With Spring Training about over, the Chicago Cubs are ready to begin their title defense. While the Cubs chances of repeating are heavily talked about, many will try to tear this team down with every weak spot or hole they are perceived to have.
It’s amazing how baseball is. The Chicago Cubs hadn’t won in 108 years. It took a valiant rally to come back from being down 3-to-1, and then they had to pull themselves off the mat in Game 7. It was a feel-good story to top all feel good stories. And now baseball and its fans fear the Cubs and are looking to pick apart this team with anything they can. It’s quite astounding, it really is.
The Cubs have set themselves up for success for the long-term. A core of solid young players coupled with a couple of long-term free agents has set the stage for a possible dynasty. But it doesn’t take long to search the internet and find articles like this one. ‘Why the Dodgers and not the Cubs should be World Series favorites’. We’re not upset by the article, but more the content of it and how the Cubs are being perceived.
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By the second paragraph, Neil Greenberg gives the impression that once the Cubs won, they simply let much of their talent leave without replacing it.
"The competition around the league is always improving, and the Cubs saw a large exodus of major league talent in the offseason without making significant moves to replace it."
Wait, is he serious?
A large exodus without replacing it? He’s kidding, right? He points out the Cubs lost Dexter Fowler, David Ross and Aroldis Chapman, as well as trading Jorge Soler to the Royals. Wade Davis came to the Cubs via the Royals deal. Willson Contreras is an up and coming star, although the Cubs will miss Ross’ leadership. And Kyle Schwarber is healthy, helping to offset the Fowler loss. Clearly, Greenberg is confused.
Cubs on the upswing
This team is one of youth hitting their stride, not veterans on the decline. Of the positional talent, it’s quite possible the Cubs will be better than the were last season–and that was pretty damn good. The only notable weakness, if they have one, could be the bullpen. Some of the numbers for the key players haven’t been great this spring. But it’s hard to read too much into them. The talent is there, but will the consistency be there as well?
But across the board, you’ll see people picking apart the Cubs piece-by-piece. “Hendricks, Lester and Arrieta can’t all be that good again”. Or “Bryant will eventually come back down to earth”. And of course “They won’t be able to survive the loss of Fowler at the top.” Silly pessimists.
Don’t get me wrong, the Cubs did lose plenty of important players from last year’s team. David Ross may have been the most important, but he left his mark on the young guys in that locker room. Maybe none more than Anthony Rizzo. He will need to carry the torch as a veteran for this team.
Keep picking away at this team. Try to break them down. Do your best to poke holes in them. Winning a World Series was the first step. Now being able to silence the critics and doubters? We’re ready for part two.