The Chicago Cubs are one of the most unpredictable teams heading into the 2023 season. They could realistically be a playoff contender, but it also wouldn't be surprising to see them finish near the bottom of their division. Chicago's roster is full of question marks. They made a number of moves over the offseason, bringing in stars such as Dansby Swanson and Cody Bellinger. However, Chicago also missed the playoffs in 2022.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the team, let's take a look at the biggest Cubs questions that still need answers before 2023 Opening Day.
Where do Dansby Swanson, Cody Bellinger fit in the lineup?
Dansby Swanson is the Cubs shortstop, and Cody Bellinger will be their centerfielder in 2023. That much is known. However, where will both players fit in the lineup.
A recent batting order from a spring training game versus the San Diego Padres provides a look at where Bellinger and Swanson could bat this year, per the Cubs' Twitter.
Here is today's #Cubs starting lineup at @SloanParkMesa. pic.twitter.com/jkiKpXnnas
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 19, 2023
Ian Happ is going to hit near the middle of the lineup. One can make an argument for Bellinger moving up in the order, potentially hitting in front of Trey Mancini. Meanwhile, Swanson slots in nicely as the No. 2 hitter behind Nico Hoerner.
Bellinger can establish himself as a top four hitter with a strong performance to open the season. He's fresh off a pair of abysmal offensive campaigns in Los Angeles with the Dodgers, but he arguably offers the most upside out of anyone in this batting order.
It will be interesting to see where Cody Bellinger and Dansby Swanson bat on Opening Day for Chicago.
What is the plan for Marcus Stroman?
Marcus Stroman is a difficult pitcher to figure out. He's endured his share of ups and downs during his time in the big leagues. Stroman has pitched well over the past two seasons overall. In 2021, he finished the year with a 3.02 ERA with the New York Mets. He then posted a 3.50 ERA in his first season with the Cubs in 2022.
For the most part, he's been a reliable starting pitcher in the big leagues. It will be interesting to see what his role is for the Cubs' starting rotation this year. Will he be the ace of the staff? Possibly a middle of the rotation-type pitcher? Another question the Cubs will need to answer is whether or not they will trade Stroman ahead of the trade deadline should they struggle in 2023.
For now, they will focus on preparing for Opening Day. If the Cubs are going to be successful, they will need Stroman to lead the charge. He features enough talent to be the ace of the rotation.
Who makes the Cubs' starting pitching rotation?
The Cubs' starting rotation as a whole is questionable. We already discussed Marcus Stroman. Other arms on the pitching staff include Kyle Hendricks, Jameson Taillon, and Drew Smyly.
Their depth chart, however, has a number of different names who could impact the starting rotation in 2023. Justin Steele, Adbert Alzolay, Keegan Thompson, Adrian Sampson, Hayden Wesneski, and Javier Assad will be pitchers to monitor moving forward. The Cubs don't have five clear-cut options for their rotation, but they have no shortage of possibilities.
The Cubs will need to answer all of these questions, and more that we didn't even touch on for that matter, ahead of 2023 Opening Day.