The Cubs are probably used to hearing “Next year is the year,” but….next year could very well be the year. I’ll tell you why.
- Kris Bryant, age 24, 6 years of club control
- Anthony Rizzo, age 26, signed through 2019 (probably 2021 because they’ll exercise his options)
- Addison Russell, age 21, 6 years of club control
- Jorge Soler, age 24, signed through 2020
- Javier Baez, age 23, 6 years of club control
- Kyle Schwarber, age 23, 6 years of club control
- Jon Lester, age 32, signed through 2020
- Jake Arrieta, age 30, 3 years of club control
- Albert Almora, Carl Edwards Jr., and Billy McKinney all due up at some point in 2016
That’s a heck of a core, not to mention they have a genius making moves (Theo Epstein), like adding Dexter Fowler last offseason to give the team an established leadoff hitter, and a genius in managing players, Joe Maddon. Maddon is a pretty good strategist, but what makes him the legend that he is is his ability to somehow get the absolute best out of his players, who almost always love him.
The Cubs could win multiple championships with this team. You’ve heard me rant on playoff sample size and how the playoffs are somewhat of a crapshoot, which they are, but the dynasties and best teams always seem to find a way to win in most cases.
I think the Cubs are a solid pitcher and a few small parts away from this level. These teams win their division and dominate in the playoffs. Think about the late 90’s Yankees’ teams. Their core was Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettite, and Mariano Rivera. The rest of their squad was solid but most were either aging stars, or just solid parts.
The Cubs core is Bryant, Rizzo, Russell, Schwarber, Arrieta, Lester, and even more players, so altogether they could outweigh some of the best Yankee teams ever (keep in mind the Yankees are the best franchise ever, too). The only thing those clubs have on what the Cubs have going on is some experience and a couple of position weaknesses (that the Cubs could easily fix this offseason, as I’ll show next paragraph). The Cubs farm system, which wasn’t completely gutted with all of the players listed above coming up, is still strong too. They can trade some guys and keep others to replace guys as they leave, because they won’t be able to give out $700 million dollars in extensions.
What the Cubs need to do to make the next step this offseason is to go out and sign David Price. Give him a blank check and reunite him with Joe Maddon. Price is a safe investment, as he isn’t on the wrong sidfe of 30 and an FIP that hasn’t been higher than 3.05 since 2011, when it was 3.32. Price can also give the Cubs three top-tier starters, and it’ll have almost the same affect that the Mets had on them this year, because even the best offense won’t get a break. On top of this, they have Starlin Castro, an expendable piece, and Dan Vogelbach, whom has no spot in Chicago, along with many other prospects. They could easily make a trade for a starter and keep their top five pitchers. An underrated guy, like Tyson Ross or Andrew Cashner seems right up Theo Epstein’s alley. Or if they wanted to go all in, Stephen Strasburg could be on the trading block. Either way, adding a top starter is a must in the NL. Other parts can be added as needed in the free agent market, like they need to sign a reliever or two and an outfielder who could leadoff until Almora and McKinney are ready. The last rotation spot can be given to Jason Hammel to start the year, but if he struggles there’s Duane Underwood, Edwards, or Kyle Hendricks waiting.
So the Cubs have a plan for the offseason. Back to comparing them to a dynasty. The Giants of recent years are very unique because they’ve been clever and capitalized on getting hot at the right time. Each team that won was a little bit different from the others, too. The 1996-early 2000s Yankees are still the best to compare with because they are recent and were built one way. The Cubs have a stronger core in my opinion. The starting pitchers are better and the offense as a whole is better. It’s too early in any Cubs players’ careers to say that one of those hitters could be better than Jeter, but Bryant has a chance to be a Jeter-like leader, and the offense as a whole can be better. If some of these Cubs sign on long term, this could be a long dynasty. They may not win a title every year just based on how injuries and luck go, but they already made it to the NLCS, led by two really good pitchers and a bunch of young kids who could rake. As the Cubs’ hitters get older, most will probably get better, as that’s the general trend for hitters. This means that their offense could get more lethal, and, potentially, you have yourself a dynasty that could win many titles.
I’m not saying the Cubs will be a dynasty, because they have to fix a few things and a lot of stuff has to go their way, I’m just saying they’re the closest thing that we have to being on the brink of a dynasty in baseball right now. Oh, and next year could easily be the year of the Cubs, because they’re just flat out scary. Just hold out hope that Daniel Murphy signs with a bad American League team.