After what many baseball enthusiasts are calling the most exciting World Series in history, fans of the 2016 Major League Baseball Champion Chicago Cubs still have one question: Have the Cubs started a new book in baseball history, or was last year’s win just a better chapter in the team’s long, sad story? While it is understandable that one championship can’t erase 100-plus years of earned skepticism, Cubs can rest easy with the thought that this will be another year of watching a red and blue World Series.
The Team to Beat
Hardly any expert would argue the Cubs’ chances of being the favorite to win the National League Central Division. Las Vegas has the current champs as a historically overwhelming favorite to even go further and win the World Series. So, who should Cubs fans worry about when it comes to stopping a repeat? Well … nobody. It’s an unusual feeling for Cubs fans, but that’s one of the perks of being the best. Every team has to try to be better than what the Cubs are right now, and that’s not going to be an easy task. The Cubs are the team that must make many mistakes and have a lot of things go wrong to not have another shot at a World Series Ring. Currently, the roster is just as solid as it was last year. There is some worry about the losses of closing pitcher Aroldis Chapman and veteran catcher David Ross, but the real heroes will find a way to fill in the gaps – President of Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer.
Probably the two most important contract extensions in the off-season didn’t involve players at all. Epstein and Hoyer, two of baseball geniuses who brought both the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs out of history’s cellar, are sticking around in hopes of gracing their fingers with a couple of more rings. Pieces of the absent catcher Ross will be seen in Willson Contreras, Kyle Schwarber and Miguel Montero, all of whom benefited from Ross’ mentoring during his time with the Cubs. Chapman, who was acquired from the New York Yankees late in 2016, is simply an example of how the Cubs’ front office is keen at putting the right pieces in place when they most need it. While Chapman’s absence will be felt, the two people you’d want in place to minimize the damage of him leaving are going to make a lot more moves in years to come to fill similar gaps.
In the National League Central Division, the Cubs have very few obstacles. The Cardinals are the closest threat in this division, but they are still a young team who may not have the tools to go the distance in 2017. Out West, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants may be Chicago’s biggest obstacle in the post-season. It’s likely the Cubs will see one of these teams early in the playoffs, and it’s always a back-and-forth battle that could bounce the other way in the end.
While the National League West may be a threat in the post-season, it is likely Cubs fans can enjoy another regular season filled with post-game “Go Cubs Go” songs. Making it to the post-season is 90 percent of the battle, and the Cubs look like they have all the weapons to grab another victory.
Chicago Cubs : Can They Repeat ?
Cubs Poised to Grab One More