Monday, February 12, 2024

Rumors, Projections, And Expectations: Analyzing The Chicago Cubs’ 2024 Outlook

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The Chicago Cubs have many fans believing their championship window will open in 2024 for the first time in at least 4 years. After a successful 2023 that saw them reach highs that almost took them to the playoffs, they seem ready to take care of their division foes and represent the NL Central in the postseason.



To do that, they must address significant holes on this roster. There is a big need at first base that needs to be filled; third base could use some attention, and no roster in the league would dismiss adding more pitching. Spring Training is a few days away, but it isn’t time to panic.

The North Siders are widely expected to agree to terms on a deal with free agent Cody Bellinger. Bellinger had a .303 batting average for the Cubs in 2023, and was in the running and considered for the MVP award. The only thing standing in the way of this deal seems to be pride. Bellinger’s agent, Scott Boras, isn’t budging on his demands, and Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations, Jed Hoyer, wants to be the one to control the terms. This staredown is bound to end at some point, but all signs are Bellinger returns to Chicago.

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Bellinger Isn’t The Only Boras Player Available

Who’s to say the Cubs stop at Bellinger? Starting pitchers Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, and third baseman Matt Chapman are all Boras clients still looking for teams to sign with. Montgomery could be one of those guys Hoyer would take a short-term flyer on with an early opt-out to add to the back of the rotation. Chapman would be an okay consolation prize should disaster strike and Bellinger goes elsewhere, but who’s to say the Cubs don’t flex some muscle and go for both?

Regardless, we are still multiple signings or moves away from completing this roster. But while the offseason is not over for the Cubs, these expert projectors cannot sit around and wait for final rosters to release their predictions to the world.

Cubs Projections Demand Lowering Of Expectations

The PECOTA predictions came out early this week, and they did not favor the Cubs. They have the North Siders finishing 2nd in the NL Central with a losing record and missing the playoffs. The FanGraphs rankings also have the Cubs finishing runner-up in their division but are a little more favorable. With a projected record of 82-80, they believe the Cubs will earn the 7th and final seed to make it into the playoffs.

Remember that these projections do not include expected or presumed signings and trades. It’d be hard to convince Cubs fans their win totals won’t be higher by adding an MVP-caliber Bellinger and/or a left-handed Montgomery to the team. If anything, the Cubs can use this as fuel to the fire and bulletin board material.

In the MLB playoffs, all you need to have a chance at winning it all is a ticket to the dance. We saw the 7th-seed Arizona Diamondbacks take their historic run to the World Series in 2023. The Cubs will set their sites higher than just making it in if summer starts hot and the wins start tallying.

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timgjerde56
timgjerde56
Feb 12, 2024 6:57 am

Every day that passes strengthens my belief that Hoyer and Co. are more interested in leaving the door open for the prospects than signing any longterm free agent including Bellinger. They need to know what they have by the time Happ and Suzuki are FA. The trade for Busch, Morel, projections for PCA and the others have to be done now. Otherwise, you end up with too many pieces moving at once when the two OF corner spots threaten to open up. People say where there is some there’s fire, but you also get a lot of smoke dousing a… Read more »

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