2011 Record: 71-91 5th in NL Central
Pythagorean Record: 70-92
Games out of first: 25
In 2011, the Cubs took a step back both on and off the field. The Cubs couldn't find consistency and some clubhouse distractions harmed them, most notably the Carlos Zambrano debacle. On an hot, steamy night in Atlanta, on August 12, Carlos Zambrano exploded, after giving up 8 earned runs in 4.1 innings. He cleared out his locker and claimed he was retiring. After retracting his comments, the Cubs put him on the 30-day disqualified list and on September 2nd, the Cubs announced he wouldn't pitch again. There were some bright spots however. Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez both enjoyed steady seasons, while Starlin Castro continued to improve and become one of the better young stars in the game.
Top WAR preformers:
1. Aramis Ramirez2. Kosuke Fukudome
3. Starlin Castro
4. Carlos Pena
5. Geovany Soto
The Cubs made some big off season moves, most importantly, they got Theo Epstein from Boston to serve as President of Baseball Operations. Jed Hoyer became their GM from San Diego (why would anybody leave San Diego for Chicago?), and Dale Sveum was hired as their manager. Carlos Zambrano was traded to Miami, and Anthony Rizzo was aquired from San Diego. The Cubs also added pitching depth. Some big subtractions include young lefty Sean Marshall going to division-rival Cincinnati, as well as Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez leaving in Free Agency.
RF David DeJesus
2B Darwin Barney
SS Starlin CastroCF Marlon Byrd
1B Bryan LaHair
1B Bryan LaHair
C Geovany Soto
LF Alfonso Soriano
3B Ian Stewart
I still think there's a chance for Matt Garza to be traded in Spring Tranining, and Travis Wood will be interesting to watch. He's shown potential before and it will be interesting to see how he does in the Windy City. Marlon Byrd will be a player to watch this year, as will Starlin Castro to see how his growth will continue.
It will be interesting to see how the new look Cubs will do in 2012. The leadership of Aramis Ramirez has gone North to Milwaukee, and the distraction of Zambrano is now in South Florida. Cubs fans are expecting Epstein to bring a championship to Chicago, but in reality, it's going tro take some time. The Cubs need to rebuild and retool, and might not contend until 2014 or 2015.
Finish: 5th in NL Central
MVP: Starlin Castro
They won't make much noise in 2012, but there is promise on the horizion and for Cubs fans, a little bit of rebuilding could be lead to a memorable era in Cubs baseball.