Chicago Cubs have lots of questions that need answers

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs head into 2019 as a bit of an underdog. A change from past seasons. A slow finish for them, coupled with a hot Brewers team kept them from another division crown.

Now, in the Chicago Cubs‘ defense, injuries to Yu Darvish, Kris Bryant, and Brandon Morrow sure didn’t help things and gave the Brewers an advantage as they stayed healthy all year. It’s very easy to envision those three coming back with stellar seasons and the Cubs rolling again. That’s just it, though, will they?

How will Bryant’s shoulder respond? How will Darvish respond to another heavy workload? Morrow already won’t be ready for Opening Day.

Factor that in with guys like Javier Baez, Ian Happ and Albert Almora. Can Almora take that next step? Will Happ cut down on his swing and miss issues? And can Baez have another MVP type season?

The odds on Baez are likely no, but that doesn’t mean he still can’t have a productive season. The questions aren’t just on the offensive side of the field, either. However, some might say the Cubs’ shortcomings the past two seasons make them a dangerous team this season.

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That’s the thing; there is so much potential for this Cubs team that wouldn’t really be surprising. .500 would not be surprising. Another season of 90+ wins would not be, either.

Every starting pitcher is 30 and older. Mike Montgomery and Tyler Chatwood are both 29. Pedro Strop is out to start the season. Two men down and a regular season game hasn’t even been played yet.

Brian Duensing was abysmal last year to the tune of a 7.65 ERA and a 6.35 FIP. Can he rebound and be a useful piece of the bullpen at the latter stage of his career?

Brandon Kintzler was bought over at the trade deadline last year after a relatively successful tenure with the Nationals, and he completely lost it with the Cubs. In 25 games, Kintzler had a 7 ERA, with a 5.66 FIP.

With Washington, Kintzler walked just 13 hitters in 42 2/3 innings. With the Cubs, that number spiked to nine walks in 18 innings with a WHIP of 2! Can Kintzler rebound and be a successful piece of the bullpen like he has been at other stops in his career?

Next. Is it time to grab Kimbrel?. dark

There are a lot of questions about this Cubs team. On paper, it’s one of the most talented in all of baseball, but other teams have gotten better. The ownership didn’t spend money this winter to make the team better, and the profound depth the Cubs had isn’t there anymore. This team is still good enough to win the division, but it will take a lot more work this year than years past.