Cardinals Rumors: How Cubs pursuing shortstops impacts St. Louis
Could the Chicago Cubs outbid the St. Louis Cardinals for a free-agent shortstop, perhaps Trevor Story?
The St. Louis Cardinals may have competition from one of their biggest rivals in the free-agent shortstop market this winter.
The Chicago Cubs are doing background work on the shortstop market, according to Buster Olney of ESPN, and have the payroll, need and resources available to land a shortstop lauded as the deepest in free agent history. Such a move would eliminate one option for the Cardinals — and make their quest to upgrade upon Paul DeJong and Edmundo Sosa more difficult.
The available options include Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Javier Baez, Trevor Story and Marcus Semien. It remains unclear who the Cubs would target — they have the financial capacity to sign any option — but the player the Cardinals can ill afford their division rival to pursue is Story, who is widely expected to be a prime target.
After all, Story checks a lot of the boxes that the Cardinals want. First, he’s a major upgrade over DeJong and Sosa. Two, he’s close with Nolan Arenado and when he has the opportunity to opt out after the 2022 season, could entice Arenado to not exercise that clause and have him stay in St. Louis until 2027. Three, he’s a very good defender — yes, he had a down 2021 season, but that could have been because of injury and frustration over not being traded at the deadline.
Story could be had at a price that fits the Cardinals’ budget and allows them to pursue other upgrades throughout the roster, perhaps another starting pitcher, bullpen piece or even another bat. What could have the Cardinals concerned about the Cubs’ involvement in the free-agent shortstop market is that Story is on the record saying that Wrigley Field is a “special place,” saying in August that “I can tell you I love playing here. The fans are great. It’s a place you look forward to coming, for sure.”
Well, we will see if the interest is mutual between the Cubs and Story. But if given the chance between the two teams, and knowing that Arenado is in St. Louis, it’s likely that Story chooses the Cardinals. But you never know in free agency. Often, money talks, and it’s uncertain just how much president of baseball operations John Mozeliak will have to offer.