Per a report, the Chicago Cubs became complacent after the 2016 World Series, in large part, due to Joe Maddon’s lack of detail and accountability.
When Anthony Rizzo caught the final out of the 2016 World Series, securing the Chicago Cubs‘ first title in 108 years, many believed that it was the beginning of several championships on the way. After all, the team was loaded with young talent under contract for the next several seasons. However, after coming up short in the 2017 NLCS, a disappointing end to the 2018 season, and a pathetic excuse for 2019, it signaled the end of Joe Maddon‘s tenure on the north side.
Reports surfaced that both Maddon and Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein, butted heads regarding how to best manage the team going forward. Maddon opted to have a more hands-on approach in 2019, but perhaps it was already too late. David Kaplan, of NBC Sports Chicago, spoke with MLB Sources, who indicated that the Cubs became “fat and lazy” after the 2016 World Series.
While a World Series hangover is not uncommon for most teams, the dropoff that the group had over the next three seasons was inexplicable. Kaplan believes that the Cubs lost a substantial amount of leadership when David Ross retired after the 2016 season. Luckily for them, he’s now their manager and plans to hold everyone accountable.
“It starts with every player coming into camp in better physical condition than they ever have been before,” said Kaplan. “The vibe at the recent Cubs Convention is that players are working exceptionally hard and it happened in concert with the player development, strength and conditioning staff that the Cubs have spent the past six months upgrading. Anthony Rizzo, for one, looked like he is in the best shape I remember him being in since he came to the Cubs.”
How many times have we heard players entering Spring Training in the best shape of their life? My point here is that the on-field results will ultimately determine if Maddon was indeed the issue. The Cubs have mostly had the same team over the last three seasons, and with names like Kris Bryant, Rizzo, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, and Kyle Schwarber featured in their lineup, there’s no reason that they shouldn’t be winning at least 90 games every year.
Bryant has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason, but the closer we get to Spring Training combined with the lack of a conclusion on his grievance hearing, it seems ever more likely that Bryant will be in a Cubs’ uniform for the 2020 season.