There is no question that the Chicago Cubs have taken a step forward this offseason in regard to their efforts to return to contention as the team made significant acquisitions in the form of outfielder Cody Bellinger, starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, relief pitcher Brad Boxberger, and shortstop Dansby Swanson. The Cubs are a better team today than they were at the end of the 2022 season and that is no small accomplishment considering the team lost arguably their best player from last season in catcher Willson Contreras.
The moves that the Cubs have made this offseason would be the reason why it should come as no surprise that the team is considered to be among the most-improved teams in all of Major League Baseball this offseason. Anthony Castrovince of MLB's official website listed the Cubs third in the category of "from non-playoffs to playoffs?".
"3. Cubs Cubs fans entered this winter with stars in their eyes. This winter has probably not been quite as bold as many of them wanted. But while Dansby Swanson was objectively fourth among the four-star shortstops in this market, his durability and defensive dependability are huge assets for a team looking to move on up. Jameson Taillon was not in the top tier of the starting-pitching market, but, at age 31, after battling illness and injuries, his stuff has only recently returned to its pre-surgery levels. At worst, he’s a league-average arm for a rotation that needed more stability. Veteran Brad Boxberger is an upgrade for the bullpen. And of course, if Cody Bellinger can somehow recapture his old MVP form on a one-year deal with the North Siders, they might just rank as the most improved team of all. "- Anthony Castrovince, MLB dot com
The path to the playoffs for the Cubs in 2023 still includes roadblocks. Given the improvements made across the National League with the San Diego Padres, New York Mets, and Philadelphia Phillies all having made significant additions, the Cubs are going to have an incredibly difficult time making the post-season as a wild card team once you factor in teams that haven't made impact moves but still are a level ahead such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves. The Cubs may have reached the same level as the Milwaukee Brewers but remain a clear second option to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central division.
Everything must fall right just for the Cubs to finish with a .500 record and everything must exceed expectations if the team is going to have any chance of making the postseason. The offseason is not completed yet and if the Cubs do add an impact bat to their lineup, then there is a chance that they can sneak up on the Cardinals. For now, let's understand that improvement does not automatically mean the Cubs are making the postseason in 2023.