Where do the Cubs go after signing Dansby Swanson?

I was thinking of a number of different ways I could write “Other Reactions to Dansby Swanson’s Signature Article,” and I settled on this one.

First, let me tell you that Sarah Sanchez will have a “by the numbers” article on Swanson in the coming days.

Other than signing Swanson, the Cubs still have a few holes to fill – another catcher, another hitter, some relievers, maybe another pitcher. So let’s take a look at all of these areas, one by one.


The best remaining free agent catchers are: Gary Sanchez, Roberto Perez, Jorge Alfaro, Curt Casale and Tucker Barnhart. (There are a few others, but these are the best of the rest.)

All of these hunters have some good points, but they also have flaws in their games.

The Cubs need a catcher who can hit a little bit, but also has a defensive mindset.

So why not send inquiries to the Mets about James McCann?

McCann had two years left on his deal for about $24 million. He missed most of 2022 (played in just 61 games) with two injuries: a hibiscus that cost him six weeks, and a slash injury that sidelined him for another month.

None of these injuries should stop him from being healthy for 2023. McCann hasn’t really been as good since 2019, but maybe being 100 percent healthy could help him get back to that level. He is in the middle of the pack in both field framing and throwing to runners.

I imagine if the Cubs were to get this contract, and thus help the Mets stay under the 90 percent luxury tax level, the cost probably wouldn’t be as high on expectations. With the signing of Omar Narváez, the Mets didn’t need McCann anymore.


The Cubs have been linked with two free agent hitters who might help them out: Michael Conforto and Trey Mancini. Either one could be a DH, with Mancini also providing the possibility to platoon at first base with Matt Mervis.

There are downsides here: Conforto missed the entire 2022 season after shoulder surgery (and turned down an offer to qualify for the Mets after 2021, which was a huge mistake in hindsight). That injury also affected the 2021 season. If Conforto is 100 percent healthy, it could be a huge boost for the Cubs lineup that it could use. A two year deal will be worth it.

Mancini missed the entire 2020 season for cancer, then came back in 2021 and had a good year in Baltimore, then not so well after his trade to Houston at a deadline last summer. That would be the caveat here – would it be better than the .176/.258/.364 he scored in 51 games with Houston? (He also went 1-for-21 with eight strikeouts for the Astros in the postseason.)

Starting pitchers

The Cubs could still meet again with Drew Smiley or Wade Miley, pitchers who were on the team in 2022 with varying degrees of success. Smyly, in particular, wouldn’t be expensive.

I’ve written here previously about Corey Kluber and Johnny Cueto, both of whom are getting up there in age (Kluber turns 37 in April, Cueto turns 37 in February). But Cueto had a great year with the White Sox and Kluber threw well enough for the Rays (and, more importantly, was healthy all year), leading the MLB in walks per nine innings pitched average (1.2, only 21 walks in 164 innings pitched).

relief jugs

I previously wrote about former Cub Andrew Chaffin, who had a great season with the Cubs in 2021 before being traded to Daniel Palencia and Greg Dishman. (Well, at least Valencia still has a chance of being very good.)

Chaffin had a decent year in Detroit and will turn 33 in June, still young enough to put together a solid season. He seemed to love pitching for the Cubs and might be willing to come back.

Other relievers who could be good value deals: Adam Ottavino, Alex Reyes, Taylor Rogers, and three other former Cubs: David Phelps, Mikal Givens and Craig Kimbrel.

Yes, Kimbrel. Is it worth it to bring the former cubs back to a closer location at a much lower salary?

Just to bring this article back to a bit of the Swanson discussion: There is absolutely no doubt that Swanson, a Gold Glove winner, makes the Cubs a better defensive team. Nico Horner would move to second base, which is where he was a Gold Glove Finalist in 2020. Cody Bellinger is a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder. This is important, especially with the new shift restrictions:

“It’s really important to have a good centerfield defense,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said this month. “Midfielder, you can’t hide in the shift anymore. So I think this is going to expose these guys even more, and make the sport and defense in midfield that much more important.”

At this point, I feel it necessary to link back to this National Review article, the one that had the 2016 Cubs as one of the best defenses in MLB history:

National Review

Now, of course, the Cubs had other things working in their favor besides great defense, but I think that combined with the adjustments teams will have to make to the new changed rules makes quarterback defense that much more important going forward. I give Jed Hoyer credit for realizing that.

So while the Cubs still have more to do, I still state – again – that I believe the Cubs with Dansby Swanson and some of the other signings they’ve made so far this offseason make them at least a contender for the champion. . Yes, they have more work to do, but I’ll give Hoyer a good grade so far – and yes, if they were heaving on Swanson, there’d probably be another “Fire Jed Hoyer” article posted here.

But they didn’t — and now the Cubs are sixth among all teams in total dollar amount spent so far this offseason:

I am very happy with what the team has done so far. As always, we await future developments.


Give Jed Hoyer a score for the Cubs offseason so far.

#Cubs #signing #Dansby #Swanson

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