Cubs hoping to add starting center fielder; Active in the shortstop market

Cubs hoping to add starting center fielder; Active in the shortstop market

It’s shaping up to be a busy off-season for the Cubs as they look to rebuild in 2022 and improve on their 74-88 record. According to president of baseball operations Jed Hoare Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun-TimesWhile the Cubs are expected to add a starting center fielder MLB Network’s John Morosi reports The group that was most active early on in the shortstop market.

“We have guys internally who will definitely play there [in center]” Hower said, “But I think the lion’s share may come from the outside.”

Rafael Ortega And Christopher Morrell Most of the playing time was in the center this past season, but while both are under club control for next season, Hoare’s comments make it pretty clear that neither is moving forward as their center fielder. Ortega hit .241/.331/.358 with seven home runs, while Morel posted a .235/.308/.433 line with 16 home runs in his rookie campaign. Morell bounced around the infield positions, but neither posted positive defensive marks thanks to their work in center.

Many Cubs are top prospect outfielders, but they are at different stages of their development. Their top prospect, according to Fangraphs, is Pete Crowe-Armstrong in High-A Kevin Alcantara (3rd) is in the singular. Davis Burn And Alexander Canary Triple-A is their best outfield prospect, but both are injured and have uncertain timelines.

“Of course [Alexander] Canario’s injury and Brennan [Davis’] disaster, made it even more obvious,” Hoyer said.

As far as center field options go in free agency, the options aren’t particularly plentiful. Aaron is the judge The biggest name available, but he’s played a significant amount of center for the Yankees this season, making it seem unlikely the Cubs will be ready to make the splash needed to land him. Brandon NimmoA mix of elite on-base skills, solid power and adequate defense should make him a strong candidate, but even though he’ll be much cheaper than Judge, he’ll likely command a deal north of $100MM and there’ll be plenty of suitors to push his price.

Two less high profile names are considered Kevin Kiermaier And Cody BellingerAnd NBC Sports’ Gordon Wittenmyer reports Both of which are on the Cubs’ radar. Kiermaier, 33, is a free agent after the Rays declined his team option for 2023. While his previously elite defensive numbers have declined as he’s aged, he’s still a solid defender and would be a cheap stopgap option until he becomes one of the Cubs’ prospects. Be prepared. Bellinger could become a free agent soon if the Dodgers choose to non-tender him. He’s fallen off considerably from his 47-homer MVP year in 2019, posting a wRC+ of 47 and 83 the past two seasons, but is still a solid defender in center, and at 27, he’s young enough that a change of scenery might allow him. To rediscover some offensive talent.

While a big splash in center doesn’t appear likely, it could come at shortstop where the team is active for the top four options on the market – Tree Turner, Carlos Correa, Dansby Swanson And Xander Bogaerts. Wittenmaier’s report added that the Cubs apparently “love” Correa, dating back to the 2012 draft when they were eyeing him with the sixth pick before going first overall to the Astros. The 28-year-old had a strong platform year with the Twins, where he signed a short-term deal last winter after a long-term deal didn’t materialize. He’ll be looking at cash this winter, though, and it’s certainly possible that his contract will reach the $300MM range over nine or ten years.

used by the breed Nico Horner Great impact this year at shortstop. Hoerner was worth 11 defensive runs saved and an average of 13 outs at the position, but he could easily move to second base if the Cubs sign one of the aforementioned shortstops, and could take over at shortstop again if a new signing declines and has to switch positions.

Ultimately, it’s going to be a busy winter for the Cubs, and it won’t just stop at shortstop and center field. As Wittenmyer added, the Cubs have explored upgrading at first base and checked in with that Josh Bell And Trey ManciniWhile they are showing interest in improving their rotation Koudai Senga and reconciliation with the Left Drew Smiley. The Cubs payroll is currently projected at $126MM. According to RosterResources. That’s far less than the kind they spent during their championship years last decade, so as they begin to show progress in their rebuild, it’s no surprise to see them willing to flex their financial muscle again.

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