Carlos Correa to the Cubs?
The Cubs have been linked to the Astros free agent shortstop on several occasions this offseason, with one more report this week indicating “mutual interest."
But if they miss out on Correa, who could command a record contract this offseason, there’s one other All-Star on the market they could pivot to in addressing their shortstop need: Trevor Story.
If the Cubs are willing to spend on a shortstop this winter, Story, 29, could be a more short-term option at a lower cost.
Story is a free agent for the first time this offseason after six productive seasons with the Rockies. He was an All-Star and Silver Slugger in 2018 and '19 — hitting 37 and 35 home runs in those seasons.
He's a sound defender at shortstop, registering plus Defensive Runs Saved totals in all six of his seasons, and is 11th among all shortstops in Outs Above Average since his 2016 rookie season.
Story has distinct home and road splits between his time playing at the Rockies' hitter-friendly Coors Field, and he's dealt with arm injuries in recent seasons, including an ailing elbow last season — although he told NBC Sports Chicago in August that injury was behind him.
But one thing is for sure: The Cubs need to add an everyday big-league shortstop this winter. Their best shortstop prospects are all in the lower minor league levels. They plan for Nico Hoerner to be an everyday player at multiple positions.
Story is a top option on the market.
Beside him and Correa, free agent shortstops include José Iglesias, a glove-first player who's regarded as one of the best at the position, and Jonathan Villar — who has a ton of shortstop experience but is more fit for second or third base.
Possible trade candidates are Nick Ahmed, another glove-first guy, Elvis Andrus, who will be 34 next August and has been on the downturn in recent seasons, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa — whom the Rangers may not even want to move despite signing Marcus Semien and Corey Seager to long-term deals.
Whether the Cubs would go to the top of the market for Story, he would be the most impactful free agent shortstop addition short of Correa.
And the Cubs' offseason additions thus far, which include veteran starters Wade Miley and Marcus Stroman, might have increased his interest, or at least what he's looking for this winter.
Story told NBC Sports Chicago in that August interview he would want to hear the vision for any team's competitive timeline during his free agency.
“That’s something I would want to hear no matter what, no matter what the team is," Story said.
Those additions will help the Cubs compete. Even before them, Story spoke highly of the Cubs in August and how he's enjoyed coming to Chicago as a visitor during his career.
“Man, just from afar, it’s such a historic organization, and I can tell you I love playing here,” Story said. “The fans are great. Just coming here over the past six years, it’s a place you look forward to coming, for sure.”