After they were sellers at the trade deadline last summer, it’ll be fascinating to see what players end up being the Cubs’ offseason targets for the 2021-22 offseason. The club obviously isn’t in win-now mode anymore, but that shouldn’t mean a full-scale rebuild.
That means the Cubs’ offseason plans will likely include being busy on the free agent market.
For starters, the Cubs could get involved in Anthony Rizzo’s free agency, not to mention Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, who were also traded away last summer. Will the Cubs’ offseason plans include bringing back their former players? That’s just one plotline to watch this winter.
Cubs offseason targets in 2021-22
If it’s not Rizzo, Baez, or Bryant, who will be the Cubs’ offseason targets during the 2021-22 offseason?
The players Chicago ends up signing will be a key indicator in judging how serious the Cubs will be about competing in 2022. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the players the Cubs could target to fill their needs for next season.
Alex Cobb isn’t one of the more expensive pitchers on the market this winter, which could make him a cost-effective option for a Chicago rotation that probably needs to add multiple starters during the offseason.
There’s no doubt that his time in Baltimore was rough, but with the Angels this past season, Cobb started showing signs of being the pitcher he was with the Rays early in his career. While a couple of IL stints limited him to just 18 starts, he won eight games and posted a 3.76 ERA in those 18 starts, so there could be an upside in bringing him to Wrigley Field as a mid-rotation piece.
Rodon had a breakout season with the White Sox in 2021, hitting the free agent market at the right time. The catch is that his track record before 2021 is a little inconsistent.
But if Rodon can build on what he did last year, he could be a co-ace with Hendricks and give the Cubs a rotation that could compete in the NL Central.
With all of the talk about former Cubs returning to Wrigley Field, why not Kyle Schwarber?
His defensive skills haven’t improved since his first stint in Chicago, but if the DH comes to the National League, that won’t matter.
Between the Nationals and Red Sox, the guy hit 32 home runs with an OPS of .928 this past season. Clearly, he can still hit, and there’s no question that Cubs’ fans would love to see him back.
If the Cubs want to make an aggressive move to sign an outfielder this winter, they should consider Michael Conforto.
Of course, Conforto is coming off a down season, posting an OPS of .729, nearly 100 points below his career average.
But that also means that the Cubs might be able to get him at a reasonable price. Conforto is a proven if streaky hitter who could play either corner outfield spot and is vastly underrated defensively, making him a perfect fit for Chicago’s needs.
At the moment, the Cubs don’t necessarily have a bonafide big-league shortstop on their market.
He’s not the best shortstop available, but he could easily solve Chicago’s problem at that position for many years to come.
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