Domino effect happening with Cubs
Swanson gives the Cubs elite defense up the middle

Domino effect happening with Cubs

by - Staff Writer -

The Cubs did not land any of the premier top free agents on the board, as five players earned over $200 million on multi-year contracts.

However, the Cubs were able to land former Brave Dansby Swanson ($177 million) in that next tier of big-money free agents, with an additional near dozen players than netted over $150 million dollars on multi-year contracts.

That wasn’t the Cubs' only big move, though.

They have spent the offseason adding reliable hitters in positions of need and have strengthened both the starting lineup and the pitching rotation without breaking the bank. In fact, the Cubs have added Cody Bellinger, Eric Hosmer, Trey Mancini, Drew Smyly, Jameson Taillon, Brad Boxberger, and Tucker Barnhart to go along with Swanson — after the only major contributor at the end of the season, who won’t be with the Cubs next season is catcher Willson Contreras who has signed as a free agent with the arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals.

One of the biggest holes on the roster heading into the offseason was the depth at third base. Despite not signing a third baseman, the Cubs have gained depth at that position by supplementing other ones.

For example, Cody Bellinger was signed and is expected to play center field — leaving Christopher Morel a larger opportunity to play third base.

In addition, the Swanson signing was major for this discussion. Swanson gives the Cubs one of the best defensive shortstops in the league and also pushes Nico Hoerner to second base via a domino effect — a place he was a finalist for a Gold Glove award just a few seasons ago. Because of this, Nick Madrigal does not have an everyday job, which puts him in the mix for third base as well.

Finally, Patrick Wisdom has mainly been the Cubs' starting third baseman ever since they traded Kris Bryant to the San Francisco Giants at the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline. However, with a larger hole at third base, Wisdom ended the season as the Cubs' primary first basemen, a position he is not uber comfortable with, nor is his best. But with the Cubs signing Bellinger, who can play first, Eric Hosmer, who is a Gold Glove first baseman, and the latest, Trey Mancini, who has turned into more of a 1B/DH type of player, despite beginning his career in the outfield — Wisdom’s chances at first have dwindled, and his only path to starting action is at third base.

Not to mention, Matt Mervis is expected by many to have the opportunity to make the big leagues this season — after setting records in all levels of the Cubs minor leagues last season. Mervis’ primary position is first base as well.

For Morel, Wisdom, and Madrigal, not only do these acquisitions make it harder for them to start in the lineup at any position but third base, it also crowds the options for the designated hitter.

The fact of the matter for the Cubs is that all of these lineup questions are good things. They are what happens when you spend money, attempt to be competitive, and have depth on a baseball team. In years prior, the corner infield was a thin position on the depth chart, and designated hitter often meant two catchers in the lineup. Now, the Cubs have a multitude of options for just about every position on the diamond — which, in turn, makes them a better team in 2023.

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