On MLB Whiparound on Fox Sports 1, the Chicago Cubs took some heat from Nick Swisher, who hinted that this might be their last year in contention.
The Chicago Cubs last year of contention? Nick Swisher is wrong on this. Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, and Willson Contreras are all signed until at least 2021. Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and Yu Darvish, same thing.
In the minor leagues, there is Ian Happ, signed through 2023. The pieces for the Cubs are here, and still will be for a while. There is also a chance that the Cubs could sign some of these players to long term contracts, based on how the market is looking right now with the last two offseasons.
Baez and Contreras are the likely candidates to be extended to long term deals, and there is still time to get those done.
With the new Cubs’ TV deal set to start soon, plus money from Ben Zobrist and a few others coming off the books this offseason, the Cubs will have money to improve the team, and they didn’t, this year.
This team and core of players have been the best in baseball since 2015, in terms of wins. They are winning again this year with the second best record in the National League, and Baez having another MVP caliber season.
What was Nick Swisher thinking? A team that has been elite for the past five years is suddenly going to fall off a cliff without reason? I’m not buying it. If you’re curious to hear his reasoning, see the video below.
Sure, times change. For example, the Padres are coming on in the National League West, the Brewers have become a contender, while the Giants and Cardinals have pretty much had their runs ended. One could argue the Cubs broke those two organizations by knocking them off in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The one constant while these teams have gotten better? The Cubs have won 90+ games every year since 2015, and they are well on pace to win that many again this year.
Bryant is back to being healthy, and the Cubs are back to driving the ball all over the yard. The rotation has seasoned veteran experience. Cole Hamels, Lester, and Hendricks have all won a World Series championship, while Darvish has pitched in another World Series.
The biggest flaw in this team, no question, is the bullpen. A simple trade can fix that, and there are many bullpen targets available during trade season this year, like always.
Craig Kimbrel is STILL a free agent somehow. The MLB Draft is June 3, and after that when there is no draft pick attached to Kimbrel, he should, and will get a look by every contending team.
The Cubs are set up in great shape for the coming years. A trade here and there, along with a couple of other free agent signings and they should contend barring some unforeseen circumstances. Enjoy this era, Cubs fans.