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Cubs looking for more success

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs took a extended, challenging appear at on their own about the wintertime.

There was nowhere else to go.

Chicago commences spring coaching with mostly the same team of gamers who blew a five-game guide in the NL Central previous September and misplaced to Colorado in 13 innings in the wild card game. On consecutive October times at Wrigley Discipline, the Cubs watched as Milwaukee celebrated its acquire in the tiebreaker for the division title and then the Rockies put a bow on the disappointing end for the 2016 Globe Series champions.

“When something’s taken from you there — I believe we deserved to retain likely, we had a great yr — that condition of hungriness and that operate ethic even lights up a larger hearth in the offseason,” heart fielder Albert Almora Jr. explained. “So it is a great time, it is a great time to be us and we’re psyched to go.”

The Cubs manufactured 3 consecutive appearances in the NLCS prior to they faltered previous yr. But they had been significantly peaceful the earlier couple months, being away from the marquee totally free agents since of budget constraints.

Chicago’s major shift may well have been the 1 it didn’t make. Supervisor Joe Maddon did not obtain a deal extension, sending him into the ultimate yr of his recent deal with an unsure long term.

What will come next most probable will be up to the core of baseball’s winningest workforce due to the fact 2015.

“This is as challenging as I have ever worked in an offseason,” president of baseball functions Theo Epstein explained. “The benefits in conditions of adding gamers aren’t there, but we believe we have completed a great deal of great powering the scenes to study some classes from previous yr and consider to put our very best foot ahead.”

The Cubs’ pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, Arizona, on Wednesday, and the to start with total-squad training is Feb. 18.

New appear

Brad Brach and Tony Barnette be a part of a Cubs bullpen that finished with a 3.35 Period previous yr, second in the majors powering Houston. Brach posted a 1.52 Period in 27 appearances immediately after he was traded from Baltimore to Atlanta on July 30. Barnette went 2- with a 2.39 Period in 22 online games for Texas.

Justin Wilson and Jesse Chavez remaining in totally free company, and Brandon Morrow is anticipated to begin the yr on the disabled listing although he performs his way back again from arthroscopic surgical procedure on his proper elbow. Pedro Strop, who went 6-1 with a 2.26 Period and 13 saves previous time, probable will fill in at closer although Morrow is out.

Rookies to observe

Chicago’s knowledgeable roster will make it tricky for any rookie to make a lot of an influence this yr, but retain an eye on proper-hander Adbert Alzolay. The 23-yr-old Alzolay missed a lot of previous time with a strained muscle. He could make his significant league debut out of the bullpen if the Cubs have to have some relief assistance this summer time.

They are established

Anthony Rizzo continues to be a steady existence, furnishing regular generation at to start with foundation and valuable management in the clubhouse. The slugger got off to a gradual get started previous yr but recovered in time to end with a .283 batting typical, 25 homers and 101 RBIs. He has pushed in at minimum 101 operates in every single of the earlier four seasons.

They are not

The outfield is a blended bag, and how it shakes out could have a large influence on Chicago’s time. Ian Happ strike just .233 with 167 strikeouts in 142 online games previous yr, using a move back again immediately after his promising rookie marketing campaign.

A lighter, far more healthy Kyle Schwarber was a lot improved defensively, and just Alright at the plate. Albert Almora Jr. batted .227 with a .245 on-foundation percentage in his ultimate 34 online games previous time.

Jason Heyward also struggled down the stretch previous yr. The Cubs have to have a couple of their outfielders to discover one more stage in 2019.

On deck

The Cubs begin the time at Texas on March 28. Following a 9-game street vacation, they host Pittsburgh in their house opener on April 8.

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