Major Subtractions: 1B/OF Cody Bellinger*, RHP Marcus Stroman, 3B Jeimer Candelario
Major Additions: SP Shota Imanaga, INF Michael Busch, RHP Hector Neris
Notable Moves: signed Craig Counsell to a 5-year deal
The Chicago Cubs were rumored to be in on players such as Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Blake Snell, and other high-end free agents this offseason. They did manage to sway Craig Counsell over from the Milwaukee Brewers, a move that surprised many in the industry.
Chicago played the waiting game this offseason; after losing three key players in Cody Bellinger, Marcus Stroman, and Jeimer Candelario, many expected the Cubs to be big players in the free agent pool. They are a big-market team that had a low payroll at the beginning of the offseason and a stated desire to improve. Instead, the Cubs lost out on players such as Juan Soto, Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto,
Chicago was able to sign Shota Imanaga on January 9th. Imanaga will likely slot in as the team's #2 or #3 starting pitcher behind Justin Steele and possibly Jameson Taillon. The starting rotation remains strong after this signing despite Marcus Stroman's departure. The Cubs also made a huge trade for infielder Michael Busch from the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs gave up some promising prospects, but they got a first baseman with a good bat in return.
Patience was a virtue for the Cubs, and they waited until the back half of the offseason to make their moves. However, the moves they did make were not overwhelming. The signing of reliever Hector Neris provides some assurance at the back end of their bullpen. He will provide strong performances late in games for the Cubbies.
Chicago still has a talented roster, and their retooling during the 2022-2023 offseason is still felt this year. The Chicago Cubs look to be one major move (Cody Bellinger?) away from being the top dogs in the division, but at the moment, they don't feel like crazy frontrunners.