Forecasting the Cubs’ future has become a fun pastime as the season winds down. A popular prognostication that I have heard is that the Cubs will be a .500 team next year, a playoff team in 2016 and a World Series contender in ’17.
That’s a reasonable view; however, I’ve been saying that I think the Cubs can make the playoffs next season and challenge for a World Series in ’16. One big reason I feel confident in thinking this is that we can check one milestone off the list. The Cubs have been playing .500 baseball for the past two months.
As you can see in the chart, they are exactly on the mark. Considering they won three of four games to end July, and the Cubs are guaranteed to be right around .500 no matter what happens in Milwaukee this final weekend of the season.
The Cubs have hovered around .500 despite losing Anthony Rizzo to injury for a while and having Starlin Castro’s season cut short due to an ankle injury. They’ve also been giving Jorge Soler plenty of rest so as not to strain his hamstrings.
So if this team that has relied on Chris Valaika, Luis Valbuena, Mike Olt, Ryan Kalish and Matt Szczur to fill holes in the lineup while also auditioning starters Felix Doubront, Dan Straily and Jacob Turner can win as many games as it loses, couldn’t a little more solid team make the playoffs?
I vote yes. Sign a frontline starter and maybe a No. 2/3, call up Kris Bryant and put a healthy Castro at short, and you’re going to win more games — perhaps a lot more.
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