Heading into the 2023 season, the Chicago Cubs have improved on paper to the point that those players who were easily given a more significant role last season have been pushed down the pecking order to the point of uncertainty regarding their future in the organization. Most recently, we saw Anthony Kay get the axe before even throwing a pitch to make room for Trey Mancini. Though we are reaching the end of adding players via free agency, there is still the possibility of a trade that could shake things up. Regardless, the 40-man roster still needs to be finalized heading into Spring Training.
More likely than not, there will be those players in Spring Training that are on the cusp as it is that get pulled off the roster to make room for those that exceed expectations in Arizona. Of course, you also have your pending free agents that are locks for the 26-man roster but face the reality of not being in a Cubs uniform next season if extension terms aren't agreed upon. Let's take a look at five players facing uncertainty as we get ready to open the book on the 2023 campaign.
5 uncertain futures - 5. Zach McKinstry
Starting with Zach McKinstry, who has versatility in the field that gives him some value if he can figure it out at the plate. The problem is that he has yet to do much of the latter. Defensively, sure, McKinstry has been sufficient. He recorded 58 putouts between 2B, SS, 3B, and the OF, to along with a total of 103 assists. While his three errors were all at third base, he still managed an overall fielding percentage of 0.982%, with one out above average and one run prevented at 2B. Overall, solid numbers in a sample size that at least leaves you intrigued moving forward.
The floor is only set so high, however. Offensively, things begin to fall off the table for McKinstry. In 2022, he recorded a slash of .199/.273/.361 to go along with a 28.1 K% between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cubs. The upside is there. In Triple-A alone, McKinstry has recorded 138 hits in 427 at-bats, suitable for a .323 batting average. If he can figure it out at the major league level, he becomes quite the viable piece, even if only as a trade candidate in a buy scenario at the deadline. The problem is the reality of needing more everyday playing time to find that rhythm. Nevertheless, of those mentioned on this list, he should be the safest of those facing uncertainty.