Cubs Listed as Best Fit for 10 of Top-40 Free Agents - Sport News

Cubs Listed as Best Fit for 10 of Top-40 Free Agents

The Athletic’s Jim Bowden released his top-40 free agents rankings and including some current players on the team, the Cubs are listed as a possible fit for 10 of the top players who could be available through free agency this offseason.

The biggest name of course is Shohei Ohtani, the number one free agent this winter. Despite his late-season surgery, Ohtani is still predicted to obliterate the record for the largest contract in MLB history. So, without further ado here are the 10 top free agents that Bowden links to the Cubs, to go along with his contract predictions and then some quick thoughts on if they are good fits for the Cubs or not from me.

Shohei Ohtani

Age: 29
Rank: 1
Contract Prediction: 10 Years, $477 Million
Best Fits: Dodgers, Rangers, Mariners, Mets, Red Sox, Padres, Giants, Cubs, Phillies, Blue Jays

I mean, yeah, it’s probably unlikely that the Cubs end up with Shohei Ohtani because to me the Dodgers are the clear favorites, but we’ve seen several reports about the Cubs willing to play in this market and if there’s one guy who you give a gigantic contract to it’s Ohtani. It’s a low chance, but I won’t count out the Cubs right off the bat.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Age: 25
Rank: 2
Contract Prediction: 7 Years, $211 Million
Best Fits: Mets, Yankees, Dodgers, Phillies, Rangers, Cardinals, Giants, Red Sox, Cubs

Right-handed starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto was recently called, “one of the top starting pitchers in the world,” by San Francisco Giants president Farhan Zaidi. When you combine Yamamoto’s age, pitching arsenal and outstanding track record pitching in Japan, the Cubs should definitely be in the mix because despite the emergence of Justin Steele in 2023, this team needs to add a stud pitcher to their rotation.

Aaron Nola

Age: 30
Rank: 4
Contract Prediction: 5 Years, $125 Million
Best Fits: Phillies, Red Sox, Orioles, Giants, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Cubs

Not only would it be great to see the Cubs add a top-of-rotation pitcher, but targeting an elite strikeout pitcher should be a priority this offseason. Aaron Nola, while having some inconsistencies during his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, has eclipsed 180 innings in every full season beginning in 2018, which includes more than 200 innings three times. During this time period, Nola has recorded 200+ strikeouts every year besides 2020.

freestar

Cody Bellinger

Age: 28
Rank: 6
Contract Prediction: 6 Years, $144 Million
Best Fits: Cubs, Giants, Angels, Mariners, Guardians, Blue Jays, Yankees

I think that contract prediction is low, but if that does end up being the ballpark range, then it could be a steal for the Cubs. More on Bellinger here.

Matt Chapman

Age: 30
Rank: 7
Contract Prediction: 6 Years, $127 Million
Best Fits: Blue Jays, Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Cubs, Tigers

No. Hard pass. Matt Chapman’s overall numbers in 2023 look decent, but he was awful for the majority of the year.

Spend the money elsewhere and stay the hell away from Matt Chapman. Thanks.

Michael Wacha

Age: 32
Rank: 12
Contract Prediction: 1 Year, $16 million (Padres exercise their team option)
Best Fits: Padres, Giants, Cardinals, Cubs

Bowden thinks the San Diego Padres will pick up Michael Wacha’s team option for 2024, but regardless, this isn’t the tier I want the Cubs to target in free agency. If they can’t sign one of the top starting pitching options, then I’d prefer them to pivot toward the trade market to obtain a difference-maker in the rotation.

Marcus Stroman

Age: 32
Rank: 14
Contract Prediction: Opts into his player option (one year, $21 million)
Best Fits: Cubs

So yeah, I’d say there’s a 99% chance that Marcus Stroman opts into the final year of his three-year deal with the Cubs, following a disastrous end to his 2023 season. However, I also think there’s a good probability that the Cubs end up trading Stroman in the offseason and choose to upgrade the rotation.

Jeimer Candelario

Age: 29
Rank: 27
Contract Prediction: 2 Years, $15 Million
Best Fits: Cubs, Nationals, Yankees, Blue Jays, Pirates, Marlins

This would be perfectly fine for the Cubs. Solid bat, can fill in on the corners, DH, and sure Jeimer Candelario might be considered the cheap option, but I’d rather go this direction than spend big on Matt Chapman.

Kyle Hendricks

Age 33
Rank: 29
Contract Prediction: 2 Years, $29 Million
Best Fits: Best fits: Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants

So, unlike the Stroman situation, it does feel like the Cubs want to keep Kyle Hendricks around. Jed Hoyer talked about it without getting into specifics, but at the very least it seems like the team will at least pick up his 2024 option. There has been conflicting reports whether the Cubs will work on an extension with Hendricks in the offseason, but Hendricks pitching for them in 2024 is close to a lock.

Wade Miley

Age: 36
Rank: 31
Contract Prediction: 1 Year, $13.5 Million
Best Fits: Brewers, Cubs, Cardinals, Reds, Pirates

I mean, if for some reason the Cubs don’t bring back Kyle Hendricks, then fine? But also, no. Aim higher. Wade Miley can be and has been a solid starting pitcher, but there are injury concerns and if the Cubs are serious about being clear-cut playoff contenders to begin 2024, then they have to pursue better starting pitching options than Miley.

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