Chicago Cubs: Frugal offseason approaches didn’t matter in the end

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Cubs continue to piece together rosters – and have little to show for it.

After winning it all in 2016, the Chicago Cubs appeared poised to embark on a dynastic conquest. They had all the pieces in place to be the next 1990s Atlanta Braves or New York Yankees. Although the Braves won just one title and the Yankees won four, both represented model franchises and were legitimate contenders to win it all year-in and year-out.

Chicago reached a third consecutive NLCS in 2017, but it was apparent the team was running on fumes. They barely escaped the Division Series matchup against Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals – and the Los Angeles Dodgers made short work of Joe Maddon’s club, taking the series in five games.

Theo Epstein and the front office looked to help the team re-tool that offseason, following the losses of key contributors, including former NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, Wade Davis and Jon Jay. Chicago went out and added Yu Darvish late in the offseason, along with Tyler Chatwood, Brandon Morrow and Steve Cishek.

Of course, Morrow pitched just half a season with the Cubs before losing the next two-plus years to injury. Darvish made just eight lackluster starts in 2018, then hit the shelf with injuries. Despite all that, it looked like the team was headed to a third consecutive NL Central crown until a late-season swoon and eventual Game 163 loss at home to the Brewers quickly squashed those hopes.