This is a guest post by Ryan Holman. Ryan runs Fresh Sports Takes, a sports blog covering all major Pro and Collegiate sports.
Top of the 9th, down by three runs, on the brink of having a Game 5 forced in the NLDS by the Giants. Four runs scored off 5 relievers in the same inning changed everything for the Cubs. In a single instant, they went from watching others become Champions, to being on their way to becoming the Champions. After one of the most intense and significant World Series in history, only one question remains: Will they become a dynasty?
The most recent dynasties are the Yankees and the Giants. The Yankees won 4 titles in 5 years in the years 1996, ‘98, ‘99 and 2000. The Giants won 3 titles in 5 years in 2010, ‘12 and ‘14. The even year magic was the dynasty that some thought would bring down the Cubs in one of their most promising years yet. Instead, the Cubs won the best of five NLDS against the Giants 3-1. Maybe it is fitting that the Cubs beat the dynasty that was potentially still in progress in order to launch their own. Maybe, just maybe, the end of the curse was all that was needed to launch a series of titles.
Where the Cubs Stand:
2016 brought out a 103-58 record, good for the best in the league. They dominated the regular season with stellar pitching across the rotation from arms such as Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, John Lackey, and led by Cy Young finalists Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks. They took hold of the league on the offensive side with 808 runs scored, good for 3rd best in all of MLB. Third basemen Kris Bryant slugged his way into MVP consideration, which gets announced Thursday, November 17th. They will not lose many of their top players either. In fact, they actually have the ability to add on due to a potentially increased salary budget from the postseason commercial revenue.
How the Cubs Can Keep Their Team Together to Go on a Run:
The Cubs need to keep their rotation strong and maintain their three core arms for as long as possible (Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta). With those three playing at a high level, they almost automatically become contenders. If they want to truly be top contenders every year, they’ll need to hold on to their core offense in Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, and potentially Dexter Fowler. It wouldn’t hurt to keep Ben Zobrist locked up until he gets older and starts declining, either. They already have the talent to win multiple championships, the question now is can they hold onto it and help them grow as players.
The Cubs had a shaky bullpen outside of Aroldis Chapman in the final postseason stretch. They might not get so lucky as to win the World Series when in the same situation again. To have their best shot at winning more World Series and becoming a dynasty, they’ll need to develop a stronger bullpen.
If the Cubs lock up their core young players and starting arms, as well as develop their bullpen, they will stay top contenders for the next few to several years. After the 2015 and 2016 postseasons, they now have the postseason experience to help them in their quest for a dynasty. Don’t count out the Cubs, because before you know it they might just have a few championships under their resume. With Joe Maddon at the helm, that ship will not get steered wrong anytime soon.
Only time will tell if the Cubs have what it takes to go on at least two more historic runs to make it a dynasty. Yet one thing is clear, they currently have a better chance than anyone to achieve this rare feat, and they are not going away anytime soon.
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