The Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies have gotten off to tough starts in the 2022 season, but help could be coming over the winter.
An MLB general manager told Bob Nightengale of USA Today they expect both teams to be major suitors for a strong crop of free-agent shortstops that likely will include Trea Turner, Carlos Correa and Xander Bogaerts (the latter two have opt-out clauses).
"I guarantee you they’re going to get one of them," the GM said of the Cubs.
The 23-31 Cubs have been utilizing the 25-year-old Nico Hoerner at shortstop, and while he's been solid (.290 with three homers and 16 RBI), he could also be bumped to second base if the team brings in an elite option at the position.
The 24-29 Phillies, meanwhile, have relied on Didi Gregorius (.288 with seven RBI) when healthy and Johan Camargo (.246 with three homers and 15 RBI) when Gregorius has been unavailable because of injuries. But the team could clearly use both an offensive and defensive upgrade at the position, even if a woeful bullpen is the team's biggest weakness.
Turner, Correa and Bogaerts should have a vibrant market, meanwhile.
Turner, 28, was an All-Star in 2021 after hitting .328 with 28 homers, 77 RBI, 107 runs, 195 hits and 32 stolen bases between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers. He's one of the more dangerous offensive weapons in baseball, especially if his added power last season wasn't simply an outlier but a trend going forward.
Correa, 27, is a two-time All-Star, a champion, a Gold Glove winner and was the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year. He perhaps didn't receive the market he was hoping for ahead of this season, ultimately signing a three-year, $105.3 million deal with the Minnesota Twins that included player options for 2023 and 2024.
He seems likely to test that market again in pursuit of a long-term deal.
Finally, the 29-year-old Bogaerts is a three-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger award winner a and two-time champion, and it would be somewhat shocking to see the Red Sox let him walk.
But Boston has hardly bent over backward to keep its own stars in place after trading Mookie Betts to the Dodgers, and this offseason's signing of Trevor Story perhaps foreshadowed Boston's willingness to part ways with Bogaerts, especially with a long-term extension looming for 25-year-old superstar Rafael Devers.