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
Christian Yelich, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Milwaukee Brewers

Like the Cardinals, the Milwaukee Brewers were mediocre for the majority of 2019. Yet after their star outfielder Christian Yelich went down with an injury in September, the team rallied to claim an NL Wild Card spot, making the playoffs for the second straight year. Unlike the Cardinals, the Brewers have made lots of changes. Yet it remains to be seen whether the team will actually be better in 2020.

On offense, the has team lost Yasmani Grandal, Eric Thames, Jesus Aguilar, Mike Moustakas, and Travis Shaw via free agency. To replace them, they brought in Omar Narvaez to catch, Eric Sogard and Jedd Gyorko for third, and Justin Smoak for first, along with Avisail Garcia for left field, which should allow Ryan Braun to also get time at first. The replacements, on paper, may not be as strong, but give the team credit for trying to hold things together. They also brought in 22-year-old Luis Urias for shortstop, and he figures to battle the disappointing Orlando Arcia for playing time there.

The starting rotation is where the team really took a big hit this offseason. They traded away Zach Davies and Chase Anderson, who were their two leaders in games started in 2019. Gio Gonzalez, who made 17 starts for them, is also gone. Brett Anderson comes over as a free agent to help fill the void, but Brandon Woodruff and Adrian Houser come in as the leaders of the rotation. After an offseason filled with trade rumors, Josh Hader will be returning to anchor the bullpen.

Again, given the relatively mediocre NL Central, the Brewers still have to be in the discussion to win the division or at least a Wild Card spot. Yet the rotation is iffy and the offense doesn’t figure to be as strong as it was last year. A lot will have to go right.