Chicago Cubs players to watch this season
The Chicago Cubs' front office won't admit they are in a rebuild, but why rob fans of the thrill of coming out of a rebuild?
Driving the news: This offseason, the Cubs added firepower to their lineup and bolstered their starting rotation in the hope of chasing down the Cardinals and Brewers in the NL Central.
- David Ross may actually have a sneaky-good lineup with All-Star Ian Happ, Nico Hoerner and Seiya Suzuki returning. Also, Marcus Stroman will take the mound Thursday.
New arrivals: Former Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson signed a multimillion-dollar deal in the offseason. Former Dodger Cody Bellinger is looking to reclaim his MVP form, and starting pitcher Jameson Taillon joins the rotation.
- Also, journeymen Trey Mancini and Eric Hosmer.
Familiar faces gone: Two World Series heroes depart in Jason Heyward and Willson Contreras. Contreras is now playing for ... ahem, never mind.
- Their departures leave Kyle Hendricks as the last link to the 2016 Cubs.
Pick to click: The Cubs expect big things from young starting pitcher Justin Steele.
Up-and-comers: Hayden Wesneski will start the season in the Cubs rotation.
- But slugger Matt Mervis will not.
The bottom line: The Cubs have a chance to compete in a weak division, but realistically they are a year or two away from getting back to glory.
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