After the Cubs’ front office sent shockwaves through the north side of Chicago with news that the team was hiring top-tier manager Craig Counsell, it became immediately apparent that the outlook for the team in 2024 was taking a turn skyward. 2024 always seemed like a reasonable expectation for the Cubs to return to competitive baseball, and after narrowly missing the postseason this year, that belief falls perfectly in line with where the team as a whole sits at this juncture.
It truly is an exciting time to be a Cubs fan this winter. A move such as firing David Ross, beloved World Series winner, signifies a readiness to compete at the highest level. The current Cubs roster has a couple of holes in it, but the front office has the means to fill them.
Via trade, the Cubs look poised to make a splash this offseason. There have been numerous accounts linking the team to All-Stars Pete Alonso and Juan Soto, and the front office has the prospect depth to pull off a trade of that nature. Ultimately, without a farm intact to support the team's run from 2015-2020, the team wound up having to sell off its most favorable assets, culminating in a two-year rebuild, with the third year seeing the major league club just missing the postseason. This time around, the window can remain open for a longer sustained push.
Via free agency, the Cubs have already announced they are bringing back veterans Kyle Hendricks and Yan Gomes. Hendricks, a long-tenured member of the starting rotation offers stability, where the catching tandem of Yan Gomes and youngster Miguel Amaya will give the Cubs both experience and offer a formal segue for Amaya to take the reins, should Gomes depart after the 2024 season.
Where it gets interesting is what the front office decides to do regarding players they bring in from the outside. We know the Cubs aren’t going to wait around forever to hopefully sign Cody Bellinger to a long-term deal, so expect the club to be active, especially early on in the trade market as it looks to have that piece that at least pushes the needle forward for 2024. I am expecting the team to also be shopping in that second tier of good starting pitching, outside of names like Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Players like Jordan Montgomery, Sonny Gray, and even Blake Snell all seem like viable candidates to be in talks with the Cubs at some point.
Still, even if the Cubs are successful in pulling off a monster trade early in the offseason, don’t expect the team to stop there. Expect an aggressive offseason, filled with loads of moves for the Cubs. Don’t be surprised when the team is looked at like at as a no-brainer for the postseason in 2024.