Lackey, Zobrist, Heyward, and the 2016 Chicago Cubs


After the last week of moves from the Chicago Cubs, there’s little doubt as to which team has won the MLB off-season so far. Adding John Lackey, Ben Zobrist, Adam Warren, and now Jason Heyward to a core that many had already considered to be among the best in all of baseball appears to make this team nigh unbeatable in 2016. But even those mind-blowing additions don’t guarantee Theo Epstein and his all-star caliber roster anything in a 162-game MLB season.

My favorite tweet following the signing of Heyward came from Patrick Daugherty:

In case you need a reminder, those Nats were the consensus World Series favorites entering 2015 following their huge off-season signing of ace Max Scherzer to add to an already stacked rotation and a rising superstar in Bryce Harper. Scherzer lived up to his billing as one of the best starting pitchers in baseball, and Harper won the NL MVP with a performance for the ages, but Washington barely exceeded the .500 mark and missed the playoffs.

If nothing else, those Nationals should serve as a valuable reminder to the Cubs about just how fickle the world of professional baseball is nowadays. Too many random factors can work against a team throughout the course of a season. While the Cubs’ huge off-season additions have undoubtedly improved their roster on multiple fronts, those moves have also placed a huge target on the team that will cause rival rosters to step up their game when going against the unquestioned 2016 favorites.

All told, the Cubs have gone from a group of overachieving kids to a highly-paid gathering of favorites who now face perhaps the highest expectations of any Cubs team in my two-decade lifetime. With an elite front office, the best manager in baseball, and a roster with legendary potential, the Cubs don’t have any choice but to commit to winning and remember that nothing will be handed to them in the MLB.

About the author: David Tews

David is a sport management student at UMass Amherst who one day hopes to work in athlete representation. Keep up to date with his writing and other interesting sports news by following him on Twitter via @DavidTews13.