Chicago Cubs: Top 5 Storylines as we head into Spring Training

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Will we see this guy on the mound for an entire season?

Let’s not sugarcoat things or pull punches. Yu Darvish had an awful debut season with the Chicago Cubs last year.  While it may have been marred by a legitimate injury and fan disappointment after basically replacing Cub hero and former Cy Young winner, Jake Arrieta, Theo Epstein gave this guy a nine-figure salary because he can be outstanding.  That’s what Cubs’ fans are hoping for in 2019.

Supposedly healthy and strong, Yu Darvish is probably looking to put 2018 in the rearview by rebounding with a solid 2019 campaign.  He has the goods and the stuff to be good, and quite frankly, he shouldn’t have a ton of pressure on him since no one is really expecting a whole lot after he soured fans’ opinions of his ability in a rough season last year.

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What is it that we can expect from this guy if he is healthy and pitches up to his ability? Namely, a guy who was an All-Star four years in a row and posted a WAR of at least 2.8 in every season before last. If he’s fully healthy, he’s going to be a power guy who strikes out a ton of hitters and gives the Cubs a totally different look from the right side on the hill.

On a team that projects three left-handed starters in the rotation and soft-tossing genius, Kyle Hendricks, from the right side, Darvish is that power guy from the right side who should benefit from being sandwiched between lefties in the rotation.   If the Cubs can get a solid bounce-back campaign from Darvish, he will start winning over fans and start proving he just might be worth all that money he signed for last year.

Fans will be able to see for themselves just what Darvish looks like when he takes the mound in Cactus League play.  Just getting through Spring Training injury-free would be a promising start for the big righty from Japan.