NL Central team resembles post-2008 champion Phillies
By Matt Rappa
Comparing the post-2016 champion Cubs with the post-2008 champion Phillies
After the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series in 2008 — and even well before the late October series against the Tampa Bay Rays — fans grew to appreciate the stars of the team, such as Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins.
Despite having the trio of players who arguably ranked among the best at their position in franchise history, the Phillies ultimately only secured one championship during the 2007-2011 postseason window.
The Phillies finished 81-81 in 2012, 73-89 in 2013 and 2014, 63-99 in 2015, and 71-91 in 2016 — their last season that featured a player who also donned red pinstripes on the forever revered 2008 team.
The Chicago Cubs now appear to be in a similar situation that the Phillies were in, around the same time they defeated the Cleveland Indians to become 2016 World Series champions. The organization won just 84 games in 2019, finishing seven games out of first place in the National League Central. This past season, the Cubs won the division (albeit in the shortened season), but were swept by the sixth-seeded Miami Marlins in the best-of-three Wild Card Series.
Usually, after a surprising no-show in the postseason, changes are expected. But, there have already been several subtractions made to the Cubs roster this offseason. Among the most notable include catcher Victor Caratini, outfielders Albert Almora Jr. and Kyle Schwarber, and pitchers Yu Darvish, Jeremy Jeffress, Jon Lester, and Jose Quintana. Also, the Cubs also have many veterans who remain with the team, but are going into contract years; some have been mentioned in trade rumors, including infielders Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez, and catcher Willson Contreras.
Cubs president Jed Hoyer said on Wednesday that their recent trade of four-time All-Star Darvish, who led MLB in wins in 2020 (8), was not financially motivated. Rather, he argued the move allowed the Cubs to “infuse more depth into the organization.” Hoyer also disputed recent Contreras trade rumors as being “fictional.”
What approach exactly are the Cubs following this offseason?