Chicago Cubs News: Grading the team's offseason additions
While the Chicago Cubs are probably not quite ready to compete for a World Series, I believe their additions this offseason will put them in a position to put up a good fight against the St. Louis Cardinals and possibly even make the playoffs in 2023. Jed Hoyer’s front office had a mission to improve this club in terms of defense, base-running, power, and pitching depth, and they accomplished most of those things with a slew of free-agent signings. Let’s look at each addition and grade the value they bring to the 2023 Chicago Cubs.
Dansby Swanson: A
The Cubs went into the offseason looking to sign one of the four big shortstops that were on the market, and they walked away with the former Braves star after inking him to a 7-year $177 million deal. The 28-year-old is coming off the best season of his career, where he led Atlanta in hits (177) and runs scored (99) while securing his first gold glove after posting 9 defensive runs saved at shortstop.
With Swanson on the dirt, the Cubs' infield defense receives a massive upgrade. The move allows Nico Hoerner, an elite defender in his own right, to shift over to second base and make the Cubs' middle infield arguably the best in baseball. With so many soft contact-inducing pitchers on the staff, like Kyle Hendricks, Marcus Stroman, Jameson Taillon, and Drew Smyly, and the limits on shifting coming in 2023, infield defense is more important than ever and the Swanson signing makes the Cubs elite in this category for years to come.