At the end of last season’s glorious World Series, we heard from many MLB pundits that the Cubs are stacked and have a great chance to win it again in 2017. I’ll give you 5 reasons why they won’t.
- Leadoff hitter: Who’s it going to be? Without Dexter Fowler (now on the Cardinals) this opens up a position in the outfield that the Cubs can certainly fill, but can any of candidates hit leadoff? We’ll see.
- Closer: Chapman is gone and that’s a big deal. Chapman seemed indestructible at times late last season, while new Closer Wade Davis only appeared in 45 games due to injury. If Davis falters, Maddon would have to turn to soon to be 42 year old Koji Uehara or former closer Hector Rondon.
- The St. Louis Cardinals: remember them? Yeah, they’re the team that has dominated the the NL Central since it was formed in 1994 with ten division titles (3 Wild Card appearances too). They’re always a contender, might be miffed about the hacking scandal, and will want to remind the Cubs that the NL Central goes through them and no one else.
- Other teams knocking them off: Teams like the Red Sox, Indians, Dodgers, and Giants did not stand pat over the off-season. The Giants got the closer they desperately needed last season (blowing playoff games late to the Cubs) and the Indians picked up masher Edwin Encarnacion.
- Championship hangover: The longest wait may have led to the longest celebration. Look for at least a couple players having down seasons. It happens all the time (look at Aubrey Huff in 2011, Alex Gordon in 2016, The entire Red Sox team in 2014).