It’s not too hard to figure out what the Cubs are planning to do in 2023 when looking at their free agent signings. The Cubs have a pitching staff that is going to pitch to contact, and they are putting together a defense that can get stops behind them.
Cody Bellinger was the first addition, and he is a Gold Glove winner in centerfield. That move was nice, but it was the latest move that could provide the most additional wins next season.
The Cubs were able to reach an agreement with Dansby Swanson on a seven-year deal worth $177 million. That might seem like a steep price, but it’s actually much cheaper than what the other big name shortstops signed for.
Another reason that the Cubs are going to try to put together the best defense possible is that the league is banning shifts in 2023. If the Cubs pitchers are going to give up some contact then they are going to need elite defenders behind them.
The Cubs might not have the best offensive team on paper heading into next season, but their defense should rate as one of the best in the league. Ian Happ gives the Cubs a Gold Glove talent in left field, and it’s going to be fun to watch the new talent make plays on defense.
Swanson Taking Over Short
One of the biggest storylines during the 2022 season was the emergence of Nico Hoerner as a Gold Glove candidate at the shortstop position. Hoerner took huge strides at that position a season ago, and it did look as if the Cubs were set at that position.
There is no question about it though that Dansby Swanson is going to be the starting shortstop moving forward. Hoerner will now slide over to second base where he nearly won a Gold Glove early in his career.
By moving Hoerner to second base, the Cubs also now have to find something to do with Nick Madrigal. One option would be to trade Madrigal for some additional talent, and there will be some teams around the league that are interested.
Still Some Holes
There was simply no way that the Cubs could go through the entire offseason and not sign one of the biggest stars available, but it took them long enough to get it done. The signing of Swanson should be celebrated by the Cubs and their fans, but it can’t be the final move.
There are still holes on this roster, including at the catcher position without Willson Contreras. This offense could also use another big bat, but there aren’t a ton of options remaining on the free agent market.
It still feels like the team is headed for a third place finish in the NL Central, but they are better now than they were when the offseason began.
Read more about the Cubs.