2021 Spring Training: Chicago Cubs Looking to Start Fresh

The Chicago Cubs won the National League Central last season. They lost to the Miami Marlins in a two-game sweep in a three-game set in the Wild Card Round last season.

Chicago is going to be in a retooling and a rebuilding mode from here on out. Theo Epstein stepped down as the President of Baseball Operations this past offseason. Jed Hoyer took over his role in the offseason.

If Chicago is out of it by the trade deadline this regular season, they are going to be big-time sellers. The Cubs already lost outfielder Kyle Schwarber this offseason to the Washington Nationals via free agency. Starting pitcher Yu Darvish was traded this past offseason to the San Diego Padres.

Chicago has one of the worst farm systems in all of baseball and they need to restock it. Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, and Kris Bryant could all be on the trade market this season. Bryant has been rumored the most to be traded out of all of them. David Ross will be entering his second season as the manager of the Chicago Cubs.

Starting Pitchers

Kyle Hendricks, Zach Davies, Alec Mills, Jake Arrieta, and Adbert Alzolay will be the starting pitchers this season for the Chicago Cubs. They also lost starting pitcher Jon Lester to the Washington Nationals via free agency this past offseason.

The starting rotation isn’t very strong, but you can get some quality and dominant starts from Hendricks, Arrieta, and Alzolay for the Chicago Cubs.

Bullpen

Craig Kimbrel (projected closer), Rowan Wick, Brandon Workman, Brad Wieck, and Dan Winkler will be some of the key relievers on the Chicago Cubs. Kimbrel is also a hit or miss closer for them. Chicago may not see many chances to close games this season.

The National League Central may be the weakest division in the entire MLB this season. The Pittsburgh Pirates will finish in last place and loss over 100 games easily.

Related Article – 2021 Spring Training: Setting the Stage for the Chicago White Sox

Chicago could reach that territory, but it is very highly unlikely it happens. The St. Louis Cardinals, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Cincinnati Reds are the most likely favorites to win the National League Central this regular season for the Chicago Cubs.

Projected Lineup

(C) Willson Contreras, (1B) Anthony Rizzo, (2B) David Bote, (3B) Kris Bryant, (SS) Javier Baez, (LF) Joc Pederson, (CF) Ian Happ, and (RF) Jason Heyward.

(OF) Nico Hoerner and (IF) Ildemaro Vargas will be two of the key backups on the Chicago Cubs roster.

Contreras is one of the most underrated catchers in the entire MLB. Rizzo is one of the best first basemen in the MLB. He can hit for power, he can hit for contact, and he is one of the best defensive first basemen also here.

Baez is the heartbeat of the Chicago Cubs. He is tremendous with his glove and his bat. Javier Baez would be the most expensive player to trade in regards to getting prospects in return for him for the Chicago Cubs.

Bryant will be hearing trade rumors all season long. This is a true story that he received a text this offseason from an unknown number from Connecticut and it said, “Welcome to the New York Mets.” Bryant had to text his agent just to make sure he wasn’t traded.

Key Dates

Monday, March 1st: Spring training games begin against the San Diego Padres (split squads).

Monday, April 1st: Opening day at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

April 8th: Road opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates also for the Chicago Cubs.

Do you think the Chicago Cubs will make it to the playoffs this season or no? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Glenn Kaplan on Twitter @glennkaplan13.

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