Let's build a Cubs lineup with Michael Busch, Cody Bellinger and Rhys Hoskins

With Michael Busch added to the infield picture, Jed Hoyer has the opportunity to build a potent offense if he can add two oft-mentioned free agent targets.

Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages

Thursday's acquistion of Dodgers top prospect Michael Busch answered some questions - while raising others. With the ability to play multiple positions, including both corner infield spots, second base and left field, there are a number of ways he could fit into the lineup in 2024. But, by most accounts, he seems likely to be the team's starting first baseman.

At least prior to this deal, the Cubs were still very much in on Rhys Hoskins and Cody Bellinger, both of whom would figure to spend a good chunk of time at first. That's not to say you couldn't pair up Busch and Hoskins as a first base/DH platoon tandem, but in an ideal world Busch is more of a complimentary piece to the offseason plans instead of someone you're banking on to be a key offensive cog in the machine immediately.

A projected Cubs lineup with Michael Busch and two key free agent additions is formidable

Here's what the Cubs' lineup could look like with Busch entrenched at first come Opening Day and Hoskins and Bellinger in the mix (wishful thinking never hurt anyone):

  1. Nico Hoerner 2B
  2. Ian Happ LF
  3. Seiya Suzuki RF
  4. Cody Bellinger CF
  5. Christopher Morel 3B
  6. Rhys Hoskins DH
  7. Dansby Swanson SS
  8. Michael Busch 1B
  9. Yan Gomes C

Given Busch's versatility, if the Cubs can land Hoskins on a pillow deal similar to what they gave Bellinger last winter, both guys could get regular time at first, something that's surely important to Hoskins if he's looking to re-establish his value and test the free agent waters again next offseason.

The early projections for Busch are eye-catching, especially given the black hole the first base position was for Chicago in 2023. If he can live up to these numbers - and Hoyer can, at the very least bring Bellinger back, the offense could be in good shape.

Again, this almost certainly won't (really, it can't) be the Cubs' last move this winter. But it's an important one that brings a cost-controlled bat with tremendous upside into the fold that could push the team over the hump if Hoyer can hit on a couple more free agent bats to slot in alongside him.