Cubs surprise free-agent signing reveals why he chose Chicago over other suitors

The Chicago Cubs signed Garrett Cooper to a subpar free-agent contract. Why was that, and what other teams were in on Cooper?

2024 Chicago Cubs Spring Training
2024 Chicago Cubs Spring Training / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages
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The Chicago Cubs were able to sign Garrett Cooper for a surprisingly-cheap asking price just a few weeks ago. Cooper, who is a former All-Star in his own right, ought to receive a major-league opportunity with the Cubs on the bench.

The slow MLB free-agent market has left players like Cooper, who is 33 years old but slashed .251/.304/.419 with 17 home runs last season, without a home. Cooper finally ran out of patience and took a below-market deal with the Cubs because he assumed it gave him the best path forward to an MLB roster spot.

Chicago was reportedly competing with the Boston Red Sox, per the Chicago Sun-Times. Boston wouldn't guarantee Cooper a spot on the MLB roster, and while the Cubs eventually signed the veteran to a similar deal, he should provide nice coverage at first base behind trade acquisition Michael Busch.

Cubs: Garrett Cooper reveals why he signed in Chicago

As Brett Taylor of Bleacher Nation wrote, Cooper is at worst a viable bench option for the Cubs that went under the radar thanks to the Cody Bellinger signing:

"When the Cubs signed Garrett Cooper late last month, the news came out on the heels of the Cody Bellinger re-signing, so it didn’t get a ton of attention. There were two main reactions, though: (1) how is this going to work, exactly, and (2) how did the Cubs get him on a minor league deal? Cooper, who has at times been a very good big league regular and is now, at a minimum, an outstanding lefty-crushing option on any bench, surely figured to get a big league deal coming into the offseason."

You can add Cooper to the list of players the Red Sox front office missed on this offseason, Meanwhile, Chicago got a legitimate contributor at a discount the same winter it re-signed Cody Bellinger.

Mission accomplished, Jed Hoyer.

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