Reason 2: Cubs will get key pieces back from injury
One thing that was impressive about the 2018 Cubs was the fact that they were able to still win 95 games despite a plethora of injuries throughout the year. There were some guys that were playing hurt, while others were shelved for the majority of the season.
The Cubs made big news last offseason when they signed pitcher Yu Darvish to a six-year, $126 million contract. It was one of the biggest free agent signings of the last offseason, and it was supposed to pay immediate benefits to the Cubs. Of course, that didn’t happen.
Darvish dealt with a variety of arm problems all season. He was first diagnosed with triceps tendinitis, and later with a stress reaction to his right elbow when he tried to return in August.
Darvish underwent an arthroscopic elbow procedure in September and is expected to be ready for spring training. While it is encouraging, there’s a still plenty of concern that Darvish won’t be able to make it through the entirety of the 2019 season.
Another Cubs player who was often at less than 100 percent last season was third baseman Kris Bryant. Bryant dealt with a left shoulder injury all season and even changed his swing to try and take some stress off of his arm.
Bryant apparently is all good now and is back to his old swing and workout regimen. I still remain skeptical that he’s totally healthy, but I’m hoping he can return to his 2016 NL MVP form.
Cubs closer Brandon Morrow isn’t so lucky as he’ll most likely begin the season on the DL with an arm injury. Morrow had a surgery in November that’s similar to the one Darvish had in August. The Cubs will need to look for relief help in his absence.