Cubs adding the impact bat they need isn't as simple as it sounds

Chicago White Sox v Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox v Chicago Cubs / Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

No one is refuting the fact the Chicago Cubs need more offense in 2023. Maybe Cody Bellinger has finally recovered from his shoulder injury and will return to form. The addition of Dansby Swanson should go a long way toward replacing the offense lost when Willson Contreras departed via free agency. But a very right-handed heavy lineup needs more balance and suffers from a lack of power, in general.

As you can see above, the Cubs don't have a single player projected to hit 30 or more home runs. That's not to say Chicago can't win with a lineup that lacks that one big power bat, but having a major run producer in the heart of the order capable of changing the game with one swing doesn't hurt matters. And even projected team leader Patrick Wisdom comes with questions given his major swing-and-miss tendencies.

Cubs will have to turn to a trade to get their impact bat

Looking at the remaining free agent bats, you're really down to Trey Mancini, Eric Hosmer and Dominic Smith. Mancini seems more stable of the two given his track record, but Smith could help balance out the lineup a bit more. Hosmer, like the other two, will probably be a touch above league average, but hardly transforms the lineup. But neither of them feel like a player that will drastically improve the order in the way this Cubs team needs.

Again, I'm not saying Chicago's offense won't take a step forward in 2023 because I genuinely believe it will. But, at this point, if the Cubs are going to land that last piece of the puzzle, it's got to come from a trade - seeing Rafael Devers added to the mix given the lack of traction in extension talks between Boston and the superstar third baseman wouldn't break my heart - but I don't know that Jed Hoyer is going to want to pony up what'll take in terms of prospects, either.

Next. Three candidates the Cubs could DFA. dark

But that's the only way the Cubs are going to finish rounding out this lineup. Right now, we're gambling on a lot: Bellinger returning to form, Matt Mervis proving he can be as impactful at the big league level as he was across the minors last year and continued production from guys like All-Star Ian Happ and fellow outfielder Seiya Suzuki. And when you gamble, sometimes you win. But sometimes, you fall short of where you want to be.