Meghan Montemurro of the Chicago Tribune joins “9 Good Minutes” on WGN News Now to talk about the start of the Cubs 2023 season

CHICAGO – Could this be the year that a new core of players for the Cubs gets back into the postseason?

Perhaps that’s ambitious for a team that’s been under .500 the last two seasons, but there is hope on the north side that the team is closer to a return to the playoffs than they were a year ago.

Team president Jed Hoyer will start to find that out for sure when the Cubs face the Brewers to start the 2023 season, one in which there are a few new players on the roster along with others that joined last year as the team builds a new core.

Shortstop Dansby Swanson, starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, catcher Tucker Barnhart and outfielder Cody Bellinger were among the key additions to the club in the offseason. Meanwhile, starting pitcher Marcus Stroman along with outfielder Seiya Suzuki enter their second year with the franchise.

Ian Happ, one of the holdovers from the Cubs’ teams that were strong at the end of the last decade, enters the final year of his contract after an All-Star and Gold Glove-winning season in 2022.

Second baseman Nico Hoerner, who debuted in 2019, just received a three-year contract extension, something that’s been rare for homegrown player in the Theo Epstein-Hoyer era of the Cubs.

All of these player will try to improve on back-to-back losing seasons that the Cubs had when they dealt the majority of their 2016 World Series championship core in July 2021.

The club won’t have Suzuki early in the season as he lands on the 10-day injured list to start the season after suffering a left oblique strain in spring training. Kyle Hendricks, who is continuing to heal his right should that cost him most of the 2022 campaign, is on the 15-day IL along with pitcher Brandon Hughes (left knee inflammation).

Manager David Ross hopes they are back sooner than later so that the club might get their chance to make a run at the postseason again.