Contending Teams Which Have Had Worse Offseasons Than the Cubs So Far
Here is a chart of the mood of Cubs Twitter since Mark Feinsand’s report that the Cubs might sign two free-agent shortstops this winter: 📉
Since that report, Aaron Judge (née Arson) re-signed with the Yankees, pushing the Giants further into the mix for Carlos Correa, and the Padres signed Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year deal. More reporting has come out that, while the Cubs are still in on Correa and Dansby Swanson, they appear reluctant to sign free agents to long-term deals.
It’s possible that the Cubs meet Correa’s demands (they should). It feels more likely at this moment that they sign Swanson (who I’m a bigger fan of than most) or are shut out of the free-agent shortstop market entirely. Regardless, the offseason is far from over, and I wanted to illustrate that by looking at six contending teams who have done less than the Cubs this offseason so far.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers brought back Clayton Kershaw while losing Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Tyler Anderson, and Andrew Heaney. They aren’t in danger of missing the playoffs; teams that win 111 games can afford to lose some players. We’re used to the Dodgers improving continuously, however, and they have taken a step back while indicating that they’re wary of signing Correa.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants feel like the most likely destination for Correa, but unless or until they sign him, their biggest move is signing Mitch Haniger. The Giants have been indicating a willingness to spend big for a while now without actually doing so. If they go another winter without making a big acquisition, it will be frustrating for the fan base.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays have traded from a position of strength (their outfield) to shore up a weakness (their bullpen). The net effect of their moves is replacing Teoscar Hernández with Kevin Kiermaier and Erik Swanson, which seems like a largely lateral move. The Blue Jays have a good team that could be a great team, and it’s odd that they haven’t made a bigger step toward that goal.
After achieving their first winning season in years and beginning to graduate prospects from what remains the top farm system in baseball, the Orioles have signed…Kyle Gibson. I was expecting the Orioles to make a big splash this winter, with one of baseball’s lowest payrolls and an up-and-coming young core. They still seem like a logical landing spot for Carlos Rodón, but their offseason has been a big disappointment.
The Brewers exchanged Kolten Wong for Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro and dumped Hunter Renfroe for relief prospects. It’s hard for me to believe that either of those moves will significantly help the 2023 team as their two aces take another step toward free agency.
Boston Red Sox
Unlike many of the other teams on this list, the Red Sox have made moves to improve their team, bringing in Chris Martin and Kenley Jansen to fortify their bullpen and Masataka Yoshida as significant upgrade in left field. However, two years after losing Mookie Betts (and one year before potentially losing Rafael Devers), the Red Sox have let another star player head west.
The Red Sox are the most debatable entry on this list. If the Cubs do nothing more significant over the winter it’s possible that the Red Sox will end up with the better offseason. Still, losing Xander Bogaerts hurts the team more than losing Willson Contreras hurts the Cubs, and I didn’t love the Yoshida signing from a value perspective.
I intend this post to serve two purposes: first, to point out that there is a lot of offseason left, which applies to the Cubs as well as the above teams. Second, misery loves company, and the Cubs are not alone in their lack of significant upgrades thus far.
They should still sign Carlos Correa.