Chicago Cubs: 5 Reasons Cubs Will Be Back in 2012
The Chicago Cubs are an organization that has been dramatically changed in the past few months.
Gone are the coaches, executives and star players such as Aramis Ramirez and Sean Marshall. They have all been replaced in hopes of taking the Cubs to unfamiliar territories (otherwise known as the World Series).
Theo Epstein has stressed the club is building for the future and most fans believe it will be years before the Cubs are a contender.
But what if there is no need to wait?
Is it possible the Cubs make the most of 2012?
Here are five reasons it isn't entirely impossible Chicago finds success this season.
No One Else Steps Up
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The Central Division has been depleted of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. Their departures have ultimately made the division tougher and it won't be easy for any club to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
What if it is the Cubs?
Anything is possible, especially when the other lineups have grown weaker and rotations are unstable.
They may not have the best chance, but the Cubs do have a good chance to shine over the Central's other teams.
Starlin Castro Will Get Better
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Starlin Castro is the face of the Cubs and he should be. The 21-year-old was an All-Star last year and hit .307 last year while playing every day for Chicago.
The sky is the limit for Castro. If he gets better, the club will get better.
I believe he will become an even better player, which is great news for the Cubbie faithful. His offseason issues can be used as motivation for the year. Castro, with something to prove, would be extremely dangerous.
Can Castro mature and help the Cubs back to playoff contention?
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With all of the front office changes comes hope.
Since Theo Epstein's arrival in Chicago, Cubs fans have been ecstatic about the future and what this team will have to offer on the diamond for many years to come.
Perhaps the new sense of hope running through the winds of Chicago can boost the Cubs to a successful season
The Cubs will have the underdog label all season and that could drive them to disappoint the baseball world.
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Matt Garza has escaped a flurry of trade rumors this winter and Chicago will be glad they didn't deal him.
The Cubs' ace agreed to a $9.5 million deal through arbitration and will once again be the bright spot in a shaky rotation.
If Chicago is going to find any kind of success in 2012, Garza will need to be electric.
It's hard to imagine Garza not having a better year than last, a year in which he went 10-10 and posted a 3.32 ERA on an awful Cubs squad.
Expect bigger and better things from the hurler in this new campaign.
Couldn't Be Worse
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The Chicago Cubs couldn't possibly have a worse season than 2011. Could they?
I'd like to think not.
Although the bat of Aramis Ramirez is in Milwaukee now and the team traded their best reliever in Sean Marshall, Chicago probably won't drop off from a 71-91 record.
Under new manager Dale Sveum, the Cubs will show hustle we never saw while the team was under Mike Quade. One of the biggest issues with the team in 2011 was some of the players blatantly being lazy or unaware.
It's a new era in Chicago. Let's hope they start it off with success.
Steven Conklin is a contributing writer for the Bleacher Report and a student at the University of Central Missouri. He joined B/R in October 2011 and is currently a B/R intern. Any comments, questions or suggestions are more than welcome.