Chicago Cubs: Eight weeks until Spring Training and still crickets
By Paul Seifert
Despite all the talk about performance over potential, this year’s Chicago Cubs were not built to win. Now, there are two stark paths to move forward.
Once again, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer haven’t been cooking on the Hot Stove. Most of the trade talk to-date has been just that – talk. The Cubs have signed some low-cost pitching and made a few fairly insignificant roster additions, but nothing major has transpired. This leads me to a troubling question: do the months between the Winter Meetings and Spring Training herald a reload or a rebuild?
Last winter, the bench became weaker with the trade of Tommy La Stella and the acquisition of Daniel Descalso. We knew on day one of Spring Training the Cubs needed a closer. We knew the starting pitching was getting long in the tooth.
Finally, we knew that the front office was counting on guys like Albert Almora (.236/.271/.381), Ian Happ (.264/.333/.564) and the now recently non-tendered Addison Russell (.237/.308/.391) to perform like first-round draft picks. They did not.
Add to that list David Bote (.257/.362/.422) and the aforementioned Daniel Descalso and it all added up to a team that was too thin on talent, too short in the lineup and too old on the mound to compete.