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Chicago Cubs: What will be the team’s biggest storylines in 2017?

Oct 26, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs player Kyle Schwarber hits a RBI single against the Cleveland Indians in the 5th inning in game two of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 26, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs player Kyle Schwarber hits a RBI single against the Cleveland Indians in the 5th inning in game two of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oct 26, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs player Kyle Schwarber hits a RBI single against the Cleveland Indians in the 5th inning in game two of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 26, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs player Kyle Schwarber hits a RBI single against the Cleveland Indians in the 5th inning in game two of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

A full season of a healthy Kyle Schwarber could prove to be the Chicago Cubs’ top storyline this year – but injuries and the starting rotation could steal the stage.

Last April, the Chicago Cubs suffered a blow that would have knocked a good many teams flat on their backs. Slugging outfielder Kyle Schwarber collided with Dexter Fowler at Chase Field and suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Now, as we all know, the Cubs pushed through the loss, with Schwarber returning in the World Series to help Chicago win its first title since 1908. With that fond memory in the rearview mirror, though, the team is focused on what he can bring to the table over the course of a full season.

His performance will undoubtedly be at the top of any list of probably storylines surrounding the reigning World Series champions. That being said, the upcoming season will be about much more than just Kyle Schwarber.

Everyone wants to know: can Kyle Hendricks repeat his 2016 performance, one that culminated in his winning the league ERA title. Will another heavy workload for Jon Lester prove to be a problem for his left elbow or will he continue to cruise into his mid-30s?

On the other side of the ball, Kris Bryant believes he hasn’t yet hit his ceiling – which is saying a lot for a guy who won the National League MVP last year. Addison Russell will look to build on his breakout 95-RBI campaign and Willson Contreras is aiming for the ranks of the league’s best catchers.

No matter how you spin it, there’s a lot going on with the Cubs heading into 2017.

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