It’s been a little weird to see the White Sox stepping up as the big spenders in Chicago, but it’s not time to freak out about the sky falling until a team like the Reds starts outspending the Cubs. I mean, sure, Cincy was one of the finalists for Yasmani Grandal, but the Cubs never pursued the veteran catcher. There have also been reports of their interest in Nicholas Castellanos and Shogo Akiyama, both of whom have remained on the Cubs’ radar.
The former is priced well outside the given budget, though, and would require the Cubs to swing a big trade or two just to make room on the payroll. At what is supposed to be something like $10 million over two years, Akiyama might actually be affordable. And according to a report from Nikkan Sports, the 32-year-old (in April) outfielder did have the Cubs among his final four teams — along with the D-backs, Rays, and aforementioned Reds — with a decision said to be coming around Christmas.
A more recent report from Nikkan, however, has the Reds listed as the favorites with negotiations expected to intensify over the coming days. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Cubs have backed out due to financial concerns, though we’ve already heard as much regarding other free agents seeking similar deals. And with no real traction whatsoever on the trade market, there doesn’t seem to be a way for the Cubs to clear money in order to outbid the Reds. Can’t believe I just typed that last bit. Yeesh.