Chicago sports top ten moments of 2015

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Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Theo Epstein follows up last year’s offseason with another great one

The Chicago Cubs suffered through five straight seasons in last place in the National League Central.

Theo Epstein was at the helm for three of them.

Epstein, however, harped on doing things the “Cubs way” that would eventually bring success to the Northside of Chicago. He tore down the minor league system and built it back up. He got rid of bloated contracts.

No matter how bleak things looked, Epstein kept talking about the plan. He stuck to that plan, and eventually that plan started to come into focus.

The Cubs had a magical season in 2015 (more on that later). They reached the National League Championship Series, but ultimately fell four games short of making it to the World Series.

Epstein did not relax after the great season. The Cubs fell short of their goal, so Epstein, along with general manager Jed Hoyer, kept the plan in action.

Many thought the Cubs’ brain trust would throw money at the holes remaining on the team. They thought Epstein would break the bank and sign David Price, and perhaps some other pitchers as well.

Epstein stuck to the plan.

This team is not your father’s Chicago Cubs. They did not go out and do what was expected.

Epstein pried John Lackey from the hated St. Louis Cardinals. Lackey was one of the Cards’ best pitcher in 2015. He did not come at a hefty price, though. He signed for just two years and $32.5 million. Hurt the Cardinals and improve your rotation? Genius!

Then Epstein signed Ben Zobrist, a player who may probably start at second but one who can play just about anywhere on the field. The New York Mets, who eliminated the Cubs from the playoffs, were hot on his trail. Epstein improves his team and keeps another contender from getting better. Genius part two!

The icing on the cake was when Epstein actually spent a lot of money. He signed outfielder Jason Heyward. It was a smart move, however, as he spent $184 million on a player who is just 26 years of age. Even that amount was good, as Heyward had two offers on the table worth at least $200 million.

Again, Epstein improved his defense and blasted another hit on the Cardinals. Epstein got on a roll!

Of course, these moves do not guarantee a World Series. The team still needs to prove it on the field. What Epstein did, however, was put the Chicago Cubs in a position they rarely are in — title contenders. Las Vegas oddsmakers have them at 6-1 odds to win it all.

Whereas the Cubs entered 2015 as a question mark, because of the moves Theo Epstein did in the end of 2015, they are considered favorites.

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