Column: Will offseason plans pan out for the Cubs and White Sox? Check back in October.

Cubs President Jed Hoyer and White Sox general manager Chris Getz both made difficult managerial decisions in 2023.

Getz retained Pedro Grifol in late August despite valid reasons to make a change. The Sox were on their way to 101 losses, the clubhouse had been in turmoil for much of the summer and Grifol did himself no favors by pretending everything was fine.

Hoyer fired David Ross in November after praising him nonstop during the season for taking a team 10 games under into a wild-card race, replacing him with the Milwaukee Brewers’ Craig Counsell. It was a cutthroat move no one saw coming, least of all Ross, a popular former Cub whom players liked and ownership loved.

As opening day arrives Thursday for the Cubs in Arlington, Texas, and the Sox on the South Side, you can expect those two decisions to be scrutinized all season.

Can Counsell finish the job with most of the same players Ross had under him in 2023?

Can Grifol lead the Sox to vast improvement with a mostly new cast in the first year of the semi-rebuild?

Optimism abounds on opening day, even in a city with only two World Series titles over the last 106 years.

The Cubs should take the watered-down National League Central and at least win a postseason game for the first time since 2017. Anything less than a playoff appearance in Counsell’s first year of a record-setting five-year, $40 million deal would be considered a failure. Along with Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash, Counsell is considered one of the best in the business.

As he boldly said to the non-believers at the Cubs Convention: “You don’t think I can do it? Watch.”

The Sox should finish among the bottom-feeders in the American League with 90-plus losses, vying with the Oakland A’s for the top draft pick even while playing in the Al Central, the worst division in baseball. Anything close to .500 would be considered a major success considering the roster makeup and lack of depth in the farm system.

Check back in October for your answers.

Until then, you can expect an interesting season on both sides of town, albeit for very different reasons. Hoyer and Getz live near each other on the North Shore and can meet up at the Starbucks on Green Bay Road in Wilmette to compare notes.

Hoyer stepped out from former President Theo Epstein’s long shadow in 2021 and executed a summer sell-off of stars that changed the direction of the team. The axing of Ross, who was Epstein’s hand-picked replacement for Joe Maddon, made the break complete. This is Hoyer’s team, sink or swim.

Hoyer’s TKO of uber-agent Scott Boras in the negotiations over Cody Bellinger’s return might be his “White Album,” earning him the kind of accolades Epstein regularly received in 2015 when the Cubs’ original rebuild turned the corner.

Of course, Bellinger still has to produce, the bullpen must stay healthy, Christopher Morel needs to make the routine plays at third and on and on. But the opportunity is there, and it’s up to this team to seize the moment.

Getz has much less pressure on him in his first full season on the job, though replacing Rick Hahn, whose popularity waned the last two seasons, won’t be quite as strenuous. Forced to build a team within the budget constraints Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf ordered, Getz opted for low-paid comeback candidates, including infielders Paul DeJong and Nicky Lopez and starters Mike Soroka and Erick Fedde.

While letting go of Tim Anderson, Yasmani Grandal and Mike Clevinger, dealing Dylan Cease, Aaron Bummer and Gregory Santos and bringing in defense-first catchers Martín Maldonado and Max Stassi, Getz chose to emphasize defense over offense and young pitchers over experience.

It won’t be easy drawing fan or media interest with this current bunch, especially if the Cubs are contenders. But Getz only has to look back at what Epstein did in 2012 to understand hard choices had to be made. Remember: David DeJesus and Joe Mather were Epstein’s two biggest offseason moves in the first year of the Cubs rebuild.

In mid-September of that season, the Sox were leading the AL Central and the Cubs were on their way to 101 losses, their worst record since 1966. Epstein was facetiously asked one day at Wrigley Field whether he noticed Chicago was a two-team city. The implicit meaning was that disgruntled Cubs fans could take their money and spend it on the South Side.

“Obviously, I’ve noticed it,” Epstein calmly replied. “There’s a choice. You can say we’re going to Band-Aid this thing and try to polish it up the best we can and make it as presentable as possible to try to squeeze every last fan through the gates this year.

“Or we can say we want to make this thing right, no matter how tough the road is. We’re taking the second path. So it doesn’t matter how many teams are in the city, we’re going to take the path we feel is right.”

Getz took the path he deemed right instead of trying a Band-Aid approach in 2024. We won’t know for a while whether it was the right call, but Sox fans should give pause before making any judgments. It’s a long season, and hey, at least they’re not in Nashville, Tenn., yet.

Either way, a new journey begins for the Sox and Cubs, and no one can predict how it will end.

That’s reason enough for Chicago to celebrate another opening day.