This season was supposed to be an important bridge year for the Cubs as they look toward contending in the future. Well, that bridge currently hasn’t even begun construction. After their latest loss, the Cubs sit at 5-12, one of the worst records in the league, and actually have taken a step back from 2013 as of right now. A surprise up until June, the Cubs were hovering around .500 last season. This season doesn’t seem headed that way despite more lineup depth.
Perhaps the Cubs have just run into some bad luck so far, but they certainly don’t seem like they will be improved as of now. That’s a bad sign given that the club hoped to be competing by next season and 2016 at the latest. If the Cubs, who have now lost 10 straight series dating back to last season, continue on this path, 2014 could majorly set back their rebuilding time frame.
Adding power hitters like Mike Olt and Justin Ruggiano to the fold figured to improve the Cubs’ offense, but so far neither has performed exceptionally well. Olt has hit three home runs, but is batting below .200. Ruggiano just hasn’t gotten much playing time yet this season.
Another problem for the Cubs this year has been their bullpen. Original closer Jose Veras blew three saves and was quickly yanked from the closer role. That’s three extra wins the Cubs would have, which would make their record a respectable 8-9. Nonetheless, he’s been replaced by Pedro Strop who has fared better so far in a couple outings.
So while the Cubs aren’t showing improvement this season, there’s plenty of time for them to turn things around, especially if the bullpen gets shored up. There’s a lot of changes that will still be made this summer, so the end result for the Cubs in 2014 isn’t as important as the journey that takes them there. If they truly hope to have any chance of competing in 2015, that journey better start looking a whole lot better.