Following their World Series win in 2016 the Chicago Cubs failed to maximise their legacy and set up an historic period for the franchise, instead, like many, they decided to rebuild and focus on the future.
The rebuild is on track and they have had a good winter and here we take a look at how they have developed their roster, with the Cubs +2500 to win the National League title and +5500 to go all the way and claim World Series glory.
The last few seasons have seen the Cubs send away all the Fall Classic winners and replace them with young and established players. The only person who can claim they saw the Cubs win it all in 2016 is team manager David Ross.
There is not a single player left on the 40-man roster who won a World Series ring with Chicago seven seasons ago. Ross was the experience on the roster, often brought in late innings to see the game through and now his experience has been used as the team leader.
The Cubs in following seasons fell short of what their talented roster could muster. In 2017, they won the National League Central Division again and defeated the Washington Nationals in the NL Division Series, but lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL Pennant.
In 2018, they came second in the Division, but reached the playoffs via the Wild Card, however they were defeated in the one-off game by the Colorado Rockies - the talented roster that won the World Series just couldn’t seem to push further and get the job done again.
Following a poor season in 2019 in which the Cubs finished in third place in the Division, the Cubs parted ways with manager Joe Maddon, who had been a catalyst for the roster development and helping the franchise win the World Series. Despite the down seasons following, Maddon’s departure was a shock.
Reflecting on his time at Wrigley Field last year, Maddon spoke to NBC Sports and said: "I thought it would have been interesting to hang together for a couple more seasons. I can’t deny that.
"That group right there was not only very talented, but very charismatic too. I liked the people in that room. The way they dealt with pressure or expectations was outstanding.
"There was a lot to like there with all those players and staff. The staff was outstanding. Of course you think retrospectively, you’d like to have a couple more years to get one more shot at the gold ring. It didn’t happen."
Following a Wild Card loss in 2020 to the Miami Marlins, the Cubs front office thought it was time to shed payroll and trade all of its stars of the World Series. That was in the first season for Ross.
The Cubs traded the hugely popular Kyle Schwarber as the start of the payroll cull. Over the course of the next two years, World Series winners, Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Jason Heyward, Willson Contreras, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant all left for pastures new and Ross was left to nurture a new set of players.
This offseason has seen the Cubs in the market for some talented players and they have secured free-agent shortstop Dansby Swanson as arguably the face of the franchise, signing the former Atlanta Braves star to seven-year $177million deal.
In the market today that appears to be a steal of a signing. Tucker Barnhart will fill Contreras’ role behind the plate and, while his numbers are not as impressive, it’s a steady signing.
The Cubs have added Eric Hosmer to play first base and also Trey Mancini will be the designated hitter/first baseman. Mancini was a World Series winner with the Houston Astros after being traded on the 1st August 2022 by the Baltimore Orioles.
Nico Hoerner will make way for Swanson at shortstop and move to second base, making the Cubs infield very strong.
The Cubs have also added 2020 World Series winner and MVP Cody Bellinger to their outfield. The former Dodgers star has been battling a leg injury for a couple of seasons, which have been some down years, however he has only signed a one-year, $17.5millon deal.
On the mound Jameson Taillon joins from the New York Yankees, he will help at the top of a rotation that includes Marcus Stroman, with Justin Steel and Keegan Thompson as the young stars.
The Cubs are on their way back, it may take time, but they are +650 to win the NL Central Division this year.