Cubs fans, if you are reading this, I am sorry. In 2016, the Chicago Cubs, led by the Theo Epstien regime, were at the height of baseball stardom. Young budding superstars like MVP Kris Bryant, All-star and fan favorite Anthony Rizzo, and current franchise player/ super star Javy Baez, among others, were winning games and dominating opponents, leading to the team raising the banner and lifting the Curse™️ after winning a World Series title for the first time in 108 years. A lot of people like myself thought this was just the beginning for the Cubs… but unfortunately this looked like the beginning of the end. While they would go on to win 92 in 2017 and 95 games in 2018, the Cubs could not get another title run. They fell to the Dodgers in the NLCS in 2017 and lost in the Wild Card game to the Rockies the following year. Tack on to that an underwhelming 84 win season in 2019, and of course the ever so bizarre 2020 campaign where they again lost in the Wild Card series, this time to Miami.
This was a frustrating time for the Cubs. Kris Bryant could not stay on the field, and after great years from Arrieta and Lester, they struggled to find the Ace of their rotation. Even after seeing Javy Baez become a top 10 player in the game and a superstar, they could not get it done in the playoffs. 2020 seems to be the last year for the Cubs as KB is getting closer to free agency and a trade seems closer and closer by the day and Anthony Rizzo, while one of the best and most consistent first basemen in the game, is going into his age 32 season and after a rough 2020, you don’t really know what to expect out of him. With Theo Epstein leaving the organization, the new regime seems to want to reload for the future.
One of the main moves that gave us this idea is the Yu Darvish trade. Darvish, who was lights out for the Cubbies in 2020, coming in 2nd in the NL Cy Young race, old was looking to lead this rotation heading into the 2021 season. But just last week, the Cubs sent Darvish to the Padres along with 27-year-old catcher Victor Caratini for 5 players, including starter Zach Davies. This trade officially confirmed in my mind that the Cubs window has closed. While the prospects they acquired do seem to have some potential, especially Owen Caissie, who was a second round selection for the Padres last season.
I believe Kris Bryant will be traded. The Cubs do not want to pay the 2016 NL MVP. He is going to ask for a lot of money and the Cubs do not seem like they are interested in writing that check. I do believe teams like the Nationals are interested in him and have a real chance at acquiring him. He is still in the prime of his career and could get a few solid prospects for him.
Unfortunately for Cubs fans, it could be a while before they get back into serious contention, but if they continue to trade away their veteran players for some impact prospects, they could once again return to the top of NL Central. Top prospects Brailyn Marquez and TWR-Alum Brennen Davis do have some major upside that could make them contributors for the Cubs as early as 2022. Cubs fans, sit tight and do not get discouraged your time will come once again.