Chicago Cubs: A Spring Training preview for the NL Central

(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Spring Training is here, as Chicago Cubs camp opens on Wednesday. With that, we look at each of the five National League Central teams.

Chicago Cubs spring training camp is set to open on Wednesday. After months of analysis about what the Cubs did or didn’t do this offseason, including lots of speculation regarding a possible Kris Bryant trade, we’re finally going to see some on-the-field action.

As we know, the Cubs didn’t do much this offseason, hampered largely by luxury tax concerns. Because of that, they won’t be getting much love when many websites start to make their preseason predictions for the 2020 season. There’s reason to be skeptical about the Cubs this year under new manager David Ross: The outfield and second base situations are up in the air, the starting rotation isn’t inspiring anyone, and the bullpen is full of question marks.

What should give Cubs fans optimism about the 2020 season is that the National League Central division doesn’t have a dominant team, at least looking at the rosters on paper. The division’s defending champions, the St. Louis Cardinals, didn’t do much this offseason, either, while the division’s other playoff team from a year ago, the Milwaukee Brewers, made some changes but don’t appear to be as strong as they were at the end of last season.

The division’s most active team this offseason was the Cincinnati Reds, though they’ve been under .500 for several years in a row and still have a lot to prove. Then there’s the Pittsburgh Pirates, the only team that figures to have no realistic chance to win the NL Central this year.

As teams get set to take the field in Florida and Arizona, let’s take a look at the state of each of the five NL Central teams, going in order by last year’s win total.