Amid an offseason flushed with a fleury of moves to improve the roster, the Cubs added themselves to the conversation for winning the NL Central title this season.
Yet, with the Cardinals taking the divisional crown last season, and the Brewers owning it the season prior, some projections believe the Cubs aren't slotted to win this season.
Newly acquired first baseman Trey Mancini isn't worried about projections. He focuses on winning and concedes that the rest of the team feels the same way.
"We've got a really exciting group and again, we've all been on teams where the projections say one thing and those of us in the clubhouse know something else," Mancini said to MLB Network. "So that's, that's the way that we approach the year. And we go out there every day expecting to win or else you're in the wrong line of business."
As aforementioned, the Cubs cooked up plenty of offseason moves, adding Mancini, Dansby Swanson, Eric Hosmer, Tucker Barnhart, Jameson Taillon and Cody Bellinger to a team that won 74 games last season in the midst of restructuring their roster.
Yes, the Cubs lost an elite catcher and clubhouse voice in Willson Contreras to the Cardinals – to the tune of a five-year $87.5 million deal – but, Mancini says one of the reasons he signed with the Cubs is because of the roster they built this offseason.
"Even before I signed with the Cubs, I took notice of all the moves that were being made, and (it's) such an exciting team and was an exciting team," Mancini said. "I didn't even know till I signed how well they finished the year last year. So when you have that mix with the guys that we brought in, I think it's a recipe for a really fun year."
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Last season, Mancini went between the Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros, as he was traded to the latter. Because of this, he struggled, slashing an uncharacteristic .239/.319/.391 which is well below his career .265/.330/.457 threshold.
He hopes to return to his old self with the Cubs in 2023.
"I want to get back to driving the ball up the middle, opposite field, like I can," Mancini said. "I think for whatever reason, last year (I) had some swing deficiencies at times and I was pulling the ball a little more than I normally had. So just kind of getting back to using the big part of the field."