We're now more than 5 months removed from the Cubs' trade for Jeimer Candelario - which, sadly, marked the team's last big league addition. As the only MLB team yet to add to its big league roster this winter, the clock is ticking for Jed Hoyer and the front office to start putting the pieces into place before the team reports to Arizona in a little more than a month.
All offseason, it's felt like the team's fate has been at least somewhat intertwined with that of the Blue Jays, especially after Toronto lost out on Shohei Ohtani. But the latest report out of Canada suggests the Jays are done playing the waiting game with Cody Bellinger and Scott Boras - which makes a reunion between the NL Comeback Player of the Year and the Cubs easier to envision.
"According to industry sources, Joc Pederson is drawing serious interest from the Blue Jays, whose greatest need is offence at this point in the off-season. While interest has picked up in recent days, other win-now teams are believed to be competing with the Blue Jays in the outfield/DH market, including the Diamondbacks, the Angels and the Giants. "- Ben Nicholson-Smith, Sportsnet
Pederson, who Cubs fans will remember from his brief stint in Chicago in the first half of the 2021 season, set the world on fire with the Giants in 2022 before coming back to earth a bit last year, with a still-above average 111 OPS+ for San Francisco.
Joc Pederson drawing interest across the league - here's what it means for the Cubs and Cody Bellinger
A more cost-effective alternative on the free agent market, at least in terms of power bats, Pederson will share a lot of interested suitors with guys like JD Martinez, Justin Turner and Jorge Soler given he was primarily the Giants' DH in 2023.
There could potentially be a fit for the Cubs there, too, as Nicholson-Smith points out in his piece, but that would obviously mean Chicago missed on Bellinger. Heading into the winter, it felt like Bellinger would end up in the Bronx, but then the Yankees pulled off the Juan Soto blockbuster. Then, it seemed like the Giants would be all over him - only to see San Francisco sign KBO outfielder Jung Hoo Lee to a massive deal.
Toronto hasn't made a big splash like that, but bringing back Kevin Kiermaier on a one-year deal and, at the very least, kicking the tires on Pederson shows that the Jays aren't going to play Boras' waiting game. It appears the team has pivoted to a 'spread the wealth' approach, rather than pushing their chips in on one big name - and that could bode well for the Cubs.