Peter Shaw, Shaw Media trustee, corporate strategy coordinator
Spring is in the air, and baseball free agency mega millions are flying around – well, not for the Chicago Cubs this offseason.
Honestly, as a Cubs fan, I’m good with that. Would I have been upset to have Bryce Harper on the Cubs? No, but I never thought the Cubs' 2019 season would hinge on who was brought in from the outside.
I basically feel the same about the Chicago Bears upcoming football season – sure there will be some new pieces, but the most meaningful changes will come from the health and improved play of those already on the roster. Last year saw consistent and unfortunate injuries to Cubs players from all types of roster spots, and even with that, they still battled their way into a playoff berth.
This winter I read somewhere that the best offseason move the Cubs could make was trading 2018 Kris Bryant for 2016 Kris Bryant. In other words, improvement must come from within (both hitting and pitching).
I am excited for the 2019 Cubs. They are a team with a lot to prove to themselves. They are a team with a ton of young veteran talent that could be in line for some of those mega millions shortly. However, they are a team that knows next year is meaningless; this year is all there is. Go, Cubs, go!
Pam Eggemeier, SVM editorial page editor
I, too, am a Chicago Cubs fanatic – there are a few of those in the Sauk Valley Media office.
In early February, the metrics geeks at Baseball Prospectus annoyed Cubs fans everywhere by predicting that our heroes would win only 80 games in 2019 and finish dead-last in the National League Central division.
Now while I don't put too much weight on the geeks' predictions, the Cubs will have to step it up this year. The case could be made that the NL Central was the best in baseball last year, and it will likely be even better in 2019.
I expect the Cubs to come back and win this division that the Milwaukee Brewers stole from them last season. The Cardinals spent some money in free agency and I expect them to vault past the Brewers this season and give the Cubs a run for their money. The Cincinnati Reds, who the Cubs play 19 times this season, have made some nice additions in the offseason – many of them ex-Dodgers. The Pittsburgh Pirates will probably finish last, but they have a solid pitching staff and a lot of young, developing offensive talent.
The Cubs didn't make a huge splash in free agency, but the argument can be made that they didn't have to. Bounceback seasons by guys like Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras, and avoiding the injury bug should be enough to carry this team back into the playoffs. The team has clearly decided that its top priority is saving money this year to keep some of its young roster intact, as it will be time for their big paydays.
The way last season ended left a horrible taste in the mouths of Cubs fans. The only way to get rid of it is to get back on the field – and I can't wait for that to happen on March 28 against the Texas Rangers. The Wrigley Field opener is against the Pirates on April 8.
Regardless of who you root for, enjoy your opener – it's one of those special days that make adults feel like a kid again.