Chicago Cubs: Are the Cardinals poised to re-take the division?

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

With Cubs Convention in the rearview mirror, it’s time for fans to begin counting down till Chicago Cubs pitchers and catchers report in Arizona.

In recent history, Chicago Cubs fans think their favorite team is unbeatable.  Last year saw the rise of the Milwaukee Brewers, who challenged the North Siders for the NL Central crown.

The team that everyone likes to forget about? The St. Louis Cardinals.  Year after year you expect them to be an average ball club, but almost every time they exceed expectations.

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Last year was one of those weird years where the Redbirds weren’t much of a threat as they went 83-79.  They had down years from several key players, including Randal Grichuk, Adam Wainwright and the bullpen at-large.

We’ve already seen them make a big splash this offseason by trading for outfielder Marcel Ozuna, giving up basically a ham sandwich to get him.  They already have one of the most underrated pitchers in the game, Carlos Martinez, as their ace.

But let’s not take for granted that they have one of the worst managers in baseball in Mike Matheny.  He’s the type of guy who probably loves bunts and thinks home runs are rally-killers.

An emerging star?

Outfielder Tommy Pham had a slash line of .306/.411/.520.  For those of you who don’t know stats that well, that’s very very good.  And according to Baseball Reference, he was a 6.4 WAR player.

That was fourth in terms of position players last year. You know who was fifth?  The Chicago Cubs’ leader and reigning MVP Kris Bryant.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that you didn’t know Pham was that good.  With the addition of Ozuna, the Cardinals have one of the best offensive outfields in the NL if not all of baseball.

Is that enough for them to overtake the Cubs?  Of course not, but it makes things a lot scarier if you’re a fan of the Cubs.

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Don’t be surprised if they go ahead and add another pitcher, too.  Both Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish have been apart of the rumor mill down there this offseason.

A lot of people are going into this year thinking that the Brewers are the Cubs only threat in the division.  I’m saying that they need to add a few more pieces, but don’t overlook the Cardinals because if you look at history, they usually are better than everyone thinks.