The Cubs had no choice but to sign Dansby Swanson and make him the new face at Wrigley Field


It would have been very embarrassing. Image of the highest ranking member in CubsDonning their tailored sport coats and quarter-zip pullovers, they step out to face the crowd at the Sheraton Grand Chicago. The team just released the 2023 Cubs conference schedule, stuffing one day (January 14) with Q&A sessions for the Ricketts family, club presidents Jed Hoyer (baseball operations) and Crane Kenny (business operations), general manager Carter Hawkins, head coach David Ross and his staff Major league coaching. Instead of venting their frustrations on Twitter, canceling season ticket packages, or cutting the cord from the Marquee Sports Network, fanatics can directly tell management how they really feel.


Of course, there will still be awkward moments. That’s what happens when you pack Cubs fans into a hotel banquet hall, set up microphones, and usher club executives onto the stage for taped events. It’s a small part of what makes the Cubs unique – and kind of circus-like Dansby Swanson They will find out after reaching an agreement on a seven-year, $177 million contract that changed the perception of yet another rebuild at Wrigley Field.

The arrival of Swanson — an All-Star shortstop with a gold glove and a World Series ring — will change those conversations. Because the Cubs don’t have to answer the dreaded question: How do you go 0-for-4 in the best free agent stops and still call that a “successful offseason”?

over there Old NFL quote which Bill Belichick once attributed to Buddy Ryan: “If you listen to the fans, you’ll be sitting there with them.” There is truth built into this statement, a reminder to stay disciplined and focus on the process the Hoyer front office emphasizes in every decision. The Ricketts bought the team 13 years ago knowing that millions of fans showed up at Wrigley Stadium – whether the Cubs win or lose – and that the $845 million investment is now valued at nearly $4 billion.

Ignoring the fans isn’t a smart strategy either. They saw all the construction work in Wrigleyville before and after the 2016 World Series and watched the Cubs sit out Bryce Harper/Manny Machado the lottery. They pretty much understood the plan when Theo Epstein and Hoyer first took over baseball operations after the 2011 season. But passing on Swanson, Tria TurnerAnd the Carlos Correa And the Xander Bogaerts – After trading Yo Darwishis not tender Kyle Schwarberand not having access to a new contract extension using Anthony RizzoAnd the Chris BryantAnd the Javier Baez or Wilson Contreras It was another PR disaster that revealed a lack of imagination and direction.

Especially since there are so many good reasons for baseball to sign Swanson, who was the first pick in the 2015 draft from Vanderbilt University. Pair Swanson with Nico Horner It would give the Cubs pitchers an outstanding quarterback defense at a time when restrictions on defensive turnovers will once again highlight the need for the sport. The Cubs are looking for a catcher on defense first — Tucker Barnhart, Curt Casale and Roberto Perez are among the names under consideration — to share the workload with Jan Gomez And help replace contreras. From left to right, the Cubs will have three Gold Glove-caliber defenders all over the field Ian HappAnd the Cody Bellinger And the siya suzuki.

While the young hitters became the stars of their final championship team, the 2016 Cubs revolved around pitching and defense, particularly when Bayes and Addison Russell played center field together. The Cubs are re-steering in that direction with Swanson and Horner, who could be signed to a long-term contract extension this winter. Cubs officials went into meetings with Swanson, Turner, Correa, and Bogaerts knowing that Hoerner would move away to second base because he prioritized winning over singles.

Looking back at Wrigley Field last season, there were a lot of new faces, people who were just happy to be there or were simply trying to survive at the major league level. After, after Freddie Freeman I left Atlanta, Brave Swanson was nicknamed “The Sheriff” by his teammates, a mark of respect for someone who had played in 382 out of a possible 383 games over the past three seasons. Swanson would bring in some of the intangibles the Cubs lost and try to get them back, setting an example of his willingness.

Swanson also timed his best season, producing 25 home runs, 96 RBIs, 18 stolen bases, his first Gold Glove and All-Star selection (plus 182 strikeouts) before hitting a free agent market that exploded under the circumstances. . The baseball industry’s sense of security from a new business deal, the lure of the expanded playoffs, and the forces of supply and demand helped Swanson cash in before his 29th birthday.

During the winter meetings, Turner set the pace on his 11-year, $300 million contract with the company. VelesBogaerts then shattered expectations by signing an 11-year, $280 million contract with parents. Correa topped both by recording a 13-year commitment of $350 million giants. The terms of Swanson’s seven-year, $177 million deal, confirmed via multiple sources on Saturday, should be seen in this context.

In terms of “degrees of similarity” on baseball referencethe player whose profile is similar to Swanson through the age of 28 is Marcus Seminwho signed a seven-year, $175 million contract with notice post offseason. Comparative names on the top 10 list include Juan Uribe, JJ Hardy, Ian Desmond, Didi Gregoris, and Alex Gonzalez and Sean Dunston, who are both former businessmen. Swanson (. 738 career OPS) isn’t a star offensive tackle, but the Cubs are banking on his strength increasing in recent seasons as well as his ability to stay healthy and remain a player through 2029.

At this point, what is the alternative? The money for baseball operations is still there from last season, As Kenny pointed out During a recent interview with the team’s main radio station. The team does not have many building blocks at the major league level. The organization’s best hitting prospect is dealing with injury issues and/or after years of fully establishing itself at Wrigley Field. The next category of free agents already looks depressing. The halftimes didn’t work as the Cubs tried to keep the 2019 championship window open through 2021. Marcus Strowman It didn’t make sense last season unless the Cubs had the desire to make bigger moves this winter. The most dangerous play now was to do nothing.

(Photo: Jeff Burke/USA Today)

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