The Chicago Cubs are World Series Champions.
Those words haven’t been uttered in over 108 years; but it has finally happened, and there isn’t anything anyone can do about it. Were the Chicago Cubs supposed to win based on the number “8” in 1908, the last time they won, or the “8” it took in 108 years to win the World Series?
Myths and legends finally laid to rest as the Chicago Cubs showed the world that they are “Lovable Losers” no more. A Billy Goat, A Bartman, and Lou Brock, to giving away Greg Maddux to the Atlanta Braves for practical pennies after winning the Cy Young Award with the Cubs in 1992.
All erased. Forever forgotten.
This year is a year filled with optimism. No longer are Chicago Cubs fans looking over the opening day roster, only to count the number of days star players will remain with the team until the August 1st trade deadline. This season, Cubs fans have felt something inside of them that they have not felt since the days Ryne Sandberg played second base: hope.
When Dorothy Farrell, the famous Cubs fan, was shown celebrating after the Cubs home win that sent them to the World Series, it gave Wrigley Field a new meaning, a new ray of hope and sunshine. One no longer has to attend Wrigley only to enjoy their Vienna Beef Sausage (although, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that).
The 2017 Chicago Cubs will look a little bit different than the previous season. First, Cubs fans had to say farewell to their beloved Center Fielder, Dexter Fowler, who signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal with rival of the Cubs, the St. Louis Cardinals. In his place, the team signed Jon Jay to a one-year contract worth $8 million.
Jon Jay could never replace the presence in the locker room and on the field the way Fowler presented himself to the organization. Fowler became an iconic figure in the city of Chicago, but Cub fans were expecting the move to happen as the team was not looking to lock him up to a long-term deal. Jay’s signing means that future sensation, Albert Almora Jr, will have backup assurance in case Almora struggles, or needs to rest a game.
Another big offseason move saw the Chicago Cubs send one of their outfield prospects, Jorge Soler, to the Kansas City Royals, for new closer Wade Davis. The Cubs were not willing to give closer Aroldis Chapman a long-term deal, so Davis will now take over those duties.
Returning to the team, for now, is Jake Arrieta. The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner is looking for big bucks, which he rightfully deserves, but doesn’t mean the Cubs will be willing to offer him that deal. He is signed on for one more season, but if Chicago Cubs President, Theo Epstein was smart, he would trade him during the August 1st trade deadline to receive more prospects, and perhaps another starting pitcher that could help the Cubs during the stretch run.
Regardless of where Arrieta stands, the Chicago Cubs still have a very strong pitching rotation. Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks finished second and third respectively in the Cy Young race for 2016. They also have veteran John Lackey on the roster. Mike Montgomery, who earned a save in the World Series, is looking to be the team’s 5th starter.
Relief pitching is also a strong suit of the Cubs with Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon being set to return after being injured most of last season, along with Carl Edwards Jr, who pitched a gem in Game 7 of the World Series, and of course trading for Wade Davis is a huge plus as well.
The team’s lineup looks to be the best in baseball. Returning is reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant. Anthony Rizzo, who was also a finalist for MVP is back at 1st base. Addison Russell, Willson Contreras, Javier Baez, Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber fill out the rest of the starting lineup, so most of the team is intact from the previous season, which is why Chicago Cub fans all around the world are excited for the 2017 season.
David Ross, Aroldis Chapman, Jason Hammel, Joe Smith, and Travis Wood are gone, but the Cubs have enough depth on their current roster that does not cause any Cubs fan to panic over their loss.
Spring training starts next month. Will the Chicago Cubs repeat as World Series champions? Absolutely! This team is built to be winners for a very long time. Chicago Cubs Manager, Joe Maddon, definitely knows how to build a winner, and the team around him believes that he is capable of leading them there.
[Featured Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]