Chicago Cubs: Would 2018 have played out differently with a healthy Bryant?
While I’m just speculating here, the idea that something was irrevocably broken in the clubhouse or with the team isn’t something I really subscribe to given my limited scope. What I saw more than “complacency” in the second half of 2018 was a team that was getting worn down (playing 40 days in a row) and besieged by injuries (Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber at various points), trying like hell to use flex seal to keep the boat afloat as the Milwaukee Brewers zoomed by with their shiny new Christian Yelich outboard. The Cubs still won 95 games last year, something we all would have given our left arm for in 2012.
Instead of chalking up the failures and disappointments to growing pains and injuries in 2018, the Cubs have decided they will attack their deficiencies in an attempt to make sure there is more accountability in 2019.
Here’s how: there will be more BP, lineups will be released for entire series, players will have to spend more time in the dugout, the focus will be placed on 10 trap games, and, my favorite; postgame fast food and beer consumption will be limited.
The problem with these specific changes is that they all seem to be double-edged swords of sorts. They are robbing Peter to pay Paul if you will. While some of the changes and focus on accountability could very well lead to better results, the changes could have unintended (and possibly disastrous) consequences for a club that is already damn good and has seemed (at least from the outside looking in) to have great chemistry the last few years.