The Chicago Cubs won their first World Series title in over 100 years last season, breaking the longest championship drought in baseball. This year, the Cubs were expected to repeat as champs and had the MLB lines for the season.
However, things haven’t gone quite as planned for the Cubs who find themselves looking up at the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central and also facing the possibility of missing the playoffs this year.
With the first half of the season over with, baseball analysts believe the Cubs should be active in trade talks in order to get things back on track. However, others are wondering if that is a good idea since this was basically the same roster that dominated the league last year.
Even though they are trailing the Brewers by five games, the Cubs still have enough time to turn things around. But, if we’re going to be playing the devil’s advocate, here are some of the issues the Cubs have had so far.
Chicago boasted one of the best pitching rotation in baseball last season with Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, John Lackey, and closer Aroldis Chapman. This year, the Cubs have most of the same pitchers with the exception of Chapman, who returned to New York, but they haven’t had the same success.
Arrieta struggled at the start of the season, but seems to be rounding into form. Hendricks has been on the DL for most of the season, and Lackey has been very inconsistent this year. From the way the starting rotation has played this season, it’s obvious the team could use another arm.
Like their pitching rotation, Chicago’s offense was one of the best in baseball last season, but they have looked like a shell of last year’s squad so far. NL MVP Kris Bryant, and Anthony Rizzo haven’t been as bad as the rest of the team’s batting lineup, but they also haven’t played as well as they did last year.
Kyle Schwarber, who was one of the team’s postseason heroes last year has struggled so much he was sent down to the minors for a few weeks before rejoining the squad this week.
To put their season in better perspective, the Cubs are the first team to ever win a World Series and not be represented in the All-Star game, showing just how much the team fell off this year.
Epstein is the architect of the championship team and as far as he is concerned, there is no need to bring in any new players because he believes the team just needs to start playing better. Epstein said he likes the makeup of the club, but not the way the team is playing right now.
Stay the Course
While it is tempting to bring in some fresh blood in hopes of jump starting the team, Cubs fans have to realize that if the team was to make a trade for a big name player, they will give up valuable assets which will actually make the team worse in the long run and also doesn’t guarantee they will win the World Series. The best option here is to be patient and hope the players can finally get it together.