Expectations for the Chicago Cubs in 2013 are, to say the least, not very high. Just about every baseball expert believes they will finish in the cellar of the NL Central. While that will likely be the case, it doesn’t mean it’s a result that has to be set in stone.
You never root for other teams to suffer from injuries, but if the teams ahead of them can’t stay as healthy as the Cubs, that will be a few wins right there that the team can pick up on the rest of the division. Also, if Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija can prove to be a valuable and healthy 1-2 punch for the Cubs, that can account for 30 wins, which the team will desperately need. The interesting case will be for Alfonso Soriano. If the Cubs are in contention when the All-Star break rolls around, the Cubs will likely keep him and his enormous salary.
So it would be ideal for the Cubs to be out of it long before the break, or in first place. That’s a lot to ask, but that’s the only way I can see the Cubs keeping Soriano. If they are 5-10 games behind of first place, it would make more sense to dump Soriano than to try and stage a comeback with an inexperienced roster.
What the Cubs really need is for young stars like Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters taking a big step forward and proving to be part of the future roster. So with all things considered, as much as Cubs fans want to see them make a playoff push, it may be better for just six or seven players to establish themselves as stars, all while swapping Soriano for prospects and cash, setting up future seasons nicely.
Korey Beckett is a baseball writer for RantSports.com and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or comments.