Much of the offseason focus surrounding the Chicago Cubs centers around free agents and potential trade chips. But it’s time for some self-reflection instead.
Sure, all the speculation is exciting and the big names on the market get us thinking “what if,” but this team isn’t going to improve by just signing a big name free agent or two. The Cubs’ offense is a sleeping giant and their awakening would prove to be bigger than anything Bryce Harper or Manny Machado could bring to the table.
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With that being said, the Cubs need to add a few pieces here and there, but the success depends on what the existing group can do in 2019.
Resurgent campaigns key in 2019
We’ve all heard over and over again how rough of a season it was for the Cubs offense, and the quick fix may be to sign a great bat, but we can see so much room for improvement with this current group. Below are stats from a few players season averages since they’ve been in the league compared to what they did in 2018:
Even though it’s only a few players, these numbers show us a lot. Rizzo, who was a bright spot for the offense, had his lowest home run and OPS totals since 2013.
All these players, especially the likes of Willson Contreras and Kris Bryant, turned in seasons below their career averages last year. What does this mean? Well, hopefully that the worst is behind us. To win 95 games with the production we missed is truly impressive. That’s not to mention the team’s two biggest offseason signings, Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood, failed to give Joe Maddon anything usable on the mound.
The most critical thing to take from this is the Cubs really don’t have to blow it up this offseason. It seemed like everyone collectively wasn’t themselves, with the exception of a few lone bright spots – and the team still won 95 games.
With a new hitting coach and a longer offseason to get their minds and bodies right, the current Cubs core has a great opportunity for substantial improvement. I think this will prove to be huge and will be just what we need to stay in the championship conversation.