After years of pain and sorrow, the Chicago Cubs have won the 2016 World Series. Despite being down three games to one, the Cubs fought back in dramatic fashion and captured their first World Series title in 108 years. It was truly an amazing postseason run. Yet, in recent years, there has been a trend of World Series winners tailing off the year after their title. However, the Cubs won’t continue that trend.
Chicago Cubs Dominance will Continue
The Chicago Cubs are armed with arguably the best young talent in baseball. With potential MVP third baseman Kris Bryant, stud first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and infielders Javier Baez and Addison Russell, the Cubs are loaded with lethal young talent. This group was monumental to the Cubs success in both the regular season and the postseason; however, their pitching staff was just as important to that success.
This Cubs Rotation
In addition to their young studs, the Cubs are armed with the best pitching rotation in baseball. Their rotation features veteran southpaw Jon Lester, who pitched crucial innings out of both the rotation and bullpen in the World Series, and 2015 NL CY Young Jake Arrieta, as well as 2016 CY Young candidate Kyle Hendricks and veteran right-hander John Lackey. These four arms are all under contract for next year, meaning the Cubs will have this lethal rotation in their arsenal to make another run at the title next year.
With Their Core Locked Up, the Cubs aren’t Going Anywhere
Much like their starting rotation, the Cubs starting lineup is locked up for the long haul. Bryant, Baez, and Russell are under team control through 2021, and Rizzo is under team control for at least three more years. In addition to their young bats, the Cubs veterans are locked up long term as well.
Left fielder Ben Zobrist will be a Cub for the next three years, and right fielder Jason Heyward is under contract for the next seven years. Many will argue that Heyward’s regression hurts the Cubs now and going forward, but how did he hurt them? He played well in the final three games of the World Series, and he has always been an asset in the field. The Cubs World Series victory shows he wasn’t a liability, and he didn’t hurt them enough to cost them the series.
Although the core of their team is locked up going forward, the Cubs do have two players hitting the free agent market who were key cogs in their postseason run.
The Choice between Dexter Fowler and Aroldis Chapman
Outfielder Dexter Fowler and closer Aroldis Chapman will be hitting the free agent market this winter. Fowler was essential to the Cubs postseason run. He is an underrated fielder and gets on base. He also showed off his power bat in the postseason, including a lead-off home run in Game 7 of the World Series.
On the other hand, Chapman is the game’s best closer. His fastball is near-unhittable, but he was a little shaky this postseason, especially in the World Series. Despite potentially being overworked, Chapman made some mental errors, including not covering first base, and he gave up three runs in the eight inning of Game 7, which put the Indians back in the game. Chapman is a great reliever, but the Cubs probably would’ve still won it all if they hadn’t traded for him. Given the presence of lefty Mike Montgomery, who they acquired at the trade deadline, and closer Hector Rondon, Chapman is expendable. The Cubs must turn their attention to re-signing Fowler.
Unlike previous World Series winning teams, the Chicago Cubs will not tail off next season. Their core players haven’t even come close to reaching their potential, and a good chunk of their roster is locked up for the long run.