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23 for ’23: What kind of impact will Dansby Swanson have during his first season in Chicago?

1 year agoAndy Martinez

Between position battles, roster additions and new rules, there are plenty of questions surrounding the 2023 Cubs. We attempt to provide answers for 23 of the most intriguing questions heading into the season.

MESA, Ariz. — When it comes to baseball, Dansby Swanson is greedy.

“He’s always thinking about how to get an edge; it’s a winning mindset,” manager David Ross said. “Everything he’s talking about or doing is either giving you a hard time about not being perfect or giving you a little bit of the knowledge that he’s learned in his time and other places.”

It’s one of the most crucial elements that Swanson brings to his new team. Swanson has been in the playoffs the last five seasons with the Braves, including picking up a World Series ring in the 2021 season.

“He’s very outspoken in some of the opinions he has and things he believes in and winning,” Ross said. “It’s right in line with I think guys that are in here that have won. It’s about the little details and he voices that which is really important.”

As Jed Hoyer, Carter Hawkins and the rest of the Cubs brass headed into the offseason off a 39-31 second half, they knew they wanted to augment their roster — both with talent and veteran moxie that could help them build off that stellar end to 2022. It was something that they did, adding World Series winners like Trey Mancini, Eric Hosmer and Cody Bellinger.

But, at the center of those signings was Swanson, who was signed to a 7-year deal and was meant to be the prize of the winter. Swanson immediately showed his leadership qualities.

“Dansby right away called everyone,” Hoyer said at his opening press conference at Spring Training. “I think that was fantastic that he was making that effort right away as a teammate.”

Swanson’s no slouch on the field, either. He posted a 116 weighted runs-created plus in 2022 (16 percentage points above league average) hit 25 home runs or more each of the last two seasons and posted a .776 OPS last year. And his real prowess, his defensive acumen, is what really drew the Cubs to him. No shortstop posted a better Outs Above Average — 22 — than Swanson in 2022. The player next closest to him was his new teammate, Nico Hoerner (13), who now moves to second base, giving the Cubs an elite pairing up the middle defensively.

It was the storyline of the first week of camp, when Marcus Stroman made his “sanker gon’ be sankin’” comment that created quite the buzz on social media.

“I think that’s gonna be such a smooth infield,” catcher Yan Gomes said. “Around the horn, really, I feel like we are very deep and very strong. This front office made a point to put defense out there and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The Cubs wanted to improve their leadership and defense and the crux of that was the Swanson signing. Sure, it’s Spring Training and awards and titles won’t be won in early March, but Swanson’s signing and the tone he’s setting on and off the field early on is giving a preview of what Swanson will provide to the Cubs in 2023.

23 for ’23 series

What will the Cubs’ new era at catcher look like?
What is the Cubs’ plan at third base?
Who steps up in the wake of the Seiya Suzuki injury?
What role will Christopher Morel have on the 2023 Cubs?
Who will win the Cubs’ 5th starter spot?
Where does Nick Madrigal fit on the roster?
Who will close for the Cubs?
What kind of impact will Dansby Swanson have in his first season in Chicago?

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