The Chicago Cubs starting outfield for the 2023 season appears to be set with Ian Happ in left field, Cody Bellinger in center field, and Seiya Suzuki in right field. While the Cubs have signed defensive specialist Ben DeLuzio to a minor-league deal earlier this offseason, the team still may look to add a more competent fourth outfielder to their roster that also has the capability of serving as the team's designated hitter depending on the matchup.
With Eric Hosmer appearing close to signing with the Cubs for what likely will be the league minimum being that the San Diego Padres are still on the hook for the 8-year, $144MM contract that he signed with the team in 2018. the Cubs still have approximately $18MM available before they hit the first threshold of the luxury tax. While Hosmer is a competent offensive first baseman and that is more than what the Cubs had at the position last season, there still is a need for the team to add more offense to their roster.
Assuming that the Cubs are content with Patrick Wisdom and Christopher Morel splitting time at third base, it is possible that the team may look to add a fourth outfielder that could also double as the team's designated hitter. It was likely the scenario that the team envisioned for outfielder Michael Conforto before he signed a two-year deal with the San Francisco Giants last month. One free agent that the Cubs may want to consider that would fit the bill is Andrew McCutchen.
With the Milwaukee Brewers last season, McCutchen slashed .237/.316/.384 with a .309 wOBA and 98 wRC+. McCutchen did have 17 home runs last season but his ISO dipped to under .150 for the first time in his career. FanGraphs steamer projections, however, have McCutchen bouncing back in 2023 as he is projected to have a 106 wRC+ and .318 wOBA.
An addition of McCutchen would raise the floor of the Cubs' offense in 2023. Barring an unexpected trade for an impact bat, the Cubs need to depend on additions like Hosmer and potentially McCutchen to raise the floor of production for the team's offense. Not to mention, McCutchen has always been considered to be a good clubhouse guy and would be a good presence for the Cubs to have as they transition toward winning at the Major League level.