By Jacob Kornhauser on July 27, 2014
The Cubs are actually slightly ahead of schedule in their rebuild, but there's still plenty of work to be done. With so many unknowns, anything can happen with this team over the next couple of seasons. However, these are five questions that need to be answered before the Cubs are ready to contend year in and year out.
With so many hitting prospects coming up, only so many can play. The best eight bats will get into the lineup, but the team will have to do some shuffling. How they decide to move every player around the field to give them the best possible lineup may be the difference between success and failure for this team.
Even though Jake Arrieta has emerged for the Cubs, he's not a long-term ace. He's more likely to be a solid No. 2 or No. 3 starter, so the team needs an ace. With the Rays currently surging and unlikely to trade David Price this season, the Cubs could try and trade for him this upcoming offseason.
There's surely someone on the Cubs radar right now that isn't being talked about. Whatever free-agent splashes they make in the near future is what could speed up the timeline for contention for the team.
Again, with so many prospects and not enough spots, the Cubs are likely to trade some prospects for top-of-the-line pitching. Probably the most important decision Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will make is which prospects to part ways with and which to keep as part of the future.
The one thing the Cubs can't adjust for is other teams in their division. Since the four teams in front of them are having pretty good seasons, they figure to have stiff competition in the future. Ultimately, the moves that the inner-division teams make could help determine the Cubs' fate.
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