It is opening day! The Cubs were expected to spend the last few months and spend they did. Most of that spending took place before my article on March 1. The last few days the Cubs have made some moves the cap off their winter changes.
The headline move of the last three days was a three year extension for 2B/SS Nico Hoerner. On March 1 I said I believed they would sign him to a five to seven extension next winter. While that no longer looks like it will happen after his $35 extension this week weirder things have happened before.
Also, on March 1 I said that I thought Jed Hoyer had not made an offer to Ian Happ yet. Turns out my thinking was wrong according to reports an offer was made before spring training and as the season starts today terms have still not been agreed upon. That means he will be on the trade roller coster between now and July 31. That means us fans may not get a real chance to say goodbye with a standing ovation at the last home game of the season because he could still be with the team the last week before the deadline and their first game after the deadline is a night game on July 31. I think Cubs Nation is on the precipice of a repeat of 2021 when Jed traded the 2016 core players at the eleventh hour. Hopefully this time he gets a good return. Only time will tell.
On to the final moves to finish off the opening day roster. In my post last week I was asking if we’d see Hayden Wesneski or Javier Assad in the fifth starter slot. I suggested that if it was Assad we’d see Justin Steel and Wesneski pitching in long relief and there would be a “six man” rotation where the Cubs had a “bullpen” day every sixth day. Well, I was sort of right about this. However, it was the other way around Assad will be pitching in long relief while Steel got the opening day nod and Wesneski is the number five starter.
To cap off the roster Jed traded Zach McKinstry to Detroit for minor league relief pitcher Carlos Guzman who will start out the year at Double A for the Cubs and according to reports likely find his way up to Triple A by July. At the end of the day I think this was a mistake considering how overloaded the Cubs roster is with guys who can play on the left side of the infield and the fact that Patrick Wisdom will likely be used in the corner outfield spots a lot. Mistake or not, I am okay with the move because McKinstry was not that great with the bat last year.
With all the off season moves, the moves the last few days, and the trades I am expecting to see happen before the deadline I thing the Cubs will have a better season than last year and make the playoffs as a Wild Card team with 82 to 85 wins. They will having nothing to thank for this other than the fact that interleague play starts on Opening Day this year due to the new CBA that was signed in 2022!
With that… it is time to play ball!
If you cannot play with them, root for them!