A large part of the reason why shortstop Dansby Swanson signed with the Chicago Cubs this past offseason was due to him buying into the plan that was sold to him by the Cubs' front office.
Two months into the Major League Baseball season and Swanson is doing his part as he is on pace to be a 5-fWAR player this season and has a wRC+ of 120 through 258 plate appearances.
As a whole, though, the Cubs' season may not have gone entirely as planned so far as the team has a record of 26-33 and are 6 games out of first place in the National League Central division. The idea of the Cubs being sellers for yet another Major League Baseball trade deadline season is looking more realistic now than it was at the start of the season.
Trade rumors involving starting pitcher Marcus Stroman are beginning to surface but that is not swaying the mindset that Swanson has. Swanson talked about his approach with Patrick Mooney of The Athletic while the idea of the Cubs being sellers has grown louder.
"“The only thing that matters really is today,” Swanson said. “How can we win and be better today than we were yesterday? The more that that is the focus, the other stuff will take care of itself. That’s your job to worry about what it’s going to look like. It’s our job to continuously make adjustments — and play our best ball — to be able to put wins on the scoreboard more often than not.”"- Dansby Swanson via The Athletic
The idea that Swanson would grow discontent with the Cubs and his free-agency decision because the team may be sellers at the trade deadline was always a misguided belief. Circling back to the plan that the Cubs outlined to Swanson last winter, it is very likely that the front office told the shortstop that despite raised expectations, 2023 was not going to be a season where the team was going to be a legitimate contender.
The Cubs' play during the month of April set unrealistic expectations among some in the fanbase that thought the team was ready to contend. Not quite. There is no doubt that the foundation has been laid for their next contention window with Swanson in the fold and left fielder Ian Happ and second baseman Nico Hoerner signed to three-year contract extensions. But, with the team's top prospects not expected to arrive until 2024 at the earliest, 2023 was always going to be the bonus year.