Maddon, Lester Keys to Success in Chicago

Zach Piatt
Sports Editor

Are the CUBS for real? Are the CUBS going to make a run at the World Series? Being the huge Cubs fan I am, I certainly hope so.

With the acquisitions of manager Joe Maddon, starting pitcher Jon Lester and catcher Miguel Montero, the nobodies from the North Side are making a statement. I can hear it loud and clear. It says we want to win, and we want to win now.

When I found out Joe Maddon signed a five-year deal with the Cubs I was ecstatic. Maddon is entering his twelfth season as a big league manager and has a .517 career winning percentage, which is far better than any other Chicago manager since Lou Pinella in the late 2000s. Maddon also is 13-17 in the playoffs.

When the Cubs signed Jon Lester, I was bouncing off the walls. The former Red Sox pitcher and two time World Series champion agreed to a six-year $155 million contract earlier in the winter meetings, bolstering Chicago’s pitching rotation. Lester was the ace in both Boston and Oakland last season, and will undoubtedly be the guy in Chicago as well. The addition of Lester gives the Cubs more than five potential starting pitchers, which also gives more depth to their bullpen.

Chicago has needed a veteran catcher for a while now and Miguel Montero is just that. Montero hit .243 last year with 13 home runs and 72 RBI, good enough to earn a spot on the all-star team. Montero is entering his tenth season in the league, so he’ll definitely provide some experience behind the plate.

The Cubbies have been collecting young talent and building one of the best farm systems in baseball ever since Theo Epstein came to Chicago in 2012. Now these young guns from the minors are ready for the Bigs and I can’t wait to see how they perform.

Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Arismendy Alcantara and others were all brought up to the majors in the middle of last season and showed potential. Now that they have some major league at bats under their belt, they’re ready to start tearing up the league.

Probably the best of these young players isn’t even in the Bigs yet. Top prospect Kris Bryant will most likely be brought up to Chicago next season. If so, other teams better watch out.

The Cubbies are still led offensively by power hitting Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, both all stars last year. Throw in all their young talent, a deep pitching staff, and Joe Maddon at the helm, the Cubs are going to be a tough team to beat.

After years of jokingly saying, “There’s always next year,” it’s finally starting to get serious in Chicago. The CUBS are back.

 

 

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