The Chicago Cubs have already startled baseball this offseason. Could they do more to define the direction of this offseason?
MLB.com rated 13 teams that could help define the direction of the offseason leading into 2024 and the Cubs made the list.
That’s not a big surprise. After all, the Cubs already stunned baseball last week when they hired Craig Counsell to be their manager and paid him the most any manager has ever been paid. That led to the firing of David Ross.
Now, the Cubs have to work to navigate free agency and trades. Their biggest question — can they retain their best hitter, Cody Bellinger, who just won a Silver Slugger last week and should be courted by just about every big-market team for a massive contract.
Pitcher Marcus Stroman is also in free agency afer opting out of his contract.
With a new manager and the usual financial backing, the Cubs could define their own direction and, for that matter, the direction of other franchises, writes MLB.com:
But having seen what strong defense and improved pitching can do for a club in the wide-open NL Central — a division that looks even more winnable with Brandon Woodruff on the shelf for the reigning division champion Brewers — the Cubs have no reason not to be bold this offseason. Bellinger, Jeimer Candelario and Marcus Stroman are all free agents, so Chicago will have its work cut out for it in ensuring it can not only maintain its 2023 level of performance but improve upon it. Their big, surprising investment in manager Craig Counsell is a potential window into their aggressiveness this winter.
One free agent of note is Shohei Ohtani, the two-way superstar who can only hit in 2024 due to a torn UCL. The Cubs courted him when he first came to the states and the Cubs are one of several teams that have the resources to do it again.
The Cubs have also been connected to Philadelphia pitcher Aaron Nola, who has been one of the most durable pitchers in baseball the past few years.
No matter how you look at it, the Cubs have every opportunity to control their own destiny when it comes to making their team better for 2024.