Go ahead and believe in the Chicago Cubs in 2015, you deserve it


So much has been made about the moves the Cubs have made this off-season. Are they enough? Are they contenders now? Normally I say don’t listen to the media, but since technically that’s what I am I need you to listen at least once. Let yourself find some hope and joy in the Cubs next year.

From the time the last out was made of the 2014 season, the Chicago Cubs preparation for next year was underway. The renovation of historic Wrigley Field would begin immediately. No longer would the organization be content with being simply and “landmark’ that was a great place to see a game. I can’t explain how many times I’ve said or heard “you need to experience Wrigley, it’s great.” In all the times that I said it, I was never referencing the actual team on the field. Just the majesty of one of the greatest of baseball’s cathedrals.

Before the winter meetings could even start to tantalize us more than the press already was, the Cubs went and dropped a PR bomb. They fired Rick Renteria after one season to hire without a doubt, one of the best managers in the game in Joe Maddon. In his time in Tampa Bay, Maddon had great success, even winning a pennant with a financially strapped organization. He’s unconventional, loves sabermetrics, is quick-witted and may be just the man for a job that could be one of the toughest in baseball. Winning a World Series with the Cubs.

“I believe in the plan that they have in place right now for the future of the Cubs”. – Jon Lester

Cue the oddsmakers.

Almost immediately, the Cubs odds of winning the World Series went from 40-1 to 25-1. They hadn’t signed anyone. Nothing on the field had changed. Simply the change of the man writing up the lineup made the last place Cubs a better bet. That talk fueled the hope that Tom Ricketts would open up the checkbook, no..not just open but throw it at every possible free agent to change the Cubs fortunes.

Epstein immediately reached out to former Cubs starter Jason Hammel, as he promised him he would when he was traded in July. They immediately became better as Hammel signed a two-year deal, and in theory would replace Edwin Jackson, who in two seasons can surely be considered Epstein and Jed Hoyer’s biggest regret.

The Cubs then were able to work a deal to bring the two-time All-Star Miguel Montero from Arizona over, for simply low-level prospects. While he hasn’t been overly consistent, he upgraded the position immediately with his framing ability and his veteran leadership. The leadership has some questions, but not enough to deter the Cubs from bringing him in.

And then it happened. In my lifetime, 35 years, but more like the 30 I can fully recollect, I can’t remember a signing that seemed to mean so much. Here we have Jon Lester, one of the best pitchers in the game, choosing the last-place Cubs over the World Series winning Giants and his former home of Boston. Yes, he had a history with Epstein. But this was more than that. As Lester made it clear, he believes.

"“First and foremost, I want to win regardless of where I’m at,” Lester said. “That’s something that we talked about extensively when we met. I believe in the plan that they have in place right now for the future of the Cubs."

The plan that I have heard so much about over the past three years, the one that I was supposed to put my faith in, to believe in myself. The one that brought 100 loss seasons. Bottom of the NL Central. Lester believes in it. And he’s on the clock. He has seven years (I’m throwing in the option) to get this done. He believes they can win. Maddon believes it. Epstein has preached it.

Believe in the plan. Be patient.

Now the Cubs, according to some Vegas oddsmakers, have 12-1 odds to win the World Series. That’s better than the St. Louis Cardinals. You may have noticed, we haven’t done much of anything better than them in recent years.But those oddsmakers aside, this is what I want to tell you. Get behind the plan. Believe in it.

Apr 23, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view during the fifth inning of a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time to believe in more than it being aesthetic improvements to Wrigley Field. To believe that it’s more than just false hope and roster changes and the same old story. The Cubs haven’t gone “all in” as has become the favorite phrase of the Winter Meetings. But they have made a hell of an effort to change the culture that has permeated this team for too long.

So when spring comes, believe that this isn’t next year, it’s THE YEAR. Believe that Lester will be worth the money, that Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro will develop into the cornerstone pieces that the Cubs believed they would be. There’s always that chance they’ll let us down. That we may be ahead of the plans “schedule”, but let go of that. I’m not entering the 2015 just optimistic the Cubs will compete for a division title, I believe they’ll get it. So I simply leave you with the words of Joe Maddon, and tell you to believe.

"“You have to set your goals high, because if you don’t set them high enough you might hit your mark, and that’s not a good thing. We’re gonna talk World Series this year, and I’m gonna believe it. It’s in our future.”"

Next: Craig Breslow chooses Red Sox over Cubs, and that's okay.