The Chicago Cubs have been "among [the] most active teams in the shortstop market" in free agency, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported Saturday, noting they have spoken with agents for Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson.
The Cubs have struggled in each of the past two years, going 71-91 in 2021 and 74-88 in 2022. They had made the playoffs in five of six years, a stretch that included the team's first World Series win in 108 years in 2016.
The Cubs have long since dismantled their World Series core and spent far less on their roster recently. The team was third in Opening Day payroll in 2019 ($203.1 million) but fell to 14th in 2022 ($143.4 million), per Cot's Baseball Contracts.
If the Cubs are interested in Correa, Turner, Bogaerts and Swanson, then they may be interested in spending to contend again.
Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors on Thursday predicted contracts for the top 50 free agents, and he had all four shortstops getting paid. Correa topped that list at $288 million over nine years, followed by Turner ($268 million, eight years), Bogaerts ($189 million, seven years) and Swanson ($154 million, seven years). Three of four writers predicted Swanson would end up with the Cubs.
If the Cubs add a big-name shortstop, that could mean Nico Hoerner will move to second base. Hoerner led the team in WAR (4.5) last year, per Baseball Reference. He hit a team-high .281 with 10 home runs, 55 RBI and 20 stolen bases. He's just 25 years old and should be a cornerstone moving forward.
With the Cubs in danger of losing catcher Willson Contreras, a free agent who finished second on the team with 22 home runs last year, they need more power in the lineup. Chicago was ninth in home runs (159) in the National League and 10th in OPS (.698).
All four of the aforementioned players could help in that regard. Swanson had 25 homers with a .776 OPS in 162 games, while Correa (136 G, 22 HR, .834 OPS), Turner (160 G, 21 HR, .809 OPS) and Bogaerts (150 G, 15 HR, .833 OPS) provided great seasons at the dish too.
The Cubs apparently will be a team to watch as the shortstops who form a loaded free-agent class decide on their destinations.