Potential Cubs target Matt Chapman remains SF's top priority

With the San Francisco Giants a serious contender for Matt Chapman, Scott Boras is in position to force Jed Hoyer's hand.
Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game Two
Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game Two / David Berding/GettyImages

This winter it's been a roller coaster of emotion for Chicago Cubs fans. One moment, the team is a ghost and nowhere to be found; next, they spring into life, make a couple of big moves, and then drift back into the shadows once more. It's been over two weeks since the Cubs landed Michael Busch, a prospect they are relying heavily on to take the reigns at first base. With only two upper-tier bats on the free agent board connected to the Cubs, one of them is Matt Chapman, a top priority for the San Francisco Giants.

The San Francisco Chronicle (subscription required) mentions Chapman as the Giants' top position player target. If you've paid any attention to San Francisco the last couple of seasons, you'll know that when they get serious about somebody, they don't play around and shy away from opening the wallet when it comes time to pull the trigger.

When Rhys Hoskins signed with the Milwaukee Brewers, it made sense the Cubs had lost interest. Of course, believing that the team will re-sign Cody Bellinger, they didn't need Hoskins once they acquired Busch via trade. The problem is that you still have to re-sign Bellinger. Letting all your chips fall off the board and honing in on one player is a dangerous game. If Chapman signs elsewhere, the collar gets tighter for Jed Hoyer and the Cubs' front office.

Chicago Cubs: What is the hold up with signing somebody?

For all we know, Hoyer is planning a blockbuster trade we do not know about. We could blink and miss the breaking news tweet that the Chicago Cubs are in agreement with former MVP Cody Bellinger on a multi-year deal. Either way, as much as Hoyer preaches his intelligent spending philosophy, not spending could be just as catastrophic for the team's future as overspending.

I'm still on board with trusting Hoyer. He always prevails in the end. Still, if Chapman signs with San Francisco and it's down to Bellinger or bust, it is a failed offseason if Bellinger isn't brought back to Chicago at that point. The longer Hoyer waits, the more he has to play the Scott Boras leverage game of having nowhere else to turn. Boras, unfortunately, is in the perfect position to force Hoyer's hand. Get Chapman to ink a deal first; then, all that's left is the Cubs and Bellinger. Hoyer will be ok if He meets any other team's offer.

Inking Bellinger gives the team a core of Bellinger, Nico Hoerner, Ian Happ, Seiya Suzuki, Dansby Swanson, and Michael Busch. Adding in high-upside bats such as Christopher Morel gives this team one of the more potent lineups in baseball. If the Cubs are going to let Chapman head to San Francisco, they must be ready not to let Bellinger get away, even if it means spending more than you wish you had to if the alternative is not getting back to the postseason. They can't be considered a serious contender without another bat in their lineup.

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