Chicago Cubs: Five reasons to believe in this team’s playoff chances

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Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The “Plan”, just as it was presented to us

When Theo Epstein came to the Cubs in the fall of 2011, he came with high hopes and aspirations. After turning around the Boston Red Sox into longtime losers (still not as long as the Cubs) into World Series Champions, many expected him to do the same in Chicago. He hired Jed Hoyer to be the GM as he assumed the role of President of baseball operations.

Epstein quickly laid out the plan for the franchise. It wasn’t one that many Cubs fans wanted to hear. It wasn’t a “reboot”, or a “retooling”. This was a ground up rebuild. It would be painful. There would be losses–lots of them–and it would take time.

As the Cubs finished last with 101 losses in his first season, some started to question this plan. It was followed by a small improvement, but still a 96 loss season. As each trade deadline came, the Cubs would ship out more good players for unknown names. The slowly freed themselves of the bad contracts that had shackled them.

Thos unknown names and last-place finishes that led to top draft choices became Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, Kyle Hendricks and more. I want to tell you I believed in this plan the whole time, but that’s a lie. I was worried things wouldn’t turn around. That all these prospects wouldn’t pan out.

Boy, was I wrong.

Next: No. 4: How about these kids?