Chicago Cubs: Crucial Storylines for the 2012 Season

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Chicago Cubs: Crucial Storylines for the 2012 Season
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

This is about the time of the year when baseball fans are budding with anticipation for the upcoming season. Spring training is nearly here, and with MLB's decision to add even more playoff teams to the mix, franchises on the cusp of contention have even more to be excited about.

I still doubt that it adds to the hope of many Chicago-based fans. When it comes to the Cubs and White Sox this season, some are postulating it's much more of a race to the basement.

The Cubs are coming off a more-than-forgettable 71-win campaign, and their offseason of small acquisitions while dumping as many contracts as possible is well-documented. We can skip over the loss of Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Pena and Sean Marshall, all of whom were above-average to great players on a team that still couldn't buy wins. With those pieces leaving, the Cubs and their fanbase may have to dig deep to find the silver lining in what is shaping up to be quite the long year.

They have made savvy moves, that are long-awaited earnest steps towards creating a new and lasting way of contention. This still doesn't change the struggles that 2012 will bring.

While hope appears justifiably dim, there are a few stories that will certainly bear watching. Some of these tales have enough merit to make a serious impact this season. If everything falls just right, things could certainly fall into place for the team.

It's a heck of a lot of dice rolls to go in the favor of the team, as it's clear that the management is building for 2013 and beyond. It remains my duty as a fan to at least stay optimistic before game one, so, here goes nothing.

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