Chicago Cubs likely out on oft-connected SF Giants targets following latest move

Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs made one of the bigger moves of the offseason, signing 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger to a three-year, $80 million pact. The Cubs and SF Giants have been connected to many of the same targets this winter, but it is likely that Chicago has made its last big move of the winter.

Chicago Cubs likely out on oft-connected SF Giants targets following latest move

Several prominent free agents remain available. Matt Chapman, Blake Snell, and Jordan Montgomery are just some of those names. Their free-agency cases should be resolved sooner rather than later as spring training has begun and Opening Day is less than four weeks away.

According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Giants "remain in the hunt" for both Snell and Chapman with favorable odds. On top of that, Joel Sherman, who co-hosts The Show podcast with Jon Heyman, reported that Snell could be in the market for a shorter-term deal with a higher average annual value. This is the type of deal that the Giants have done with regularity in recent years as it minimizes exposure risk.

That said, the Cubs are likely not going to compete for any of the remaining big free agents. Chicago had been the likeliest destination for Bellinger all offseason, but there was a belief that they could pivot to Chapman if the veteran outfielder signed elsewhere.

With the signing made official on Tuesday, the Cubs now have committed about $233.6 million against the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT). The CBT threshold is set at $237 million for 2024, so there is a good chance that they exceed the luxury tax if they remain competitive.

Even before the Bellinger signing, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts hinted that he was content with the team's current level of spending. He also added that more revenue would be needed to increase payroll and there is a good chance that stance has not changed within the past 10 days.

It is likely that the Cubs and Ricketts both knew that Bellinger would end up back in Chicago, so his statement about the Cubs' payroll being "enough to win the division" was more about not wanting to show their hand with respect to the Bellinger talks.

Following the Bellinger signing, they have the 9th-highest CBT payroll according to Cot's. They have rarely spent much more than that and will not compete with teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers or the New York Yankees in terms of spending. They are a big-market club, but that does not mean that they are without constraints.

More than likely, the Bellinger move is the final big move of the offseason for Chicago. If that assumption is correct, then it means one less suitor for any of Scott Boras' clients like Matt Chapman, Blake Snell, or Jordan Montgomery.

The markets for any of those players have been oddly small. Realistically, only a few teams could afford any of the three in the first place. With the Cubs being done, it means that the potential market for any of them is only getting smaller. It also means that the Cubs cannot be leveraged in contract talks because teams would be able to see right through that. That could bode well for the Giants if they are, in fact, still in the market for either Snell or Chapman.