Chicago Cubs: The Cubs still have some big-time talent
While the offseason will bring changes to both clubs that will affect their respective futures in 2020 and beyond, it’s possible to do some prophesying based on what we already know. The Cubs have the pieces in place needed to compete at a high level and, as the Nationals just showed the entire world, you just need a ticket to the dance to have a chance to win the grand prize. Get hot at the right time and you never know what can happen. In that regard, you just need to be able to make the postseason.
Looking at both the Angels and the Cubs currently, the latter seems to have a much easier path to the World Series, as the Astros, Yankees and Red Sox don’t stand in their way. The Angels not only have to deal with Houston in the American League West, but they’ll also match up with a strong Oakland club, as well. The Cubs do have a tough division, but the Cardinals and Brewers aren’t the Astros.
There’s also the Wild Card berths to think of and, in the American League, that means constantly thinking about the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Indians, Twins and even those pesky A’s. Even with injuries and disappointment in 2019, the Cubs were in playoff position well into September, scuffling to the finish line in the last two weeks. That’s not something the Angels can come close to saying as their season was essentially over before it began. Easier path to the playoffs currently: Cubs.
In terms of fit, the Cubs were obviously a great fit for Joe Maddon in 2015, but perhaps they’ve outgrown his unique set of skills. If that’s the case, are the Angels currently in a better position to utilize what he has to offer?
I wouldn’t say so, as the Angels have a lot of veterans and a $170 million payroll without much to show for their money. Plus, they were 72-90 this past season with an aging club and middling/bad minor league system, as opposed to the 2014 Cubs whose minor league system ranked as highly as anyone and were poised to promote a ton of position player stars.