Cubs offseason predictions: 3 players Chicago should already be targeting

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Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs should already have their eye on signing Xander Bogaerts this offseason. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

The Chicago Cubs should already have their eye on these three free agents for next season.

Well, that was interesting. The Chicago Cubs didn’t trade Willson Contreras at the deadline. They held onto Ian Happ as well. While they did continue to rebuild by dealing away several veterans — mostly relief pitchers — they remain stuck in a sort of baseball purgatory.

Will things be better next year? Chicago might have to accelerate the process by getting active in free agency.

Keeping Contreras for a possible extension makes sense. Happ was already under contract for next season, as are Marcus Stroman and Seiya Suzuki — two of the bigger names the Cubs brought in over the winter. Rather than undertake a major rebuild and continue to punish the fans that show up to day games all summer, the Cubs can get busy by spending in free agency this winter on some younger players about to hit the open market.

1) Cubs offseason predictions: Xander Bogaerts is a long-term shortstop solution

Xander Bogaerts is having a nice year with the Boston Red Sox, but he’s expected to opt out from his contract after this season is over. Bogaerts would be a welcome addition to the Cubs lineup. He’ll turn 30 this October, which makes him young enough for a longer commitment.

Bogaerts has become a player that can hit for good power and average. There isn’t one particular quality about his offensive game that stands out. He’s about as well-rounded as it gets. Gap power might be one exception. He’s averaging 40 doubles in his career per 162 games.

The way the Red Sox have fallen after a midseason surge might lock Bogaerts into becoming a free agent. With Boston already employing Trevor Story as an obvious replacement, the Cubs should have an eye on Bogaerts when he hits the open market.

There are plenty of shortstops for the team to fall back on, including Trea Turner and Carlos Correa if he becomes available again. Either of them would be fine. Bogaerts, however, has been a bit more of an ironman. The ability to stay on the field is something the Cubs cannot overlook when compared to the other shortstops hitting the open market who haven’t been so successful at this.

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