The Cubs finally did it. They broke their 108 year curse last year, winning a memorable World Series in seven games against the Indians.
The Cubs have shown no signs of slowing down either in 2017. PECOTA has the Cubs projected to go 92-70, and win the division by 10 games. The Cubs main core is still fully in tact, and they have young talent that is only getting better.
- Wade Davis, RP (trade from Royals)
- Jon Jay, CF (free agent from Padres)
- Koji Uehara, RP (free agent from Red Sox)
The Cubs might have lost Aroldis Chapman, but they gained Wade Davis. It might be hard to believe it, but Davis has been better than Chapman over the last three seasons. Davis has a 1.18 ERA to Chapman’s 1.72.
- Aroldis Chapman, RP (free agent to Yankees)
- Dexter Fowler, CF (free agent to Cardinals)
- Jason Hammel, SP (free agent to Royals)
- Jorge Soler, OF (trade to Royals)
- Travis Wood, RP (free agent to Royals)
- Trevor Cahill, SP/RP (free agent to Padres)
- Chris Coghlan, 2B/OF (free agent to Phillies)
- Davis Ross, C (retired)
The only loss in the off-season for the Cubs that could cause some pain is Dexter Fowler joining the Cardinals. Everyone else has been replaced by better, younger talent. The Cubs have so much position flexibility that they can move Heyward over to CF, and keep their main lineup with Baez at 2B.
When the Cubs have Javier Baez in the lineup instead of Jon Jay, their lineup 1-8 is absolutely unstoppable. There aren’t many teams that have 1-3 hitters who are projected to each hit 30+ home runs.
Lester, Arrieta, and Hendricks is about as good of 1-3 combo as you could ask for. The big question is if Lackey and Anderson can hold their own in the back end.
Koji Uehara was also a nice addition to the Cubs already strong bullpen.
The Cubs top prospects
- Eloy Jiminez, OF (ETA: 2019)
- Ian Happ, 2B/OF (ETA: 2018)
- Albert Almora, OF (on MLB roster)
- Dylan Cease, SP (ETA: 2019)
- Jeimer Cadelario, 3B/1B (ETA: 2017)
Eloy Jiminez was the top international prospect and signed for $2.8 million in 2013. He hit 16 home runs last year in single-A, and posted a .901 OPS. He is drawing comparison like Giancarlo Stanton.
Ian Happ played his college ball at the University of Cincinnati, and is quickly making his way through the Cubs system. Happ hit 5 home runs in spring training with a .392 AVG before being sent to the minor league camp. Happ finished the year at AA last season.
The rest of the NL Central has to hope that the Cubs partied too hard this off-season, and will have a slow start to 2017 after their emotional World Series win. The Cubs stars made a plethora of media engagements over the off-season. Maybe a slow start could make things at at least interesting at the All-Star break. But it is probably more likely that the Cubs are chasing down the Mariners regular season wins record than fighting off someone in the division.
Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.