I am not even kidding: I am very happy to see this.
After an end to the 2018 season that Jon Lester aptly described as “getting your dick knocked in the dirt,” an offseason that saw the organization mostly stand pat, and an offseason that saw most of the rest of the NL Central get much stronger, the Cubs are going to need the internal fortitude to bounce back and succeed at a high level in 2019.
They talk now about urgency after letting complacency set in? Good. Stick this up to the bulletin board as a reminder of where complacency gets you:
That’s the latest projected standings update from Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA system, which is by far the most down on the Cubs. You’ll otherwise see the Cubs projected in the 86 to 89 win range, which, eyeballing it, feels more right to me.
Still, the reality is that this is a very tough division, and the Cubs, for all their talent, do have risk exposure in all phases of the game. Do I think it’s likely they finish with a sub-.500 record? Lulz no. But do I think they are a lock to win the Central? Also lulz no.
So, whatever it takes. Start the “nobody believes in us” rallying cry. I don’t even care if it’s hacky and based on but one projection system. Let all the players and coaches and front office see this, and then go do your thing. I’d still bet on the Cubs’ collection of talent, in the end, above the other four teams in the division.