Chicago Cubs Opening Day: What to Watch For

By Jacob Kornhauser
Anthony Rizzo
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Another season of Cubs baseball is ready to get underway tomorrow when the Chicago Cubs take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh. While there’s not a whole lot of hope for the Cubs to contend this season, there are a few interesting things to watch for this season and on Opening Day.

Among the Cubs’ Opening Day storylines is that prospect Mike Olt will make his first of many starts at third base. By making the team, he has the everyday third base job for now. How well he performs early on could determine where the rest of the club’s prospects fall when they make their way to the majors.

Opening Day could also mark pitcher Jeff Samardzija‘s last Opening Day start in a Cubs uniform. There’s no secret that he’s been shopped around and if he can’t reach a long-term extension with the team by this year’s trade deadline, chances are he won’t be in Chicago in August. He heads a rotation that has a lot of question marks going into the season, especially given that projected No. 5 starter Jake Arrieta will not be healthy for the season opener.

Most intriguing of all is simply that baseball is back. The seven-month marathon begins tomorrow and 2014 is a big year for the Cubs. Should the team overachieve in 2014 and be somewhat competitive, the team’s timeline for competing could be sped up. However, if the team doesn’t show progress from the last few seasons, it could push their development back by a year.

The fact that baseball is back is exciting. For the Cubs, several questions need to be answered this year. All of those questions will begin to be answered in tomorrow’s opener.

Jacob Kornhauser is a Chicago Cubs writer for Add him on  Twitter or add him to your Google+ network.

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