Chicago Cubs: Five reasons the Cubs haven’t returned to the World Series
Chicago Cubs: The supporting cast and farm is essential to a team’s success
In 2016 the core was surrounded by an overall reliable bullpen (Aroldis Champan really helped after Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop suffered injuries late in the year) and good lineup depth/bench. Having a great pinch-hitter like Tommy LaStella, utility men like Ben Zobrist and Chris Coghlan who could get on base, a veteran leader like David Ross, a slugging veteran in Miguel Montero, reliable long relievers in Travis Wood and Trevor Cahill and outfield depth piece in Matt Szczur helped the team tremendously. There were very little weaknesses on that roster and it is worth noting not a single one of these listed players remain.
Last season really saw the team struggle with both getting production out of their bench and relying on the bullpen. Hard to win when you are among the bottom four in save percentage. Since the past two years have seen few roster moves being made, developing assets from the farm has become more crucial. The farm since 2017 has produced a very mixed back of depth and the Cubs have not done much in terms of adding veteran bats the past few years. Adding Nicholas Castellanos at the deadline last year was an incredible, add but outside that they have not hit big on bat acquisition.
They are still hoping to see the likes of Albert Almora, Ian Happ, and Adbert Alzolay reach their full potential, which is something the Cubs banked on getting earlier. Solid depth has come from the farm in Victor Caratini, David Bote and Rowan Wick but there is hope to get more because they are going to need it. Kind of want to see that stud player that emerges from nowhere other contending teams seem to get. Hopefully Nico Hoerner can be a force moving forward and others can finally fully reach their potential as we have seen flashed of promise from most of them.
This can open up so many other tangents on the Cubs organization on the state of their farm, lack of offseason moves and trades that get questioned. However the main thing to take away is that the team just has not had the supporting cast to help get back to the World Series.