Chicago Cubs: The year after the World Series win

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

In 2016, the Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years. How would the next year after go?

World Series hangovers are well documented around baseball, as the Chicago Cubs were looking to be the first team to make a repeat trip to the playoffs since 2011. Everybody returned from the last two teams that made deep runs in the postseason, except Jorge Soler. Soler couldn’t stay healthy, and the Chicago Cubs decided to go for a repeat championship, trading for Wade Davis from Kansas City, in exchange for Soler.

Kris Bryant won MVP, Javier Baez is ready for his first full MLB season, Kyle Schwarber is back for another attempt at his first full season. Albert Almora is prepared for his first full MLB season. Ian Happ is on the doorstep of the majors, and they added a veteran presence in Jon Jay. Could this team get even better than they already are?

The 2017 season did not go as planned. The Cubs were five games out of first place at the All-Star break and two games under .500. Ben Zobrist was dealing with an injury, Schwarber had been sent down to Iowa after struggling out of the gate, and the loss of Dexter Fowler was honestly being felt, on and off the field.

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The pitching wasn’t as dynamite as it once was, with the walks increasing and strikeouts decreasing. The Cubs’ hope never waivered, however.

During the All-Star break, the Cubs pulled off a blockbuster trade, acquiring pitcher Jose Quintana from the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox, in exchange for top prospects. A budding superstar, Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, Matt Rose, and Bryant Flete.

They weren’t done there, at the trade deadline the Cubs acquired Justin Wilson and Alex Avila for budding prospect Isaac Paredes, Jeimer Candelario, and a player to be named later.

Quintana pitched to a 3.74 ERA and a 3.25 FIP and helped the Cubs in the playoffs. Wilson? He struggled. He walked 19 in just 17.2 innings, with a 3.72 FIP and a 5.09 ERA. That’s the YIPS if they’ve ever existed, anybody remember Rick Ankiel?

The Cubs rolled in the second half, going 49-25, overtaking the Brewers and winning the division. In the NLDS, they played an epic series against the Nationals, winning in five games, as Game 5 was one of the greatest playoff games in history.

The Dodgers, though, would get their revenge in round two of the NLCS, beating the Cubs in five games. The Dodgers won 104 games in 2017 so losing to them wasn’t a shameful thing.

Next. The Cubs and the 2016 season. dark

2017 ended with the Cubs third straight NLCS appearance, third straight 90+ win season and second division title in a row. The Cubs would set out to make their team even better for 2018 and try to get their second World Series Championship in three years.