Chicago Cubs News: 'The Athletic' gives the offseason a fair grade

Chicago Cubs Introduce Dansby Swanson
Chicago Cubs Introduce Dansby Swanson / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The Athletic revealed their offseason grades for Major League Baseball teams this offseason and they gave the Chicago Cubs a solid B grade for what Jed Hoyer and Co. did this Winter.

The Cubs were one of the most active teams this offseason, adding a number of players via free agency. Added players include Dansby Swanson, Jameson Taillon, Cody Bellinger, Eric Hosmer, Trey Mancini, Tucker Barnhart, Brad Boxberger, and re-signing Drew Smyly. Per FanGraphs, the Cubs net gained the most fWAR among any team this offseason. They added roughly 13 2022 fWAR (including the Mancini signing which was not factored in the FanGraphs piece yet) worth of players and only lost 3.4 worth of 2022 fWAR. This is why they gained the most net 2022 fWAR, because while other teams added more, they also lost more. Take this as you will.

So is a B fair?

It's important to evaluate who they got and what foundation the new players are getting adding to. The team is coming off a 74-88 season, so to put it simply the Cubs have noticeably improved a sub-par team with mostly solid/decent players. While Swanson was one of the bigger free agents this offseason, the Cubs did not add big shiny diamonds like Aaron Judge, Carlos Rodon, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, etc.

One could call 2023 a "competitive bridge year". They brought in solid players to fill in roles on short-term deals to bridge to long-term solutions (i.e. Pete Crow Armstrong, Matt Mervis, or other future moves) while also trying to play competitive baseball. Bridge guys like these are positive adds but are not expected to make the same impact a top-tier star player would.

Putting these factors together make giving the Cubs offseason a B fair. It was good, they improved the team, but they did not add the star power like other teams did. Had they landed another big fish, it could have been upgraded to at least a B+ or A-. The Cubs getting Swanson was at least enough to prevent the offseason from being an F, with the other moves giving them a good grade.

Next. 3 underrated pitcher signings the Cubs made this winter. dark

The 2023 Cubs might not be a dream team, and there is a lot of "we'll see" with them, but they have the potential to be better. The additions should prevent them from being awful and can provide to be a good bridge to a sustainable future.