As the offseason pushes up, the Chicago Cubs have improved their roster. After acquiring Cody Bellinger, Jameson Taillon, Brad Boxberger, and Dansby Swanson, the Cubs are certainly headed in the right direction. In fact, after only winning 74 games in 2022, it's hard to fault the front office if the Cubs don't make the playoffs this coming season. Tom Ricketts promised to open up the checkbook and did so. Jed Hoyer says he wants the team to compete in 2023. How far away are the Cubs from playoff contention?
Looking at a potential lineup of Nico Hoerner, Dansby Swanson, Ian Happ, Seiya Suzuki, Cody Bellinger, Patrick Wisdom, and Matt Mervis is an excellent place to start. On paper, the Cubs' offense doesn't look terrible by any means, but they still lack at least one true bat to give them an extra jolt forward in projected wins. The Cubs have been connected to Trey Mancini, who certainly provides optimism overall, but most of the key offensive weapons have been signed this winter. That being said, there is still a trade market when several players are nearly expiring contracts on rebuilding teams that may be available for the right price. Let's look at three targets and see how they could benefit the Cubs in 2023.
Three trade targets - 3. Austin Meadows
After a trade that saw the Detroit Tigers acquire Austin Meadows before the 2022 season got underway, Meadows only played in 36 contests this season due to a mix of Achilles strains and bouts of Vertigo. Though he has recently been deemed healthy and is taking part in his regular off-season routine, the thought is that his starting job in the outfield may not be 100% secure. If not, and he is in good health, the Cubs may see a reason to swoop up and pick him up as a 4th outfielder and much-needed lefty power bat.
In 2021, Meadows impressed with 27 HRs and 106 RBIs. Before that was the 2020 shortened season, but 2019 was his breakout season in which he slashed .291/.364/.558 with 33 HRs and 89 batted in while earning his first all-star appearance in the process. An Achilles injury is nothing to play around with, so the fact that he's participating in off-season routines is a good sign for the 27-year-old. Vertigo, which kept him sidelined for three weeks, is something to monitor, but if he is mentally good to go, he can be a fantastic addition to the Cubs offense in 2023.