The Seattle Mariners are exploring a possible reunion with first baseman Carlos Santana, and it's possible this could have a tie to what the Chicago Cubs are looking to accomplish this off-season.
The rumors make sense, given the growing number of teams presumably getting frustrated with Scott Boras' lack of movement regarding his clients to this point of the winter. It's no surprise that teams that have been connected to his clients are getting tired of playing the waiting game and maybe shifting focus away altogether.
Given that the Mariners were interested in Cubs free agent target Rhys Hoskins this winter, if the Mariners sign Santana this winter, it more than likely puts the nail in the coffin on Hoskins heading to the Emerald City. The Hoskins and Cody Bellinger duo still make sense for the Cubs, even though there may be a chance it will be one or the other for Chicago.
Given how the teams are starting to show interest in other players than they were previously, it may be playing in Jed Hoyer's master plan. The more teams opt out of waiting for a particular player, the more the Cubs can get a better price for their services by avoiding a bidding war while keeping the future bright in the process.
We've now seen teams shifting some degree of focus away from Boras clients twice, here with Seattle and Hoskins, and just recently when it was reported that the Toronto Blue Jays were showing interest in Joc Pederson after re-signing Kevin Kiermaier. Hoyer has been methodically waiting for a chance to strike a deal but won't do so if it means hindering his ball club down the road. Waiting until big market teams are finished shopping to swoop in for the rest is risky but genius if it works.
There's still ample time to have a successful offseason for the Cubs. The more teams look elsewhere to finish their offseason spending; the more Hoyer gets a chance to secure talent that helps push the needle forward for the team without spending top dollar for their services. Patience must be practiced now for Cubs fans, even if it seems like this winter has dragged on forever.