It was only three seasons ago that Cubs fans were on cloud nine. They defeated the Cleveland Indians in seven games in the World Series to win their first title in 108 years. The Jason Heyward speech, "Try Not to Suck", all the remnants of a memorable Cubs season transpired to euphoria for the north side fans. Now, the Cubs have taken a sky dive from grace, losing nine straight en route to missing the playoffs.
So what happened? Certain additions to the team (Craig Kimbrel) haven't panned out. Certain prospects (Albert Almora, Jr.) haven't lived up to expectations. A certain manager (Joe Maddon) has been heavily questioned for his lineups by fans. It doesn't help that the rotation has shown its age a bit, as made evident by Jon Lester's down year and Cole Hamels and Jose Quintana's deterioration. Nick Castellanos and Nico Hoerner helped for a bit, but couldn't remedy the problems plaguing the Cubs.
Cubs fans should be fortunate that Theo Epstein plans on sticking around, especially with all the Red Sox rumors flying around. However, Epstein and his crew have to contemplate whether to start from scratch again with players like Kris Bryant and Javier Baez looking to get paid. Another question to be asked is, "who will replace Joe Maddon?" Many people point to Joe Girardi as the obvious answer. After all, he's from the area. However, Epstein has a penchant for promoting from within. Therefore, it could be Mark Loretta. Whatever the case is, this summer's going to be an interesting one for Cubs fans.
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