Dansby Swanson signing: With shiny new shortstop, Cubs ought to get very aggressive in winnable NL Central

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The Cubs have reportedly signed shortstop Dansby Swanson to a seven-year, $177 million deal. On condition that Swanson was the final remaining free agent we might think about a “massive” title, he’ll find yourself being their largest splash this offseason. Nonetheless, a bevy of strikes ought to observe, in any other case it is a half-measure of an offseason and everyone knows that half measures simply aren’t productive for anybody. 

This is why the Cubs ought to stay aggressive: 

  • They have been 74-88 final season, aided by a 39-31 document after the All-Star break. A few of that was beating up on unhealthy groups, however in addition they went 9-0 in opposition to the Mets and Phillies.
  • The best offensive participant, Willson Contreras, signed with the Cardinals. 
  • The Cardinals are nonetheless simply the very best NL Central group and the Brewers have not torn something down, however the division lacks a powerhouse. That’s, it is a weak sufficient division that leaping into the mid-80s in anticipated wins probably makes a group a contender. 
  • The group proper now is not adequate to contend. It is simply not. 
  • The farm system has some adequate prospects, however lacks star energy. 
  • There’s hardly any cash on the books transferring ahead. It was actually solely Seiya Suzuki’s $19 million in 2025 and 2026 and now we will add Swanson’s deal, however that is chump change for the Cubs. They basically print cash when they’re watchable. 

The Cubs can and needs to be very aggressive in including to the big-league roster the remainder of the offseason. Even with out superstars, there are many gamers on the market that might assist in the brief time period. 

They might add pitching — you may by no means have sufficient — but it surely’s cheap to imagine they’ve good arms in home, particularly with what seems like nice up-the-middle protection. Between Swanson, Nico Hoerner, Ian Happ and Suzuki, there are offensive items that might make up an excellent group. Cody Bellinger is a lottery ticket. Christopher Morel may very well be useful, even when he is greatest suited as a utility backup. Patrick Knowledge’s energy might play in spurts. It is potential Matt Mervis builds on his minor-league breakout season. 

Even with all that, although, it is arduous to squint our approach to calling this an offense that may very well be above-average. 

Left on the free-agent market are outfielders Michael Brantley and Michael Conforto. The Cubs look to have a full outfield with Happ, Bellinger and Suzuki, but it surely’s potential they may add one in every of these two and rotate them by outfield spots when giving one in every of their regulars a time without work, utilizing them as a DH and even enjoying Bellinger at first. 

Third base presently seems like a mix of Morel and Knowledge, which is the place free brokers Evan Longoria or Justin Turner might are available in as an improve. Utility man Brandon Drury remains to be obtainable and will deal with first or third. 

For instance, simply to see what it will seem like, that the Cubs now signal Brantley and Turner. This is what the lineup would possibly seem like: 

1. Nico Hoerner, 2B
2. Dansby Swanson, SS
3. Michael Brantley, DH
4. Justin Turner, 3B
5. Seiya Suzuki, RF
6. Ian Happ, LF
7. Cody Bellinger, CF
8. Matt Mervis/Patrick Knowledge, 1B
9. Yan Gomes, C

Clearly we might flip issues round (particularly because the lefty Bellinger and lefty Mervis would not probably hit back-to-back), however we’re simply attempting to get a tough define. That offense may very well be a contender, even when it lacks starpower within the center — assuming Bellinger would not magically return to MVP kind, an unlikely situation that would definitely be welcome on the North Facet. 

Take away Brantley and Turner, although, and also you’re on a regular basis at-bats for Morel after which further enjoying time for the likes of Alfonso Rivas and Zach McKinstry. 

Merely, the Cubs nonetheless want a minimum of two extra good hitters to string collectively a productive offense. The large names in free company are gone, however there are useful gamers obtainable. As an added bonus, the overwhelming majority of the gamers the Cubs can be contemplating proper now can be on short-term offers. That’s, they may assist the membership contend in 2023 and if that does not work out, they may very well be traded to assist beef up the farm system transferring ahead. 

After all, there’s all the time the chance a commerce comes collectively within the offseason to assist enhance the group within the brief time period and even long run. Extending the contract of Rafael Devers is claimed to be the highest precedence for the Purple Sox, however they misplaced Xander Bogaerts and some years in the past traded Mookie Betts. If Devers someway turns into obtainable, he’d be an incredible match on this group. The Diamondbacks are stated to be keen to half with a left-handed hitting outfielder and possibly there is a match. It is potential the Blue Jays commerce one in every of their catchers; Danny Jansen might work. Will the Phillies commerce Rhys Hoskins? Come on down.

No matter the place the assistance comes from, the Cubs want extra with a view to contend in 2023 and that needs to be the plan. The entrance workplace has insisted this would possibly not be an prolonged rebuild and if that is the case, they should contend in 2023. The signing of Swanson should not conclude the offseason enterprise for president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer. It ought to sign there’s much more assistance on the best way and that assist must be carrying some lumber. 

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