The Chicago Cubs are rumored to be big players this offseason
The St. Louis Cardinals are the reigning National League Central Champions and the clear favorites once again for the 2023 season, but that is not stopping their division rivals from looking to make major improvements, especially the Chicago Cubs.
The Milwaukee Brewers look to be on the edge of a tear down, both the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates are in the midst of their rebuilds, the Cubs are looking to add to turn the page to a new era, headlined by some big offseason additions as their farm system continues to become more and more dangerous.
Despite finishing 74-88, good for 19 games back of St. Louis last season, the Cubs have the 10th ranked farm system in all of baseball. While both the Reds and Pirates have systems ranking within the top 10, what makes Chicago more threatening is their capacity to spend this offseason and going forward, with recent reports saying they are looking to add one of the premier shortstops on the market.
The Cubs are checking in on the superstar shortstop market
According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Cubs have been one of the most active teams when it comes to interest in the shortstops so far.
The Cardinals have also been rumored to be checking in on the shortstops, but the Cubs have a lot more budget to blow this offseason and could feasibly outbid anyone if they really want one of Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, or Dansby Swanson. Chicago is projected just $139 million committed to their 2023 payroll at the moment, and are a club with the financial prowess to get that number over $200 million when they are ready.
The Cubs already have some young talent on their roster and building block veterans to begin building a contender once again. While Chicago is not going to be a real threat in 2023, a move for one of those shortstops would indicate that the Cardinals need to be looking over their shoulders come 2024. The Cubs have another $22 million coming off the books after next season in Jason Heyward, and by that time, could make a few more major moves and have their top prospects ready to roll.
Chicago does not appear to be the sleeping giant they were last time they were rebuilding in 2014. The whole league was ready to see the likes of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, and Willson Contreras rise up and create a World Series team. But, with some big moves like one of these shortstops, and the continued development of their prospects, they could be a real threat to the Cardinals in the NL Central.
Despite all of that, there is plenty of reason to remain confident that the Cardinals will be the class of the NL Central for years to come.