow trade rumors feel like they've been percalating for weeks without any change, only adding fuel to the fire when fans hear from Jon Morosi that the Cubs' big headliner this offseason could wind up being Rhys Hoskins.
There's nothing wrong with Hoskins being your answer to a very prominent first base problem. But it's a hard sell to a fanbase that hasn't had a household superstar name on the roster since Sammy Sosa in the late 1990s, despite being one of the most valuable organizations in MLB in recent years.
Rhys Hoskins fits the Cubs well, but isn't the attraction most hoped for
Now if Hoskins is a piece of the puzzle, paired with a Glasnow trade and maybe a reunion with Bellinger, it's at least a far more palatble outcome. But there will always be a contingent of fans who remain frustrated with the front office and ownership's unwillingness to go big on big names.
Even the team's 'star' signing last winter, shortstop Dansby Swanson, fell short of securing a franchise record guarantee - signing a seven-year, $177 pact with the Cubs. Jason Heyward's ill-fated eight-year, $184 million seems to have soured the well on that front, for better or worse.
Hoskins has discussed a one-year and multi-year possibilities with Chicago as he looks to re-establish himself after missing the entire 2023 season due to injury. No other free agent has been linked as consistently to the Cubs as the former Phillies first baseman, but if he winds up coming to town, it's going to feel like a consolation prize instead of a headliner.