Search “Cubs” on any social media platform these days, and you’re not going to find the same vibe that existed after the 2016 World Series. A team coming off a disappointing finish — combined with a quiet winter so far — is starting to feel the heat from an expectant fan base.
More important, the Cubs are feeling the heat from a division they seemingly owned at this time a year ago. That hold has faded. Milwaukee overtook Chicago for the NL Central title in 2018, and St. Louis and Cincinnati have been as active as anyone this offseason. The gap is closing in a division without a rebuilding team. That’s a rarity in baseball these days, and there will be no easy wins.new nike nfl jerseys cheap
Consider this: The fourth-place team in the NL Central last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates, finished with the best record in the division, at 43-33. Parity was, and is, abundant.
“I’ve been saying it all [last] year,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said last month. “I think we have the best division in baseball. I really do. Team for team, I think we’re the best because of the ascension of these other groups. Playing the Cardinals is no fun again.”
Maddon made those comments not long after the Cardinals traded for slugger Paul Goldschmidt and before St. Louis signed lefty reliever Andrew Miller. It was also before the Reds traded for Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Alex Wood.
The good news is it’s not always easy to connect the dots from winning the winter to winning in October. The best teams are the best teams because they already have good players. In fact, doesn’t it seem like the teams that win the winter are the ones that need to the most?nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal
“Look, St. Louis is doing a lot right now because they needed to,” one veteran scout of the division said. “You don’t see the Red Sox overhauling their team or making big trades because they have a championship team right now.”