Coming into 2022 a lot of teams expected the Chicago Cubs to be in full rebuild mode. Especially after the fire sale that went down last July with trading away star players in Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez. Cubs President Jed Hoyer mentioned multiple times that this would not be a full time rebuild like when Theo Epstein and Hoyer basically torn down the organization and started from scratch back in 2012.
The Cubs before the lockout were able to land a big time starting pitcher in Marcus Stroman to a three-year deal worth 71 million dollars. It does include an opt out after the second season, but still a major signing to show that the Cubs are not in a full time rebuild.
After the lockout ended the Chicago Cubs surprised a lot of people including myself by signing Japanese star outfielder Seiya Suzuki to a five-year deal worth 85 million dollars. Suzuki was a prioritized free agent by multiple teams, but the Cubs were able to bring him to the north side of Chicago for the foreseeable future.
Those were not the only major moves that the Chicago Cubs made this offseason bringing over a quality starter in Wade Miley from Cincinnati Reds, signing super utility man Jonathan Villar, and also getting a quality backup catcher in Yan Gomes. The bullpen also has new faces in it this year with the signings of David Robertson, Mychal Givens, Chris Martin, Jesse Chavez, and Daniel Norris to name a few.
When you add in the new faces with names like Kyle Hendricks, Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, Nico Hoerner, Nick Madrigal, Jason Heyward, and two players Frank Schwindel, and Patrick Wisdom who both played very well in their first season in a Cubs uniform. This sure seems like a team who can compete. They showed it this weekend against the Milwaukee Brewers.
It is a small sample size of three games, but the Chicago Cubs played well against a Brewers team that many have as a key contender in winning the NL Central this year. The Cubs were able to take two of three from the Brewers in the opening weekend.
The two games the Cubs were able to record victories in were started against the reigning NL CY Young winner in Corbin Burnes, and a very talented starter in Brandon Woodruff who has given the Cubs fits over the past few seasons. The Brewers were able to comeback on Sunday to avoid being swept at the Friendly Confines. There were a lot of positives this opening weekend for the Cubs.
Do I believe the Cubs can go out there and win the World Series this season? No, I personally do not. At the same time with 12 teams now making the playoffs it is not out of the question for this Cubs team to compete for a Wild Card spot in the National League in 2022.
The Cubs do have enough to compete for a playoff spot if they are able to stay healthy and get good quality pitching. Will they be able to stay healthy all season long and get quality pitching? Time will tell, but would not be surprised to see the Cubs fighting for a playoff spot deep into the summer months unlike last year in 2021.
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