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The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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Chicago Cubs expected to be big buyers this offseason 

With the hiring of manager Craig Counsell, the Cubs are expected to be in the running for current MLB superstars 
Eileen T. Meslar / Chicago Tribune / TNS
New Chicago Cubs manager Craig Counsell speaks during a news conference at the team’s office building in Wrigleyville on Nov. 13, 2023, in Chicago.

The Chicago Cubs have become the talk of the MLB so far during this offseason, as their surprising 83-79 finish shocked many around the league. With the hiring of new manager Craig Counsell, it seems the Cubs are now ready to make the jump to legitimate World Series contender that fans have been waiting for since 2019, and now seem in a good position to spend the money needed to acquire the correct players.

With the surprising “breakout” season from former MVP Cody Bellinger and a decent lineup due to free agency pickups by the Cubs last offseason, many fans seem to think that they might land superstars Juan Soto or Shohei Ohtani. The biggest question surrounding the Cubs is if they are willing to spend the money to pick up those superstar names, and this is the time for them to do it after a successful season.

The Cubs’ single biggest target this offseason will be the re-signing of Cody Bellinger out of free agency, as his one year contract has expired. There are other big names such as the San Diego Padres All-star Juan Soto, and American League MVP Shoei Ohtani, these players would require the Cubs to spend a lot of money now available to them after the Jayson Heyward contract (which was disastrous). While Ohtani and Soto are top five favorite landing spots to the Cubs, they may be out of reach for the Cubs to acquire, but as of now the Cubs are engaging in trade rumors around signing Shane Beiber from the Clevand Guardians and Tyler Glasnow from the Tampa Bay Rays.

According to Cubs Insider, “According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Cubs are among the teams active in trade conversations for Shane Bieber and Tyler Glasnow. Both pitchers are entering their final year of control with their respective teams and have been connected to the Cubs with some degree of speculation for at least the last year. The Reds were also mentioned specifically, though Morosi’s wording indicates other teams are involved.”

While Glasnow and Beiber would be helpful for the Cubs rotation, the biggest rumor surrounding the Cubs would be a deal with superstar Shoei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels who recently became a free agent. Many speculate since the hiring of former Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell the Cubs are now dead set on making a playoff run, and with Cubs outfielder Seiya Suziki having a friendship with Shohei, many think Ohtani would have no problem fitting in the Cubs clubhouse. The Cubs also have the money available to get Ohtani, but it would come at a very high asking price, and being in competition with the Los Angeles Dodgers to acquire him it should be interesting to see potential moves the Cubs will make in pursuit of him.

According to ESPN, “There will be plenty of competition for Ohtani this winter, but at least Chicago has the DH to offer this time around. It also just hired widely respected manager Craig Counsell to take over an 83-win team that just missed the postseason in 2023. Additionally, the team has payroll coming off the books in the form of Jason Heyward ($21 million) and Cody Bellinger ($17.5 million), leaving money for a massive deal.”

With the Cubs being seen as buyers going into this offseason, and their disappointing play down the stretch that cost them a playoff spot last season, fans and even their players feel that a change is happening in the organization, and on a very positive note.

According to Yahoo Sports, Dansy Swanson, the Cubs Shortstop, said, “With how we finished people are going to think it’s further off than it actually is. There’s a lot of really, really talented players not only here but obviously in the lower levels that can contribute and then in offseason free agency, there’s plenty of moves that can be done there as well that could really get us over the hump and rolling in the right direction. But definitely a good step this year, definitely confident with things moving forward.”

With the MLB winter Meetings taking place on Dec. 4 in Nashville this season, this will be the biggest opportunity for the Cubs to make their moves this offseason. With the moves already made by the Cubs, this offseason should not be the question of “who can we sign?” but rather “when can we sign them?” It will be an exciting experience for Cubs fans to experience as they make their push to be a playoff contender for the 2024 season.

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