Chicago Cubs look to exceed initial Vegas win projections

David Ross, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer / Chicago Cubs (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Ross, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer / Chicago Cubs (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Odds for the 2020 MLB season have started to trickle out in recent days. Recently, BetOnline released season win totals with the Cubs at 86.5.

The Cubs are likely losing Pedro Strop, Nick Castellanos and maybe even Willson Contreras or Kris Bryant due to trade. This is a team that won just 84 games last year and it’s hard to see them improving on that win total given the losses they’ve suffered this offseason.

Jon Lester is another year older and Cole Hamels left town, signing a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves. The Cincinnati Reds have gotten better and are still looking to add and the Brewers and Cardinals are still right there, but they also had some pretty glaring subtractions from their rosters. The Brewers lost Yasmani Grandal, adding Omar Narvaez as his replacement, along with outfielder Avisail Garcia. The club should be getting Corey Knebel back at some point as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery.

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With the Cubs having to play the Cardinals, Brewers, and Reds 19 times apiece and having struggled with Cincinnati last year even before this winter’s improvements, it’s hard to see the Cubs besting those teams again. The Cardinals lost Marcell Ozuna to the Braves but didn’t really have any other major subtractions or additions. However, St. Louis is rumored to be a big player in the ongoing Nolan Arenado sweepstakes, and if the Birds land Arenado they become the instant division favorites.

The Cubs are still looking for a fifth starter and remain in limbo over Bryant’s still-undecided service time grievance. That’s undoubtedly holding up any moves Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer may have up their sleeves this winter.

Across town, the White Sox projected win total sits  at 84.5. Given all of their additions, they may blow past that number. Dallas Keuchel signed for three years, Grandal signed for four and, thanks to his offseason contract extension, prospect Luis Robert seems like a lock to make the Opening Day roster. Don’t forget the Sox also signed slugger Edwin Encarnacion and veteran hurler Gio Gonzalez. The South Siders brought in Nomar Mazara in a trade with the Rangers, as well.

For the first time in a long time, the White Sox may have the better team on paper than the Cubs do for the Crosstown Series, which seems to matter a lot more to White Sox fans than it does to Cubs fans.

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The ceiling for the Cubs is probably 88 wins on paper, and the floor is somewhere around 70-75 wins. More than likely, with no additions, the Cubs will end up around a .500 team unless some stuff breaks their way. Take the under.