The Cubs are off to an 8-4 start in the month of August and enter Monday's off-day 3 1/2 out in the NL Central and a half-game out in the race for the third and final Wild Card spot. After the front office bought at the trade deadline, it's on the players to finish the job and punch a postseason ticket for the first time since 2020.
With about a month-and-a-half left in the regular season, it's all eyes on the North Side. It's refreshing to not spend the entire second half of the season looking ahead toward next year, but actually be invested in the on-field results at this point in the summer. That being said, it's never too early to think about 2024, especially in the sense that there are guys on this roster who might be playing for a spot on next year's team.
3 Cubs players that are playing themselves out of the 2024 plans: #3 - Nick Madrigal
Nick Madrigal probably has a role to play somewhere in the league, but I'm less and less certain it'll be with the Cubs with each passing week. Prior to Chicago trading for him in the summer of 2021, this was a guy with a reputation as an elite bat-to-ball guy. He'd hit everywhere, dating back to his college days at Oregon State.
But since joining the Cubs, he's never looked like that guy - a former top prospect who hit .300 year in and year out - and it's proven costly. Injuries have played a big role in this, to be sure, but he's been just as inconsistent as ever here in 2023 and has been a mess since coming back from the IL in late July.
Madrigal is batting just .225/.296/.275 since July 29 and he's batted below .230 in three of the first five months of the season. Looking at how the roster might take shape heading into next season, re-signing Cody Bellinger and/or Jeimer Candelario all but eliminates the opportunity for regular playing time for Madrigal - and his lack of consistency or production is doing him zero favors.