MLB Rumors: Chicago Cubs Linked To 3 Free Agents

The Chicago Cubs are going to be big spenders on this year's free agent market. At least, that's what they're telling everyone. They're notably in discussions on the Big Four shortstops, and we've reported on their interest in former MVP Jose Abreu, the cross-town rock at first base for the past nine years with the Chicago White Sox. 

But there are two other positions at which the Cubs have holes to fill: catcher and the outfield. According to Jon Heyman, the Cubbies have interest in Christian Vazquez behind the plate, and Michael Conforto and Cody Bellinger in the outfield. 

At catcher, Willson Contreras will almost certainly be leaving the North Side, as he hits free agency without having had any extension offers from his team of the past seven years. Vazquez offers a different kind of solution behind the plate—much more defensive-minded, but with less pop at the plate. But at the age of 32, he can still be a No. 1 catcher, as he proved over the first half of the 2022 season in Boston. 

In the outfield, both Conforto and Bellinger are reclamation projects, and both will likely be looking for one-year deals to try to rebuild their market value to hit free agency again next winter. But the Cubs could be the beneficiary, as Wrigley Field is a pretty good ballpark for a hitter to reclaim his stroke and put up some good numbers. 

Conforto missed the entire 2022 season after an injury last winter left him without any interest in free agency. He mashed 33 homers as recently as 2019.

Bellinger has posted two consecutive dreadful seasons, with an MLB-worst .611 OPS for a regular over that span. But he was an MVP just three years ago. Both have much intrigue for the Cubs (and many other teams, of course).

Photo: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports