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You get what you don't pay for
The Giants got a star the old fashioned way. By buying one.
Two things doomed the Cubs’ pursuit of very new, very rich Giants shortstop Carlos Correa. One, he said he wasn’t interested in being a part of a rebuild, and two, the Cubs didn’t want to pay him enough money for enough years.
A certain segment of Cubs apologists will focus on number one, while honestly, it’s just as frustrating as number two.
The reality is that the Cubs want a superstar, they just don’t want to pay one. They liked it when they had an MVP on their roster playing on his rookie deal.
Even if the thing that kept Correa from signing with the Cubs was that he didn’t want to play for a rebuilding team (it wasn’t, it was the money), that was the Cubs’ fault, too. They shouldn’t be rebuilding. They chose to trade their best players for prospects, and weren’t interested in getting big league ready players. When they did that, they had to know that the only way they were going to get a star was either to get lucky and draft one, or to pay for them, and now they refuse to pay what it takes to get one.
The deal the Giants signed Correa to is not insane. It’s 13 years, $340 million. Of course that’s a lot of money, but the average annual value (which is what really matters in the current CBA) is “only” $26.9 million. Marcus Stroman’s AAV is $23.7 million. I’d kick in the extra money myself (if asked) to go from Stroman to Correa.
And the Cubs aren’t paying anybody else close to $20 million per year. Currently, the highest paid Cubs, on a yearly basis are Seiya Suzuki and Jameson Taillon at $17 million. Cody Bellinger is going to get $17.5 million but $5.5 half of that is his buyout, so his actual salary for 2023 is just $12 million.
Kyle Hendricks will get $13.8 million to either pitch, or rehab whatever the hell Driveline’s weighted balls do to his shoulder.
OK, Kyle’s growth plates have probably closed by now, but you get the idea. The Cubs are a team with major market revenues who refuse to pay major market prices on players.
We knew the Correa deal was winding down when his agent, Scott Boras, started floating rumors that the Mets were suddenly in on him. That’s a common (and effective) Boras tactic to get a team over the finish line. In this case, the Giants had the highest offer. Boras wanted to squeeze a little more out of them. He pretends the Mets are in. The Giants know better, but still give a little more and it’s done. Yes, the Giants will be paying a shortstop until he’s 40. That’s the cost of doing business. One the Cubs refuse to pay. Will $26.9 million even be that out of whack in 2037?
I thought the teams at the finish line last night were the Twins and Cubs, and that the Twins would put on their big boy pants and sign Correa, leaving the Cubs in panic mode to go after Dansby Swanson.
Instead, it was the Giants. But it’s bad for the Cubs, because the deals for Correa, Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts have all driven up Swanson’s price. He costs more than he did and he’s not any better. HIs AAV is going to end up over $20 million, maybe even close to $25 million and if the Cubs wouldn’t pay that for a much better player in Correa, why would they pay it for Swanson?
It’s not like the Cubs didn’t tear their roster down without a plan. They had a plan. It was just one made up of fantastical bullshit.
Jed sat on his race car bed with a note pad, lying on his stomach kicking his feet together as he dreamt of trading Kris Bryant and Javy Baez and Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo for great young talent and then when free agents saw the exciting young team he’d built, they’d take less money from him to come join in on the fun and it would all be great.
And, shockingly, none of it has happened. The Cubs maybe got a good young player for Baez, they might have gotten a decent player for Rizzo, they got nothing for Schwarber at all and the return for Bryant was last seen lying in a heap in the first base coaching box in a Dominican Winter League game.
And surprise, it turns out free agents want more money to come to the Cubs than other teams because the Cubs are bad.
Here’s what Tom Ricketts should have done with Jed when he turned in his plan.
The offseason has been a complete disaster. But hey, it’s only December 14. It can still get worse.