Culver City Observer -

108 Years Later Cubs Favored To Win World Series

 

March 10, 2016



In a shocking development, Dexter Fowler showed up at the Chicago Cubs training base last week ready to play.

It was shocking because Fowler, an outfielder who was with the Cubs last season, turned down their original offer and became a free agent. Following serious negotiations with the Baltimore Orioles he decided to return to the Cubs for less money.

The next day the Cubs signed veteran outfielder Shane Victorino to a minor league contract, meaning he’ll be available to join the Cubs sometime this season if needed.

These are two examples why the Cubs are being favored by some experts to win the World Series this season.

Sparked by several superb newcomers the Cubs reached the 2015 playoffs as a wild card team, won the wild card game from the Pittsburgh Pirates and won a first round playoff series from the St. Louis Cardinals. Although the Cubs were then swept by the New York Mets they were on their way to prominence.

Since last season ended the Cubs have acquired Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and John Lackey. Heyward left the Cardinals and signed an eight-year contract with the Cubs for $184 million.

“My heart is here,” Fowler explained. “Taking into consideration the new players we’ve added this is the place to be.”

The Cubs’ players were called to a special meeting at their training base. When Fowler came out of the locker room they assumed he was going to say good bye. Instead, they learned he had signed a new contract.

A year ago the Cubs acquired John Lester, one of baseball’s best pitchers. Yet it was teammate Jake Arrieta who won the National League Cy Young award. Now they have Lackey as a teammate. What an outstanding starting rotation.

Theo Epstein, an executive formerly with the Boston Red Sox. Is being credited with the Cubs’ sudden rise.

Also, manager Joe Maddon is given well-deserved credit.

Maddon, a former Angels coach under manager Mike Scioscia and more recently manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, has earned a lot of respect through the years.

The Cubs are counting on their new wave of stars to keep progressing.

Included are Anthony Rizzo, Chris Bryant, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Baez. Rizzo has already earned a seven year, $41 million contract.

Third baseman Bryant is one of baseball’s best new stars. Left fielder Schwarber will likely become an everyday player soon.

Some experts who aren’t figuring the Cubs to qualify for the World Series point out a possible weakness. They believe the Cubs’ relief pitching isn’t as strong as it needs to be.

Then there’s the matter that Arrieta threw a lot of pitches last season as he beat out the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke for the Cy Young award. Will he be able to do that again?

We’ll see.

 

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