The pitching staff is great.
The lineup is darn near perfect.
The manager is one of the best in the business.
So why won’t the Cubs win the World Series this year?
I can’t give a good solid reason except my gut says this is not the year.
And I have a big gut.
Look, I think the Cubs are good enough to win 100 games this year, even in a division that has two strong teams in St. Louis and Pittsburgh.
I like the fact that so many young stars got a taste of the postseason last year and shouldn’t be awed by the experience this year.
On paper, this team is dynamite.
But on paper, the 2004 Cubs were built for the World Series, too, and that didn’t happen.
On paper, the Washington Nationals were supposed to mash all of the other baseball teams into the ground. That didn’t happen.
For some reason, I think the Cubs need one more year to win that ultimate prize. To steal a gimmick from the late Ernie Banks, the Cubs will be mean in 2017.
I think they will win the division and get knocked out by, gasp, Dusty Baker and the aforementioned Nationals. Like him or hate him, Baker has been pretty good lately on his first year on the job.
So, my predictions are:
NL Central champ: Cubs
NL East champ: Washington
NL West champ: San Francisco
Wild card teams: Pittsburgh and the New York Mets.
NL champ: Washington
AL Central champ: Kansas City
AL East champ: Toronto
AL West champ: Texas
Wild card teams: Boston, Tampa
AL champ: Toronto
World Series champ: Toronto
(subhead) What about the Sox?
I like, but don’t love the Sox and I think they will be in the mix with Cleveland and Detroit for second place but probably won’t qualify as a wild card team.
Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodon combined for 38 wins last year and if all three bump those totals up to 15-plus each, the team should be OK.
A lot of people love the signing of Todd Frazier and I am somewhat excited about it but I am always a little skittish when a lifetime National Leaguer comes to the Sox.
The Sox spent a lot of money during the offseason between 2014 and 2015 and the team finished with 76 wins. They tried to spend a little more wisely this past offseason and we will see where that will get them. I’m guessing 89 wins but no playoffs.