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BCB After Dark: Under the radar

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks you what was the Cubs best under-the-radar free agent signing this winter.

Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the late-night session for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Come on in out of the cold. It’s going to be warm in Arizona pretty soon. There’s a good table just waiting for you. Let us know if we can do anything for you. Sit down for a spell and relax with us. There’s no cover charge. Bring your own beverage.

BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.

Last time, I asked you two questions about which teams will improve the most in 2023. In the first question, I asked you if you thought the Cubs would improve by more than ten games and win 85 games this year. You are all pretty optimistic at this time of year because 73 percent of you think they will. The second question was which of four other teams would improve the most. That one was a pretty close vote. The Twins won the vote with 28 percent, but the Diamondbacks got 25 percent, the Angels got 24 percent and the Marlins got 22 percent.

Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.

Tonight we’ve got a 1964 performance in Belgium of trumpeter Chet Baker playing Miles Davis’ classic “So What.” It has Jacques Pelzer on saxophone, Rene Urtreger on piano, Luigi Trussardi on double bass and Franco Manzecchi on drums.

Just a reminder that you still have time to vote in the BCB Winter Noir Classic quarterfinals between The Maltese Falcon and Laura. Voting will end on Wednesday evening.

Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and noir.

Tonight I’m going to ask you what was the best “under-the-radar” acquisition of the offseason. What do I mean by that? It’s easy to look at the big contract given to shortstop Dansby Swanson and say that the best pickup of the winter. We’ll be talking about that signing for years to come—for good or bad. (Hopefully for the good.)

Instead, I’m going to ask you which of the free agent signings that you might have missed was the best. Well, not you. Because if you read us here at BCB regularly, we’ve covered all of these moves. But let’s just say your Cubs’ fan brother-in-law who doesn’t really pay close attention to the team 12 months a year like you do.

The Cubs signed eight major-league free agents this winter, more than any other team except the Mets. And even the Cubs signed more free agents from other teams than the Mets did as the Gothamites re-signed three of their former players.

Now obviously, Dansby Swanson was not a low-key signing. Neither was Jameson Taillon. I suppose one could make the argument that the Cody Bellinger signing was low-key, but he’s a former MVP and that kind of argues against him being “under-the-radar.”

So that leaves five candidates. Catcher Tucker Barnhart (two years, $6.5 million), right-handed reliever Brad Boxberger (one-year, $2.8 million). first baseman Eric Hosmer (major-league minimum), first baseman/outfielder Trey Mancini (two years, $14 million with bonuses for PAs), and left-handed starter Drew Smyly (two years, $19 million with a $2.5 million buyout).

I’m counting Smyly even though he was a re-sign and not a new sign. He’s still a player who the Cubs targeted this winter and who could have gone elsewhere.

So which one of these deals for the Cubs was the best? Which one of these four players are you going to say “Man, Jed and Carter were smart to make that deal” in October? (During the playoffs, we assume.)


Who was the Cubs’ best under-the-radar signing this winter?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Tucker Barnhart
    (41 votes)
  • 20%
    Brad Boxberger
    (52 votes)
  • 8%
    Eric Hosmer
    (22 votes)
  • 32%
    Trey Mancini
    (83 votes)
  • 22%
    Drew Smyly
    (59 votes)
257 votes total Vote Now

Thank you so very much for stopping by. We’ll get your coat now if you checked it with us. Please dress warm and get home safely. Recycle any cans or bottles you may have brought with you. Tip the waitstaff. And join us tomorrow for more BCB After Dark.