The Cubs might not only be the greatest team in the NL Central, but also the greatest team in the National League. The only thing working against them is their history of failure, but Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist weren't there for that, and Chicago got as close as they've been in decades without them. This team might be the Cubs' best chance at snapping the longest World Series drought in baseball's only slightly longer history. This team might be the one that Cubs' fans remember forever. Uh, no pressure or anything.
It has to be Jason Heyward, not only because he's the greatest of the players the Cubs signed this winter, but also because they took him from their chief rival in the NL Central, the Cardinals. Chicago improved while St. Louis got worse -- it might be the biggest single swing in value in that respect of any move this offseason.
All additions: Jason Heyward, John Lackey, Ben Zobrist, Adam Warren
Starlin Castro wasn't much to look at during the first half of 2015, but once the Cubs shifted him to second base, he erupted, batting .339/.358/.583 in his 33 games there. The Cubs won't miss that small-sample production specifically, but envisioning a situation where Castro outplays the infielders the Cubs decided to replace him with isn't a difficult endeavor. He's still just 26 years old, and only a year removed from a season Chicago was excited about.
All departures: Starlin Castro, Austin Jackson, Dan Haren, Tommy Hunter, Fernando Rodney, Dexter Fowler lol jk
Do we dare write the words out? Do we dare say the Cubs could do the thing they've shown themselves unable to do for longer than anyone reading this has been alive? Obviously we do dare. Do you know how mad Cardinals fans would be if we didn't tempt their rival's fate like that? No one needs that kind of fury in their mentions. The Cubs' best-case scenario is a World Series victory, their first since 1908, and while anything less won't be an outright disappointment, it'll still be disappointing.
There was supposed to be a chart of the Cubs' history of failure here, but we were told it would break the formatting of this preview.
Lineup: Dexter Fowler, Ben Zobrist, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, Miguel Montero, Addison Russell
Rotation: Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jason Hammel, Kyle Hendricks