3. NL Central Power Rankings: Chicago Cubs (83-79)
Yes, I'm aware that the Chicago Cubs had a better run differential than any team in the NL Central. But the Cubs choked away their postseason chances over the final few weeks of the 2023 season, and there's no way Chicago enters the offseason in better shape than the Cincinnati Reds.
Chicago handed the NL Wild Card spot to the Miami Marlins. The Cubbies lost 11 of their final 16 games in 2023, and after being swept by the Atlanta Braves during the final week of the season, David Ross' club had no shot at securing a playoff berth.
To be fair, this is about where most pundits expected the Cubs to finish before the season began. Chicago was seen as a mid-level contender that had an outside chance to sneak into the postseason. And that's about how their 2023 campaign went.
The Chicago Cubs have some nice building blocks. Justin Steele is a very good starter who was in the Cy Young conversation for most of the 2023 season. Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson formed a teriffic duo up the middle, and Cody Bellinger recaptured that swing that made him an NL MVP while with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bellinger is free agent and will command a lot of money. Marcus Stroman has a player-option included his contract, so his status for 2024 is up in the air. The Cubs will likley be active in the free agent market, and have been mentioned as a potential trade destination for New York Mets' slugger Pete Alonso.