The Chicago Cubs have had an exciting, busy offseason by adding a plethora of talent to the team. After going 74-88 last season and finishing third in the NL Central, it appears that the Cubs are ready to contend for a playoff spot and even the division title.
Pitchers signed this offseason
Drew Smyly started 22 games for the Cubs last season and had a 7-8 record, along with a 3.47 ERA. Smyly signed a two-year contract that will pay him 19 million dollars. His contract includes an opt-out after the 2023 season, a 10 million dollar mutual option for 2025, and a 2.5 million dollar contract buyout. Smyly will bring back his veteran presence to the team’s starting rotation.
Jameson Taillon had a strong 2022 season with the New York Yankees. The Cubs signed the 31-year-old to a four-year contract worth about 68 million dollars a season (17 million a season). Taillon had a 14-5 record, along with a 3.91 ERA and 151 strikeouts. Taillon tied his career highs in wins (14) and games started (32) with the Yankees last season. In the 2022 season, the Cubs did not have a single starting pitcher start more than 25 games, so Taillon should add more stability to the rotation.
Brad Boxberger is a great veteran arm to add to the back end of the Cubs bullpen. Boxberger is a 34-year-old reliever with a career 3.44 ERA, 88 saves, and 94 holds through his 11 seasons in the MLB. No matter the role Boxberger has in the bullpen, he has a long track record of being effective. Boxberger signed a one-year contract worth 2.8 million dollars.
Hitters signed this offseason
Dansby Swanson was the biggest move the Cubs made this offseason. Swanson signed a seven-year deal worth 177 million dollars which will pay him through his age 35 season. His career accolades include a world series championship, one all-star selection, and one gold glove. Swanson set career-high marks in a few statistical categories, including RBI (96), runs scored (99), batting average (.277), and wRC+ (116). wRC+ stands for weighted runs created, and anything over 100 would be considered good. Swanson will quickly become a fan favorite in the windy city.
Cody Bellinger has had an intriguing career up to this point, going from an MVP season at only age 23 to being non-tendered after this last season. Bellinger signed a one-year contract worth 12.5 million dollars. Although Bellinger did not have the best statistical season in 2022, he still had some power hitting 19 home runs and drove in 68 runs. Bellinger’s advanced stats do not bode in his favor; he posted a wRC+ of 83 and a wOBA of .284. In the 2022 season, Bellinger had the lowest on-base percentage of all qualified hitters. Hopefully, Bellinger can bounce back and look like his former self this season.
The Cubs have added two veterans to their lineup by signing Eric Hosmer and Trey Mancini. Both players are 30 or older and no longer in their primes but are still producing at a reasonable level. In 2022 Hosmer and Mancini both had a wRC+ over 100 and wOBA’s over 300. I do not think either of these players will mash 30+ homers this season or drive in more than 100 runs. They both will be vital to this team’s success.
Tucker Barnhart did not have a memorable season in 2022 with the Detroit Tigers. Barnhart has a reputation as a great defensive catcher in the past, as he won two gold gloves back when he was with the Reds. Barnhart had a negative WAR, a wRC+ of 63, a .221 batting average, and only one home run.