Personally, I do not expect the Chicago Cubs to be big spenders in free agency this offseason. That being said, there is no doubt in my mind that they will check in on a ton of players and will not be afraid to spend if they see value.
Curtis Granderson is one guy who appears to be on the Cubs’ radar. Granderson has had a very successful 10-year career with both the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees. His .261 career batting average leaves plenty to be desired, but Granderson has a rare mix of power and speed. He has 217 career home runs, including 41 in 2011 and 43 in 2012 with New York. He also has had three seasons with more than 20 stolen bases and has 80 career triples, including an incredible 23 in 2007.
Granderson, a Chicago native, seems to be a nice fit for the Cubs. They may not be ready to compete in 2014, but the Cubs have a nice collection of young talent in their organization. They are going to need some veterans to help these young players adapt to the big leagues. By all accounts, Granderson is an incredible teammate and as a 10-year veteran, will surely be able to show the young guys the ropes.
As of right now, the starting outfield for the Cubs in 2014 is probably Nate Schierholtz in right, Ryan Sweeney in center and Junior Lake in left. Schierholtz had a great 2013 season and surely deserves his starting job back next season. Lake is a very intriguing young player and he should get a chance to earn a starting job in the outfield. Sweeney is nice fourth outfielder type, but there is no way that he should be starting on a regular basis. There is an obvious opening in the outfield for the Cubs and Granderson would fill that nicely. Also, they are a right handed-heavy offensive team; adding a lefty like Granderson would be a welcome addition.
Granderson turned down a one-year qualifying offer from the Yankees and he is now tied to draft pick compensation. This means that any team that signs Granderson must give up their first-round draft pick. The only exception is teams drafting in the top 10, and those teams must give up their second-round pick.
After their unimpressive 2013 season, the Cubs have the fourth overall pick in next year’s draft. So, if they sign a guy like Granderson, they will only have to give up their second-round pick. The Cubs have a little bit less to lose than most other teams.
The Cubs’ pursuit of Granderson simply comes down to his contract demands. He is an obvious fit, but if he commands too much money, the Cubs need to pass. That being said, teams have seemed to shy away from free agents tied to draft pick compensation recently. After an injury-filled 2013 season, I think there is a chance that Granderson’s price gets driven down and he becomes a value. If this is the case, the Cubs will surely be there to pounce and I think it would work out nicely for both sides.