Theo Epstein & Jed Hoyer made it clear during exit meetings
For a Cubs team that won 95 games in 2018, 3 consecutive NLCS runs, a World Series in 2016 & has been playoff bound yearly since 2015, things are not all good in Wrigleyville. The belief is still there and guys are looking to up their output from last season. No extension for skipper Joe Maddon...a few new policies implemented by the front office...Ian Happ starting the season in the minors...EVERYONE is on notice!
I talked with Carl Edwards Jr. opening day eve. He said he's "extremely ready to go" and his main focus this offseason was to get out of his head and just focus on being more consistent in the strike zone. He also mentioned a personal goal of his is to make the all-star team & he thinks Jason Heyward & Kyle Schwarber are going to have their best seasons in Cubby blue!
As we get ready for another 162 games in 186 days (not including the All Star Game) below is my swift synopsis of the squad! (To hell with Pecota)
#BossMen Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer- Yall are my guys and know what's best for the squad....but yall are tripping! (Joe Maddon contract)
#UncleJoe Joe Maddon- continue to lead your troops...a World Series title & 3 straight trips to the NLCS in 4 years says enough!
#KBTheNatural Kris Bryant- completely healthy...i already know how thirsty you are to show the haters that they are just that...HATERS!
#ELMago Javier Baez- don't let up and continue to play the game with that ultra flair...take a few more walks and it's definitely an MVP season!
#BigFolks Anthony Rizzo- the consummate pro...last year was your first in the last 5 where you didn't reach 30 hrs...back to biz!
#TheVet Ben Zobrist- I see back to back .300 batting average seasons...UTILITY is your middle name!
#ILLWILL Willson Contreras- back to the basics my boy....keep that natural energy of yours, don't overthink it and do what you did to get you here!
#BamBam Kyle Schwarber- cut those K numbers down a bit & keep growing as a left fielder...this will be your best year as a Cub! (I agree with CJ)
#ALJr Albert Almora- with Happer starting the season down...the middle is all yours..hit those righties consistently & it's your world!
#JHey Jason Heyward- always top notch defensively in right field and your #'s at the plate have improved yearly...this HAS TO BE THE YEAR!
#VC Victor Caratini- there's a reason the front office has a 25 year old backup catcher instead of a wily veteran....keep growing!
#MyBoy David Bote- an opening day start says a lot about the belief...make it happen jack!
#MarkZ Mark Zagunis- a great spring training leads to an opening day start...you're official now!
#DoubleD Daniel Descalso- as a former NL Central guy your versatility will be key when guys need a day off, injury, etc...add some of that veteran knowledge to the clubhouse!
#Happer Ian Happ- don't trip...lighten up a little and put that necessary work in down low and come back with a vengeance!
#TheAce Jon Lester- your makeup says it all...the competitive nature/spirit lives in you entering season 14...looking forward to another stellar year on the hill!
#PoetryInMotion Kyle Hendricks- a 2.87 ERA over the last 3 seasons is very special and the 4 year extension was well deserved for an even better guy than pitcher...continue to show and prove!
#Q Jose Quintana- definitely looking to see how implementing the changeup more into the repertoire can add to your savvy on the mound...going deep into the games will be key!
#Yuuu Yu Darvish- you say you have the best stuff of your life right now....25+ starts and this should be a magical season...I have 126 million reasons to believe!
#ClarkKent Cole Hamels- that 2.36 ERA in 12 starts last year was church but eating up innings & getting deep into the game is key this season...nothing more nothing less!
#IceMike #CJ #Stropie #Kintzler #Brach #Chatwood #Cishek #Rosario #Morrow aka The Pen- one of the most effective pens in 2018 with a 3.35 ERA...refreshed arms/minds and less usage will lead to better health & killer finishes late in the game!
I think the guys have a renewed focus. Knowing that the belief of the problems/solutions being inside of the clubhouse and the front office feeling no need to look too far outside of that speaks volumes. With a tweak here and there, there should be some magic happening in 2019. HOWEVER....EVERYONE is on notice!