Jed Hoyer started the offseason with a plan to improve the Cubs roster. At times this winter, it looked like he didn’t even have a plan. At this point, however, I think his beginning plan just had to evolve due to how the market played out. It might just be a post-Cubs Convention hangover but I’m ready for this team to hit the field and see what they can do.
Channeling Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, Hoyer said he would be looking to add more power once free agency began. With the additions of Swanson, Bellinger, and Mancini, all three are capable of hitting 20-plus homers. While Eric Hosmer’s production has tailed off lately, he has shown the capability to hit the long ball. Maybe the change of scenery and lack of pressure can allow for Hosmer to rejuvenate his career a bit. The Cubs already had multiple players on their roster that can provide this type of production. This isn’t even taking in account for Matt Mervis. I can look up and down this lineup and see a group that has the potential to drive the ball out of the park.
This Cubs roster looks like a team that will not have a lot of errors. Hoyer added multiple Gold Glove caliber defenders. Bellinger can provide that level of defense at both Center Field and First Base. Swanson and Barnhart are also past award winners. These additions allow for a defensive lineup that is significantly better than the random lineups that were put out on the field in 2022.
The young starters were a bright spot in the second half of the 2022 season. They led the way for a team that showed improvement in the later part of the year. In addition to the in-house options, the Cubs brought back Drew Smily and signed Jameson Taillon. The team suddenly became less reliant on the young pitchers needing to be firing on all cylinders right away. On the other hand, if it all works out, the Cubs have a solid starting staff with enough depth pieces that will keep the team competiing in the event of injury.
The Cubs didn’t make a whole bunch of splashy additions. They did, however, quietly upgrade the team all across the field. That it turn will produce better results than 2022 and an improved record. I believe that this is a .500 team on paper to start the year. They will have plenty of opportunities to build upon that initial assessment and can surprise some people. A World Series might not be in their sights but they are definitely headed in the right direction.
Feature Image: Carlos Osorio/Associated Press