By Nick Schaeflein @ptchr2424 on March 16, 2014
The Chicago Cubs in 2014 will be a team that will have little room for error. Under new manager Rick Renteria, things will need to be precise in order to gain optimal results. However, after this season, the future certainly looks bright at Clark and Addison. Until that time, there are questions that still need to be addressed. Here are five criticized Cubs of Spring Training 2014.
In camp, Jason Hammel and Jake Arrieta are still working their way back from minor injuries. In their place, guys like Chris Rusin, James McDonald and Jonathan Sanchez have struggled to stand out. The staff as a whole also struggled to the tune of giving up the most runs in Spring Training of any NL team. That will need to be righted once the games start to count for real.
Junior Lake will get every chance to showcase his potential in 2014 as the starting left fielder. However, in camp he has struggled only hitting .136 thus far. The defensive adjustment is also coming along at a slower pace than anticipated. Lake will need to sure up both as the calendar starts to move toward April and beyond.
Last year, Edwin Jackson received a ton of money, but unfortunately, he also received a ton of decisions on the wrong side of the ledger. He is also still working to smooth things out this spring as well. Pressure will certainly be on Jackson this year, but he does have the raw ability to overcome it in 2014.
Jeff Samardzija was named the opening day starter for the second-straight year. However, during Spring Training, his command has been off. He has been wild up in the zone which has led to runs being given up. Can he ignore the trade rumors and find his groove? Can his talent break through and become that of a No. 1 starter? All eyes will be on Samardzija come opening day.
Some may view Starlin Castro's 2013 season as a dreadful year, but his numbers were still respectable at the position. He is also still young enough to where 2013 will become just a minor stumble. This spring, Castro was getting off to a promising start until an injury sidelined him. With the success Javier Baez is having, Castro will start to be put under the microscope now more than ever. He has the ability to silence those critics this year.
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