While the Chicago Cubs may not have added a franchise-altering talent to their roster this offseason, there is no question that the team has improved greatly from the 2022 season. The additions that the Cubs have made this offseason have raised the floor of expectations as they enter the 2023 Major League Baseball regular season and they may have put themselves in a position where they could sneak into the postseason discussion.
It was clear with the moves that the Cubs made this offseason, that team wants to ensure they are competitive in the opening months of the regular season and in a position where they could add to the team in July if they are in contention at the trade deadline. Despite the clear direction that the Cubs have had this offseason, it was peculiar that a prominent baseball podcast, "Talkin' Baseball", asked the question of whether or not the Cubs actually improved this offseason.
It is discouraging when national outlets and forums take the lazy way out in regard to a segment. Discouraging because had any of the hosts taken 15 minutes to do some google research to learn where the Cubs are now compared to where they were at the start of the 2022 season, it would be clear that the team has improved considerably. The fact that the Cubs are even on their radar this offseason should be proof alone that the team has improved. The mere fact they don't even know if the Cubs are a better team today than last year is confirmation that they did not pay attention to the team last season.
And I get it, the Cubs tried to play their fanbase as fools by selling the idea that first baseman Frank Schwindel and center fielder Rafael Ortega are everyday players at the Major League level. Any team that tries to sell fringe Major League players as being a part of that season's core deserves to be ignored.
But, let's simplify this for the national outlets that prefer to be lazy:
- First Base: Trey Mancini and Eric Hosmer are upgrades over Schwindel, Alfonso Rivas, and PJ Higgins.
- Second Base: Nico Hoerner is an upgrade over Nick Madrigal
- Third Base: Christopher Morel and Patrick Wisdom are collectively better than just Wisdom
- Shortstop: Dansby Swanson, by way of Hoerner moving to second base, is an upgrade.
- Center field: Cody Bellinger is an upgrade over Rafael Ortega and Jason Heyward
- Designated Hitter: Trey Mancini/Matt Mervis are upgrades over Franmil Reyes
The Cubs have upgraded at six different spots within their starting lineup. In other words, the Cubs are two-thirds better today than they were at the end of last season. That is all the information one could need in order to get a clue that the Cubs will be a better team in 2023 than they were in 2022.