2017 A Step Down From Previous CampaignÂ
The Chicago Cubs entered the 2017 season as defending champs, and as such had a lot of pressure to perform well after finally breaking their curse in 2016. Behind manager Joe Maddon though, their regular season didn't pan out as well. Having won 103 games a year prior, they only managed 92 wins this year. Their division was hotly contended until late in the season.Â
Acquiring Wade Davis before the season started was a great move, as the closer turned out to be one of the best. And getting Jose Quintana in mid-July helped solidify a starting rotation that needed a few tweaks to be great. The Cubbies' second half of the season really took off and they gave fans what they wanted by making it to the playoffs.
In the postseason, starters Kyle Hendricks and Quintana held it down to notch the NLDS against the Washington Nationals in five games (3-2), in what was a predominantly low-scoring series. The run support was lacking, and that showed during the NLCS against the Dodgers, where the Cubs only managed eight runs in five games. It didn't matter much, as the Los Angeles bats were on fire, and they eliminated Chicago in five games (4-1), ending their season.Â
The Cubs Need To Soak Up Some Piching
While they had a serviceable pitching rotation in 2017, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey are both currently free agents, which leaves a gaping hole in Cubs chances for an above average season.
Add that to the fact that Jon Lester isn't as consistent either, so Chicago will have to soak up some pitching before next season. One option would be free agent Alex Cobb, who went 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA for the Rays last season, a marked improvement over his previous year, and joining the Cubs would be mutually beneficial, after having been on a below average team.
Cobb could also end up on the Yankees, but if the Cubs can grab him, they'll have most of the pieces they need to be a World Series contender again.
Another area the Cubs will have to look into is their bullpen. Wade Davis is also a free agent, and without him, they're losing a formidable closer. Relievers Justin Grimm and Hector Rondon's futures are also uncertain. Catcher Alex Avila, Brian Duensing, and Jon Jay are all entering free agency as well. Bench coach Dave Martinez is also leaving to become the Nationals manager, replacing Dusty Baker.Â Â
Will They Win Win Their MLB Division?
Apart from the AL East, most league divisions had clear dominant winners. The NL Central however, was contested for most of the season, with some predictions the Brewers or even Cardinals would eventually upset and take the top spot.
The Cubs did have a better second half, but it's more likely they'll revert to their first half play, than to how they ended the season next year. This division doesn't have a clear winner, and with the Brewers improving, and Cards not far behind, the Cubs shouldn't take the division for granted.
Odds to Win the MLB World Series
The Cubs opened at +1100 to win the World Series next season. That's tied with the Yankees for 5th favored. As with the Yankees, this price seems a bit generous, given their ability to go far while still missing pieces. This team made it quite far in the postseason with hardly any runs. Once they fix their pitching issues, they'll be worth a much higher price than +1100. We don't believe they should have a higher price than the Nationals.
Look for the Cubs to have a similar season to 2017. Maybe they'll do well in the first half,Â and not the second, but the result should be the same. They should eke out a division or wild card berth, and make a solid postseason run. Depending on which clutch players and veterans they have at that point, they should be able to get the couple of extra bounces they need to coast by. Whether that's enough to win them the championship is too tough to tell at this point, but at +1100, knowing that if the season was played 11 times, the Cubs should win at least once, this price has a ton of value.
Category : MLB News
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