Chicago Cubs will retool in the offseason and back atop the NL in 2018
The Chicago Cubs’ exit from the NLCS Thursday night at Wrigley Field was hard to stomach. But were you really surprised? Probably not.
The Chicago Cubs lost 11-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 on the NLCS – we all know that. In the loss, the club demonstrated, in all fashions, exactly all the problems the Cubs had this season.
After an eventful win to keep their season alive in Game 4, the Cubs flopped Thursday. The Dodgers scored early and often. Somehow that reminds me of the first half of the season with the starting pitching staff struggles. Opponents scored in the first inning a ton this season.
The Chicago offense was horrific not just in Game 5, but throughout the series. Somehow that reminds me of the first half of the season, too.
And finally, the bullpen didn’t show up this postseason, which was the one fault of the second-half Cubs. Maybe from being used too much in the first half was a reason?
But no worries, Cubs fans. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer know what they need to do. The pitching staff is the first order of business. Re-sign Jake Arrieta or not? What’s the market for Arrieta right now? Who is on the market that might be more beneficial?
Second order of business is the bullpen. Do the Cubs re-sign Wade Davis? He’s earned every penny he gets, right? What about the rest of the bullpen? Besides Carl Edwards Jr. and Pedro Strop, there isn’t a lot of faith in the rest of that bullpen.
Arrieta should be considered at the right price. He’s earned that much. He had a historic 2015 season, won two World Series games and was a leader on the starting staff. Not to mention his track record in elimination games come October.
Offensively, the Cubs need to find an everyday leadoff hitter. There were a lot who said the Cubs missed Dexter Fowler this season, and, in a sense, that is true. But Jon Jay had a nice season. Jay’s play, for the most part, kept the Cubs afloat in the first half of the season. Still, Jay is better off as a utility outfielder that gives really good at-bats when you need them most.
The Cubs are loaded in the outfield. Do they need to move a piece to sure up playing time for other guys? Ian Happ comes to mind. He barely played this postseason because of Jason Heyward and Jon Jay. And despite the struggles of Javier Baez in the postseason, there’s no doubt he will be the Cubs starting second baseman for years to come.
All these problems with the position players are good problems to have. Do you trade Kyle Schwarber or Albert Almora? That’s a tough question. Obviously, it depends what you get in return. What’s positive is the value these players carry.
Epstein and Hoyer have proven to be creative. I suspect an interesting offseason from the North Siders. They’ve made more golden moves than blunders in that front office. There’s more than enough confidence in these guys to answer the call.
It’s a great time to be a Cubs fan. Three-straight NLCS appearances, 292 regular season wins and a World Series trophy on top that historically will be remembered for a long time. Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the ups and downs. Because one day, the Cubs will be rebuilding again.