Chicago Cubs face disappointing postseason odds heading into the 2024 season

Despite facing odds worse than a coin flip, the Cubs enter with far better chances of playing baseball in October than this time last year.

New York Mets v Chicago Cubs
New York Mets v Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

On the heels of an offseason that fell short of many fan's expectations, the Chicago Cubs head into Opening Day in Arlington on Thursday with postseason odds of just 41.5%, according to Fangraphs.

The biggest addition the club made came in the form of manager Craig Counsell, who joined the Cubs after spending the last 9 seasons with the division-rival Brewers. A lot has been made of the difference-maker Counsell will be, despite the front office largely avoiding major moves this winter.

The hope is that rookie Michael Busch can deliver more production at first than last year's start-of-season tandem of Eric Hosmer and Trey Mancini, which feels like a pretty low bar to clear. Re-signing Cody Bellinger felt like a 'must' and Jed Hoyer pulled that off after playing a drawn-out game of chicken with Scott Boras, otherwise this team's odds could look dramatically worse.

Chicago's two big pitching additions, left-hander Shota Imanaga and veteran reliever Hector Neris, add depth to the staff and address a pair of big needs. Imanaga is a big-time strikeout pitcher making the jump to the big leagues from Japan, but will surely experience his share of bumps and bruises as he adjusts to MLB. Neris fills the veteran void in the bullpen, bringing years of experience with him from his time with Houston and Philadelphia.

Cubs' postseason chances are dramatically better than a year ago

If you want more of a glass-half-full type of outlook, this time a year ago, Chicago's postseason odds sat at a dismal 11.2%. The Cubs went on to take their postseason hopes down to the penultimate day of the regular season, so seeing their chances roughly four times higher than where they were a year ago is encouraging in that sense.

Chicago has the second-highest odds of making the playoffs of the five NL Central clubs, trailing the St. Louis Cardinals, who come in at just 50.6 percent. That seems lofty for a team betting its success on a trio of mid-30s pitchers, the best of whom will open the season on the IL in Sonny Gray, but I guess we'll see if they can pull off a comeback after their worst showing in three decades in 2023.

So if you're a pessimist, the team's lack of a blockbuster addition seems to have hurt their initial chances at returning to the postseason for the first time since the shortened 2020 campaign. But if you need to see some light, experts like this team far more than the one that took the field on Opening Day a year ago. Now, we just have to see how it plays out over the next six months.