4) The Cubs could be NL Central favorites by adding Blake Snell
The Chicago Cubs have been quiet relative to expectations this offseason. They signed Shota Imanaga and Hector Neris at strong value, and pulled off a trade for an infielder in Michael Busch who can be really good. Still, on paper, the Cubs look worse than the 83-79 team that they were in 2023.
Adding Craig Counsell can give the Cubs a couple of extra wins, but the Cubs losing Marcus Stroman to the Yankees and potentially losing Cody Bellinger as well really hurts. While the Cubs hope Imanaga can be a solid contributor, Stroman is a proven arm who can be a number three or so on a great team.
Justin Steele is an excellent piece to start a rotation, but the staff could use a major boost. While Kyle Hendricks had a solid year in 2023, he's missed substantial time with shoulder troubles in each of the last two seasons and is now 34 years old. Jameson Taillon had a shaky first season with the Cubs. Jordan Wicks is unproven.
The Cubs rotation has a lot of potential, especially if guys like Imanaga and Wicks can pitch well, but is also one that can be poor after Steele if things go wrong. Adding another arm with that in mind like Snell can be what pushes Chicago into the NL Central hunt with teams like the Reds and Cardinals.