2012 was a down year for the Cubs, and unfortunately 2013 does not look much different. Instead of looking at the negatives though, I examined the positives and came to the conclusion that this year’s Cubs will finish with a better record than last year’s team. While their are multiple reasons for this, the young talent as well as the Epstein regime being in full force are two that really stand out. Even though Theo may not be able to put the fans out of their misery this season, their is potential hope for 2014 and beyond.
Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro were not a legitimate duo last season until July, but this season they will be in the same lineup on Opening Day. The dynamic duo of these two should give the Cubs plenty of opportunities to drive in runners and Rizzo should also help the Cubs with the home run ball. The lineup is much more solid this season, but even the weak spots seem brighter than last year. Nate Schierholtz has a nice glove in right fielder and will deliver a solid OPS. He will be an upgrade over the overpaid Marlon Byrd from last season. It also makes Cubs fans secure that he is just a placeholder for Brett Jackson. The 2013 version of Ian Stewart will also be better, as his body is fully healed from the beatings he has taken over his career. Darwin Barney is solidfying himself as the Cubs second baseman of the future, but that could change anytime. Welington Castillo is entering his first season as the full time starter, and is a more powerful and skinnier version Geovany Soto. David DeJesus is as reliable a leadoff hitter as it gets. And of course, Alfonso Soriano is still Alfonso Soriano.
Another reason I find it very likely that the 2013 Cubs will show improvement is the fact that Theo Epstein’s master plan is further along. He is ensuring that the Cubs have endless starting pitching depth, which is security for injuries. He is continuing to make low risk signings and trades as he has replaced flameouts such as Rodrigo Lopez and Casey Coleman with proven starters Travis Wood and Scott Feldman as the postential insurance guys in the rotation. He is spending his money wisely, yet it wouldn’t surprise me if Theo makes a big splash within the next couple offseasons. Him and Jed Hoyer seem to have the team on track and the Cubs may have the most competent front office in the entire league.
Their are many aspects to a baseball team, and very few of them have declined for the Cubs over the offseason. Unless a major injury crisis breaks out, the team is showing all signs that they will improve, despite the looks of a below .500 team. For those Cubs fans expecting perfection, just think that we can be this season’s Orioles.