2 Chicago Cubs weaknesses that have to be addressed in 2024

The 2023 Chicago Cubs had a number of weak links that are no longer with the team. Is that addition by subtraction enough?

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First Base

Much like catcher, the Cubs carried three players last season that were absolutely abysmal in terms of WAR at first base. Matt Mervis (-0.4), Eric Hosmer (-0.5), and Trey Mancini (-1.4) combined for a legitimately mind-blowing -2.3 WAR at first base so simply not having them on the Major League roster should help.

Beyond that, the Cubs made a trade for Michael Busch. To be fair, he also had a -0.5 WAR with the Dodgers last season, but the Cubs believe in his bat. He’s been a top 100 prospect four years in a row according to Baseball America and in AAA last season he hit .323/.431/.618 with 27 homers. Yes, he’s a rookie. And yes, he had a rough cup of coffee at the end of last season. But keep in mind, we don’t need Anthony Rizzo or Derrek Lee at first base to be better than we were last season. We just need him to not be a net negative.

The final thing to keep in mind here is that Cody Bellinger is more than capable of playing first base as proven by the fact that he’s won a Gold Glove at the position. The Cubs have Pete Crow-Armstrong waiting in the wings to take over center field, so if Busch struggles there’s a greater-than-zero possibility that the Cubs have Bellinger play first and give another top prospect a shot while Busch figures it out. 

Conclusion

The Cubs missed the playoffs by one game in 2023. Through subtraction of deadweight alone they’ll be adding 2.8 WAR to their team and there’s reason to believe in the direction that they’re moving with roster additions and players gaining experience. While this team didn’t make a ton of moves in the offseason, they may just be good enough to get to the playoffs this season and at that point anything is possible.

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