Who can or will stop the Chicago Cubs this season? That’s a good question, and the only real answer is… the Cubs themselves.
As of this blog, the 2016 Cubs are 25-6, the best record in MLB, and at a break neck pace to break the record that the 1906 Cubs set, and the 2001 Seattle Mariners matched for wins in a season at 116. The Cubs are projecting an insane 130 wins… that’s .800 ball! The 1906 team didn’t win the World Series, but the 1907 Cub team did, and started that season 24 -6 same as this year’s 2016 team did.
To be perfectly honest this Cubs team has a super human feel to it, a feel that they can’t lose, similar to the 2011 or 2014 Brewers. Being a life long Brewer fan, and covering their games for the media it’s the best personal frame of reference I have. Going into those games those seasons, one, just had the feeling no matter the score, after the 3rd out in the ninth the Brewers would have another one in the win column. The same “feel” as the 2016 Cubs so far.
Through the first 29 games of this season the Cubs have outscored their opponents by over 100 runs, they are the first team to accomplish that feat that quickly, since the 1902 Pirates.
So how can a team with dominant pitching that only allows on average 2.73 runs a game, while scoring an average of 6.13 runs a game, NOT, be World Champions at the end of the season? Simple…by trying to fix something that isn’t broke. Honestly, the only weak spot is in left field where the Cubs lost Kyle Schwarber only 3 games into this year’s campaign after he tore his ACL and LCL in his left knee. The Cubs are presently platooning left field with Jorge Soler, and Ryan Kalish, who are hitting .181, and .400 respectively (Kalish’s average based on only 5 games, and 5 ab)… the Cubs are maintaining.
Enter Ryan Braun…That’s right, Ole’ #8, who is no stranger to left field, playing the position 7 of his 10 seasons for the Brewers. Braun could get dealt by the August 1st deadline if things go “south” for the North Siders. The 6 time All-Star, 2007 Rookie of the Year and 2011 N.L. MVP could fill an offensive hole as the new left fielder for the Cubs. Can you just imagine an outfield with, Braun, Fowler, and Heyward in it? Scary!
Braun is presently hitting .368, with a OPS of .435, and slugging .607 which would definitely make a splash for the Cubs.
First, Braun has a no trade contingency with the Cubs, something he would have to waive. Second, the Brewers would have to think long and hard about letting the long time “face” of the organization go to a division rival.
Let’s say the trade does materialize… are the Cubs ready to give up their three best prospects to win now? If the Brewers trade Braun to Chicago they HAVE TO show NO MERCY and go after the Cubs TOP prospects! Not draft picks… prospects (Gleybar Torres – SS, Wilson Contreras – C, and Ian Happ- 2B/OF), and if the Cubs think Braun could put them over the edge, then the ball would be back in their court.
One more thing that the Cubs need to consider, and it may be the most important factor so as they don’t self-destruct… CHEMISTRY. Would Braun’s personality mesh with the Cubs players? Are there any Cubs that have resentment to Braun’s suspension the second half of the 2013 season? How would the club react to opposing fans who still hold a PED grudge? The Cubs are beloved across the nation (like the Packers in the NFL), so how would the club handle the new found negativity on the road when they are not used to it, and it’s all because of their new left fielder?
Will the Braun renewed offense be worth it to a team that hasn’t won it all in over a century, and haven’t made an appearance in the “Fall Classic” in half a century? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.