Polling Place: What grades do Cubs, White Sox get for Swanson, Benintendi signings?

Wait, grades before they’ve even taken the field for their new teams? It’s good, clean fun in the bar-room or water-cooler debate spirit.

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Chicago Cubs Introduce Dansby Swanson

Dansby Swanson meets the Chicago media on Wednesday.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Does it make any sense — any at all — for us to grade a baseball signing before a player has so much as taken the field for his new team?

“Why on earth are we doing that?” @itsbaseballkid wanted to know.

Look, maybe it doesn’t make complete sense. But it’s good, clean fun in the bar-room or water-cooler debate spirit.

In this week’s “Polling Place,” your home for Sun-Times sports polls on Twitter, we asked voters to grade the free-agent deals with new Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson and new White Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi.

“Considering the Cubs let Javy Baez go and he got six years and $140 million from Detroit, this is an absolutely moronic deal,” @CowbogBeborp commented. “They paid more for a worse player.”

On the whole, though, voters were supportive of the Swanson signing and, to a lesser extent, the Benintendi signing.

Finally, we asked for a Bulls grade for giving Zach LaVine that max contract he hasn’t necessarily been living up to.

On to the polls:

Poll No. 1: What grade are you giving the Cubs for their seven-year, $177 million deal with shortstop Dansby Swanson?

Upshot: Swanson, a former No. 1 overall draft pick, is a slick glove man, a pretty good hitter and a 2022 All-Star. Will he justify moving Nico Hoerner — a heck of a defender himself — from short to second base? If the pair make beautiful music together up the middle, everyone will be happy. If the Cubs also win, that is.

Poll No. 2: What grade are you giving the White Sox for their five-year, $75 million deal with outfielder Andrew Benintendi?

Upshot: Is this really the biggest contract the Sox have ever given out? No need to answer that — it is, indeed. Benintendi is no superstar, but he’s a solid, proven outfielder and batsman and, like Swanson, a 2022 All-Star. The Sox desperately needed to upgrade their outfield and, well, they could have done worse.

Poll No. 3: Five months later, what grade are you giving the Bulls for their five-year, $215 million max-contract deal with Zach LaVine?

Upshot: LaVine has ebbed and flowed at the offensive end, sometimes taking charge, other times deferring too much to DeMar DeRozan and even, perhaps, working some occasional pouting into the mix. At the defensive end, LaVine’s very existence has been merely a rumor. Are the Bulls stuck with him? If so, any chance it’ll turn out to be a good thing?

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