As this is being written, the Chicago Cubs are nine and a half games back in the NL Central Division race; and if the season ended today they would be going to the postseason as the second Wild Card team. But with this in mind, I do not believe that the Cubs will be making it to the promise land and win what has been out of their reach for the past 100+ years; a World Series Title.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is a very talented team of young players who, for most of them, have no where to go but up. Going around the horn, you have young guys like the rising Kris Bryant, Starlin Castro, Addison Russell, and Anthony Rizzo; not to mention guys like Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber working in the minors in order to make their way up to “the show.” But that’s not all; there’s Dexter Fowler, Jake Arrieta, and many more. With this in mind, the Cubs have a great roster, but they are still working out the kinks as a unit, as well as trying to mature as they continue their careers in the majors. The Cubs are built to win, but they are just not there yet.
The Chicago Cubs are like a fine wine at the moment, they need time to develop. They have the right mix of veterans and young guys on the roster, and they are still trying to work and grow together. Because of this, I foresee the Cubs being legit contenders for a title starting next year, when all of the guys have had at least a year in the majors to get accustomed to the speed of the game and had a chance to play at the major league level.
Now don’t get me wrong, there have been some bright spots on the Cubs pitching staff this year, such as Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, as well as Pedro Strop; (who still needs some work, but I feel he can be a good closer for the ball club). But, there have also been the downsides, such as the $130 something million dollars that are being paid to Jon Lester. In return, Lester is providing the Cubs with a 4-6 record and a 4.03 ERA, according to ESPN.com. With those numbers, Lester has without a doubt lost his “ace” monicker that he was given at the beginning of the season. I mean with the way that Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel are pitching, I would call either of those two the “ace” at this point in the season before Lester. Basically, like I’ve said to anyone that would ask me, the Chicago Cubs would go as far as the pitching staff would take them. The reason for this is because they have great offense, which has been rumored to attract some bigger named pitchers such as David Price, but their pitching is not always “on the ball.” And that’s another reason that next year would be a great year to expect a “legit” title contender, because that is when many top pitchers will be going on the free agent market.
Following the 2015 season, there is going to be a LARGE quantity of free-agent starting pitchers that the Cubs will be able to go for. There are guys like David Price, (who’s been rumored to be interested in the Cubs), Johnny Cueto, Tim Lincecum, Scott Kazmir, Brandon Morrow, Jeremy Guthrie (who I am a fan of, but his age may play a factor into it), and the list just goes on and on. If you plug any one of these guys into a rotation that includes Arrieta, Hammel, and Lester, Chicago is going to have one DOMINANT rotation on their hands. The Cubs have money to spend after going young with a majority of their lineup, so they definitely have the room to go after some of these big names in the offseason.
This is one of those situations where I hope I’m wrong, and that the Cubs do win the World Series this year. But with the roster they have and the teams that they have to face on the road to a championship, the Cubs are just to young and inexperienced at the major league level to win this year. I predict them making a far run though; maybe game 5 or 6 of the National League Championship Series. Now with this being said, DON’T sleep on the Cubs next season though. This is a team that will be ready to win, will be built to win, and will be a force to be reckoned with in the National League.