Trey Mancini latest example of change of culture for Chicago Cubs
There is a different vibe emanating from the Chicago Cubs Spring Training this season as the team is littered with veteran players that have had success elsewhere and are looking to find themselves again as the team looks to return to contention at the Major League level.
Among those players is veteran first baseman Trey Mancini. With Eric Hosmer expected to be the Cubs' everyday first baseman, Mancini appears likely to get a bulk of his plate appearances with the Cubs this season as the team's designated hitter. After struggling with the Houston Astros after being dealt by the Baltimore Orioles at the Major League Baseball trade deadline last season, Mancini signed with the Cubs with the goal of returning to being the hitter that he once was. Along the way, Mancini is hoping the Cubs can prove the doubters wrong.
For the Cubs, for the first time since perhaps the start of the 2020 season, the team has the expectation of winning at the Major League level. The additions of veterans such as Mancini, Hosmer, Cody Bellinger, Tucker Barnhart, and Dansby Swanson have raised the floor of expectations for the team in 2023.
Despite the additions and the $300MM spent in free agency this offseason, the Cubs are still a team that is not favored by oddsmakers. The Cubs are not a team that projects favorably in regard to oddsmakers and models that evaluators such as FanGraphs or PECOTA use to predict season outcomes. The Cubs do not have a superstar but have the makings of a team that could be near the top of defensive rankings with a pitching staff that should be prone to generating weak contact. If the Cubs can do that at a high level while one of Mancini or Bellinger returns to form offensively, then there definitely will be an opportunity for the team to prove doubters wrong.