Cubs Reportedly Did Not Even Make a Formal Offer to Carlos Correa

Good morning. Would you like some more unhappy news? I don’t think it’s actually quite as bad as it seems at first glance, but it’s certainly not good. Or reassuring.

Gordon Wittenmyer reports that, before Carlos Correa signed a 13-year, $350 million contract with the Giants earlier this week, he … did not even receive a formal offer from the Cubs.

Correa was the Cubs’ top target, according to Wittenmyer, but they never even got to the offer stage. Only “ranges” and “parameters” discussed. (“He never turned us down!”)

This news is deeply disappointing, though maybe not for the reason you’re thinking. The Cubs didn’t decline to make an offer because they were slow or lazy or stupid or unenthusiastic. Instead, I’m quite certain the reason the Cubs didn’t make an offer to Correa is because they knew it would be futile. These dances involve a whole lot of discussion that, by the end of it, gives you a great sense of what it might take to get a player to sign. The Cubs might not have known precisely what Correa would get on the table from the Giants, but they knew enough about THEIR OWN price level that they had no real shot at landing him.

You don’t go into the Dior store and offer fifteen bucks for a jacket – even one you say you really wanted – because you know they’d just laugh you out of the store. There’s no point.

That may explain why the Cubs never made a formal offer, but obviously it doesn’t provide any encouragement. Fancy jackets are really freaking expensive these days.

Given that the Twins reportedly made a 10-year, $285 million offer (hoping the higher AAV and return-to-us would be enough to sway him over the larger guarantee from the Giants), you COULD surmise that the Cubs weren’t even willing to be in THAT ballpark (much less $350 million). Maybe that is reflective of their general comfort zone with ANY contract (which, yikes), or maybe it is reflective of their evaluation of Correa (which makes you wonder what that says about their evaluation of Dansby Swanson, who may be their back-up plan).

If you want to be OBSCENELY optimistic – who really has that energy left? – you could say the Cubs have felt good about their chances of landing Swanson all along. And that they felt the two were close enough in future projected performance that they were more like 1A and 1B. And when it became clear that Correa’s market was going to be hotter than their evaluation of his value, the Cubs disconnected quickly and have been working on Swanson for the past week or whatever. Again, that’s just a wildly positive hypothetical spin.

I guess we’ll see what happens with Swanson and the Cubs from here, but presumably they have a price level there that they aren’t comfortable with either. Will they even make a formal offer? They will, right? They already have, I would hope?

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