Chicago Cubs: Looking back at a woeful, but improving 2013 team

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Last week, we took a look at the 2012 Chicago Cubs (an unmitigated disaster). Now, we’ll focus on the 2013 club – which showed signs of improvement.

The 2012 campaign saw the Chicago Cubs lose 101 games. In 2013 they improved on that a little, losing only 96, but the talent level and play on the field was still abysmal. At this point in Theo Epstein’s revolution, it was about draft picks and loading up the farm system.

For those interested, the 2013 Pythagorean record was 71-91, so five games better than how they finished. Fielding much of the same roster as 2012, the 2013 club was just trudging along, but a mid-year trade changed the future of the organization for years to come.

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On July 2, 2013, the Cubs acquired pitchers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop from the Orioles for rental Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger. Feldman and Clevenger are not currently in a major league organization.

The 2013 Cubs featured Julio Borbon in the leadoff spot for almost half the season and the highest salary was Edwin Jackson at $13 million.

One of the big highlights of the season was Donnie Murphy. A relative unknown who was just in the majors to get some at-bats, he delivered some of the biggest moments of the season, like this one against Stephen Strasburg.

Dioner Navarro served as one-half of the catching platoon with Welington Castillo, and he delivered one of the more memorable games of the Crosstown Cup with the White Sox. 2013 was bad for a lot of players, but Navarro set career-highs in home runs, average, OBP, SLG, and OPS.

This year also marked the first full Anthony Rizzo campaign in the Show, and he has only gotten better. Thomas Neal and Chang-Yong Lim also saw their only taste of big league action for their careers.

It also featured the drafting of future National League Rookie of the Year and MVP Kris Bryant, the trade for Justin Grimm and Carl Edwards, Jr, and the Rule 5 Draft acquisition of Hector Rondon. All four went on to play key roles in the Cubs finally breaking the World Series drought three years ago.

Next. Vegas odds bode well for the Cubs heading into 2019. dark

This offseason has been taxing, to say the least, but just be glad the days of 2012 and 2013 are gone. Again, averaging 90-something wins for four-straight years? Things could be worse – much, much worse.