Commentary: Cubs offseason was a very strong one
Swanson gives the Cubs elite defense up the middle

Commentary: Cubs offseason was a very strong one

by - Staff Writer -

The Cubs have had pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, and the offseason is finally beginning to turn into the season. After the Cubs ended the season 39-31, there was some hope for the future. But, the Cubs were 74-88, endured another midseason selloff, and missed the playoffs.

While the Cubs did have some excellent breakout seasons from Nico Hoerner, Ian Happ and Justin Steele, it was apparent the Cubs had some holes to fill on the roster.

"Our moves over the past year and at the trade deadline have put us in a position of strength in both player and financial currency," Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said last season to NBC Sports Chicago. "We plan to be active again this offseason competing in the free agent market."

"I expect to be aggressive this winter," Jed Hoyer said to NBC Sports Chicago as the offseason began. "There's no question we'll have some money to spend. I think, certainly, we want to invest that money wisely. Our goal is to build something special, and trying to do that too quickly or trying to do it all at once can be a mistake. But certainly, there's going to be good players on the market, and I'm sure we're going to be involved in those discussions."

And aggressive they were.

While the Cubs missed out on the upper echelon of free agents like Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Justin Verlander, and Jacob deGrom — they added over 300 million dollars worth of contracts to their roster.

Off the bat, the Cubs’ first move was a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays to acquire versatile infielder Miles Mastrobuoni.

Then at the winter meetings, the Cubs were active. They signed former Dodger MVP Cody Bellinger, relief pitcher Brad Boxberger and Jameson Taillon to a four-year contract. Bellinger serves as a big question mark but is a reliable defender, and both pitchers should be a massive boost to both the rotation and the bullpen. Seeing the Cubs finally make some noise in free agency was nice, but they still needed a big-ticket item.

That big contract came right before Christmas when the Cubs signed All-Star shortstop Dansby Swanson to a seven-year, $177 million deal—shoring up the middle infield and adding a solid bat to the lineup. Swanson is the signing that alerts the rest of the league that the Cubs mean business.

The Cubs weren’t done there. They re-signed lefty Drew Smyly to strengthen the starting rotation depth and signed Tucker Barnhart to backfill the catching position — especially without Willson Contreras.

The Cubs still wanted to acquire more offense, and they did in the New Year by signing first basemen Eric Hosmer to a league minimum deal and signed slugger Trey Mancini to a multi-season contract. Hosmer is a left-handed, gold-glove-winning first baseman — while Mancini is coming off his first career World Series championship.

Then, this week, the Cubs reportedly bolstered their bullpen by signing Michael Fulmer to a four-million deal — appearing to cap off their offseason.

While the Cubs lost Willson Contreras, Jason Heyward, Rafael Ortega, PJ Higgins, Alfonso Rivas, and Matt Swarmer — they have made a slew of additions that should improve the team in 2023.

Plus, as spring training games approach, the Cubs are also linked to veteran pitcher Zach Britton.

As an offseason, it was a strong one for the Northsiders.

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