What to Know
- The Cubs finished with 95 wins last season, but were bounced from the National League Wild Card Game.
- This year, PECOTA has the Cubs projected to win just 80 games and finish last in the NL Central.
As fans debate the team’s approach to the offseason, and as some media outlets predict gloom and doom for the North Siders, the Chicago Cubs are tuning out the noise and focusing on what they can bring to the field in the coming season.
Throughout the offseason, there has been plenty of criticism of the team, as they only made a handful of small moves in a free agent class that included both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
To add insult to injury, several publications, including Baseball Prospectus, have questioned whether the Cubs are a playoff club this season, with the newest PECOTA projections from BP saying that the Cubs will finish in last place in the Central Division.
Several Cubs players were asked about that prediction, and their responses were uniform: they dismissed it.
“That’s cool, I guess,” outfielder Kyle Schwarber said with a chuckle. “They want to get some publicity. We all know what we have in this clubhouse. Baseball is baseball, so it might happen, but I’m betting that it won’t happen.”
The projections have the Cubs winning just 80 games this season, with a porous defense and a bad pitching staff contributing to the lowly number.
The Cubs have made the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, and that confidence is still present in numerous players, including reliever Pedro Strop.
“I don’t care about that,” he said. “I don’t care if we’re on the radar or not. You’re still going to have to play the games, and we’ll find out if we’re on that radar after the season.”
As the team prepares for the coming season, they are clearly buying into the mantra of the front office, which is that the solutions to what ails the club can be found within their clubhouse.
”It makes us all feel really comfortable, knowing the group that we have in here,” Schwarber said. “It’s a big family, and that’s the way that we treat it.”