Chicago Cubs: Assessing the progress of the Central Division

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Pittsburgh Pirates – 2017 Record: 75-87

The Pittsburgh Pirates, on the surface, still look to have a pretty formidable lineup. With players like Andrew McCutchen, Josh Bell and Starling Marte they look to have a solid lineup on paper. But where some of those players will be at the beginning of the season is yet to be determined. Gerrit Cole could be on his way out. And the rest of the group could follow.

The Pirates have been hit by, bad luck? However you want to describe it, it’s taken hold and not let go. Jung-Ho Kang was put on the restricted list following his DUI and Visa issues. Now, the Pirates don’t expect him to be back this season. 

Then, Marte was hit with an 80-game suspension under the P.E.D. rules. He claimed he hadn’t used them but was “careless” during his offseason in the Dominican Republic. Either way, it wasn’t good for the Pirates or Marte.

The only additions they’ve made were a Rule 5 pick in Jordan Milbrath and a waiver pickup in Nik Turley. It’s far more likely the Pirates will lose even more before the start of the season, and if not then by the trade deadline. It might be a few more years of sub-.500 baseball for the Pirates before they can compete again on the Central.