Cubs Rumors: Michael Conforto, Christian Vazquez Being Considered in Free Agency

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVNovember 25, 2022

Michael Conforto
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Outfielder Michael Conforto and catcher Christian Vázquez are reportedly among the Chicago Cubs' group of free-agent targets.

Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported Thursday the Cubs have been in contact with both players, and in the case of Conforto, he's seeking a two-year contract with an opt-out clause after 2023.

Chicago finished with a 74-88 record in 2022, which left the club 13 games out of a playoff spot in the National League.

The biggest question entering the offseason was whether the club would try to make a major splash in free agency to accelerate its roster reconstruction or if the front office would opt for a more modest winter to continue a slow building process.

Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported last week the Cubs were linked to all four of the big-name shortstops on the free-agent market: Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson.

Signing one of those marquee targets would be a sign Chicago is trying to turn a corner in 2023.

On the flip side, an offseason headlined by additions like Conforto and Vázquez likely would point toward another rebuilding year for the North Siders.

Conforto, 29, missed the entire 2022 season while recovering from a shoulder injury. In 2021 with the New York Mets, he compiled a .232/.344/.384 slash line with 14 home runs in 125 games. His 1.4 WAR was his lowest figure since 2016, according to FanGraphs.

Vázquez, 32, hasn't been a major threat at the plate throughout his career aside from a 23-homer season for the Boston Red Sox in 2019, but he's a high-end defender behind the dish. His 11 defensive runs saved in 2022 ranked tied for fourth among catchers, per FanGraphs.

The Cubs have a need at both catcher and designated hitter, so Conforto and Vázquez would be solid upgrades, they just don't represent the type of game-changing additions the club needs to push toward contention in the immediate future.

That said, adding both of them along with one of the star shortstops could start to create a little buzz in Chicago.