If the Cubs are serious about acquiring Carlos Correa, it is becoming clear that a record-breaking contract will be required.
Are the Cubs and Carlos Correa being held back by financial issues?
Trea Turner agreed to terms with the Philadelphia Phillies for $300 million over the course of 11 years. The San Diego Padres then signed Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year, $280 million contract on the final night of this year’s Winter Meetings.
Turner and Bogaerts both have qualifying offers, and they are the two older of the top four shortstops in this year’s free agent class.
Bogaerts to Padres. $280M 11 years
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 8, 2022
That transaction made headlines, but it also demonstrated that MLB is as healthy as it has ever been. Owners can’t hide any longer; there’s no impending lockout or pandemic to justify not spending more money on free agency.
And, if the Cubs are serious about acquiring Carlos Correa, it’s’ becoming clear that a record-breaking contract will be required.
Consider that Correa is the youngest of the star free agent shortstops, turning 28 on Sept. 22, and whoever he chooses to sign with will not lose a draft pick or bonus pool money.
The New York Mets signed Francisco Lindor to a 10-year, $341 million contract extension on March 31, 2021, making Lindor the owner of the largest contract for a shortstop in MLB history. The Padres were reportedly willing to match that offer for Turner, but he declined and went to Philadelphia. After missing out on Turner and Aaron Judge, San Diego shifted its focus to Bogaerts, doing whatever it took. According to reports, the Padres had $400 million set aside for the Yankees outfielder.
You could argue that it is an overpayment, but who would you rather be right now? A Padres fan who just got another good player, or a Red Sox fan who has seen another of their home-grown stars leave Boston for financial reasons?
The Red Sox reportedly offered Bogaerts a contract worth less than $200 million.
According to a major league source, the Red Sox were “really far” from the Padres offer – and their offers were short of $200M. Just a huge gap in where the Padres went.
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) December 8, 2022
At this rate, it appears that the Cubs or whoever signs Correa will have to pay him the most money in baseball.
Who cares if you’re worried about the length of these deals? Get your star player first and worry about the rest later.
Please do not use Jason Heyward as an excuse not to pursue another top free agent. Consider the San Diego Padres. They signed first baseman Eric Hosmer to a massive contract that quickly turned sour. What exactly did they do? They dealt him to the Red Sox, ate a significant portion of his remaining contract, moved on, and continued to spend on top talent.
If you’re afraid of bad contracts, you’ll never get the best players available. That’s all there is to it. If a team is serious about competing, it must take risks.
The Cubs also have the benefit of not having to commit much long-term money. The contracts of Heyward, Kyle Hendricks, Cody Bellinger, Yan Gomes, Ian Happ, and, if Marcus Stroman opts out, will all be terminated after the 2023 season.
After Taillon and Bellinger, the #Cubs luxury tax payroll is up to $176.5M for 2023.
That puts them ~$54M below the first luxury tax threshold. Historically, they like to reserve $8-10M for in-season additions/contractual bonuses, so it's like they have $45M more to spend (1/2)
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) December 7, 2022
According to Gordon Wittenmyer, the Cubs, among other teams, have made an offer to Correa.