And the Chicago Cubs win the 2016 World Series!

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Heading into the 2016 season, the Cubs were the World Series favorites from start to finish. They returned everybody from a 97-win, NLCS appearing club, and added even more pieces to solidify their lineup and improve clubhouse morale.

The Chicago Cubs’ John Lackey signed for two years and $32 million. Ben Zobrist signed for four years and $56 million. Jason Heyward topped things off signing for eight years and $184 million. Dexter Fowler topped things off, coming back for one year, worth $8 million. Fowler proved to be maybe a more significant signing than the other three players. Starlin Castro was traded to the Yankees for Adam Warren, and the Cubs turned Castro into Ben Zobrist. Magic!

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Lackey and Zobrist served as more veteran mentors for the young players, and Lackey was reunited with one of best friends in Jon Lester. Jake Arrieta returned after a Cy Young campaign. The lineup was young, upstart, and deep. The pitching rotation was deep and experienced. Carl Edwards, Jr became a pivotal part of the bullpen. Hector Rondon was back to close games after a career year in 2015.

Kris Bryant looked to improve off his rookie of the year campaign, and boy did he ever. Willson Contreras was waiting in the minor leagues to take over catching duties, Albert Almora was waiting to come patrol center field, Javy Baez was back on the roster full time, while Addison Russell and Jorge Soler were expected to take major jumps offensively.

Kyle Schwarber was ready for his first full season in a Major League uniform. There wasn’t a glaring hole on this team, and after a couple of trades made, the Cubs were finally primed and ready to try and win a World Series after a very long drought.