After Improvement From 2013, Chicago Cubs Are Looking Bright


Sep 26, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez (9) celebrates after the Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-4 at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference a year makes for the Chicago Cubs.

At the end of the 2013 season, the Cubs were 66-96 and at a crossroad. This time last year, the focus was on then Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum. Many were wondering whether or not the Cubs would let go of the first manager that was hired by Theo Epstein. That is indeed what the Cubs did. The Cubs fired Sveum because the manager could not the get the message across from the front office to the players. The lack of communication from Sveum was evident when former Cubs’ closer Kevin Gregg got into a heated discussion with Epstein after Gregg believed that he was being demoted from being the team’s closer after a discussion with Sveum.

Live Feed

Chicago Cubs Rumors: Juan Soto trade, Shohei Ohtani decision nearing
Chicago Cubs Rumors: Juan Soto trade, Shohei Ohtani decision nearing /

Cubbies Crib

  • Chicago Cubs not moving Christopher Morel for Tyler Glasnow Cubbies Crib
  • Cubs News: Jed Hoyer tempers expectations on a big Winter Meetings moveCubbies Crib
  • A new day dawns at the Winter Meetings with Cubs still in play for Shohei OhtaniCubbies Crib
  • MLB Rumors: Cubs won't give in to utterly absurd Tyler Glasnow trade demandsFanSided
  • Chicago Cubs rumors: Juan Soto not completely out of the mixCubbies Crib
  • Sveum was also criticized for the lack of development from the Cubs’ core players.

    Anthony Rizzo hit .233/.323/.419 with the Cubs in 2013 while hitting 23 home runs and compiling 80 RBIs. In 2013, Rizzo had a wOBA of .325 as well as a 103 wRC+.

    Like Rizzo, Starlin Castro also struggled in 2013 under Sveum. Castro hit .245/.284/.347 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs. Castro had a wOBA of .280 and a 72 wRC+.

    Progressing the development of Rizzo and Castro was one of the main reasons why the Cubs hired Rick Renteria to replace Sveum as the team’s manager. Renteria succeeded in doing that during the 2014 season and that is what led to a seven-game improvement for the Cubs. The Cubs finished the 2014 season with a record of 73-89 and the future has been no brighter than it currently is.

    The Cubs’ improvements in 2014 stemmed from the bounce back seasons of Rizzo and Castro.

    Rizzo finished the 2014 season hitting .286/.386/.527 with 32 home runs and 78 RBIs. Rizzo also had a wOBA of .397 in 2014 with a 153 wRC+.

    Castro improved greatly in 2014 as well. Castro hit .292/.339/.438 with 14 homes runs and 65 RBIs. Castro’s wOBA in 2014 was .341 to go along with a 115 wRC+.

    But the improvements of Castro and Rizzo are only one part to the brightness of the Cubs’ future.

    More from Chicago Cubs

    At the end of the 2014 season, the Cubs had several top prospects on their Major League roster. Shortstop Javier Baez, outfielders Arismendy Alcantara and Jorge Soler, and starting pitchers Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks all firmly embedded their spot on the Cubs’ Major League roster during the 2014 season. Not to mention that the Cubs’ top prospect Kris Bryant, who finished the minor league season with a total of 43 home runs, is expected to be on the Major League roster by the end of next April.

    But, the train does not stop there.

    The Cubs are expected to be active in the off-season. Not active in the sense of trading away their valuable assets, but active in the sense of adding valuable assets to prepare for a return to contention. The Cubs are expected to pursue Oakland Athletics’ starting pitcher Jon Lester this winter and many expect Lester to sign with the team and reunite with Epstein.

    If Lester does sign with the Cubs, he could be the first pitcher to pitch in a semi-renovated Wrigley Field. The Cubs are expected to add two video boards this off-season as well as multiple signs including a Budweiser sign across the outfield.

    How you watch and listen to the Cubs will also change as well.

    Cubs games can no longer be heard on WGN Radio 720 AM. Beginning next season, the Cubs will be a part of CBS radio on WBBM 780 AM.

    As for how you watch the Cubs’ game, the Cubs opted out of their television contract with WGN. Meaning WGN”s portion of the Cubs’ games–a little less than half of their games–between the 2015 and the 2019 season are up for sale. It is expected that the Cubs will announce a new television contract for those games in the coming weeks.

    The times are changing for the Cubs. Change that should make the Cubs an exciting team to watch in 2015.