The Cubs terrific off season started with the hiring of Joe Maddon. While a baseball manager may not have as much impact on a game as a football or basketball coach, Maddon knows how to win and knows how to change a culture. Maddon won 90 or more games in five of the previous seven seasons in Tampa Bay and will turnaround the Cubs the same way he did the Rays.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY SportsMatt Marton
Talent Waiting In The Minors
Yes, there are only 25 players on the roster, but it's impossible to play an entire season with just 25 players. Should someone struggle or go down with injury, the Cubs farm system is loaded with talent. Headlined by Kris Bryant and Addison Russell, the Cubs have plenty of young studs in the farm system to retool throughout the season.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsMark J. Rebilas
Mix Of Young And Veteran Players
The youth movement in Chicago has garnered a lot of attention – and deservedly so – but the Cubs also has plenty of valuable veterans. Young talent is nice, but it's not always the easiest to win with as young players often have growing pains. To help overcome this, the Cubs have added some veterans to the roster this season. Lester is the most notable veteran addition, but Dexter Fowler, David Ross, Jason Hammel, Miguel Montero and Jason Motte will help as well.
Theo Epstein And Jed Hoyer
The Cubs rebuild began in October 2011 when Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were hired. The dynamic duo has had success reversing a curse before as they helped break the curse in Boston and they seem primed to do it again – this time in the Windy City.
USA TODAY SportsKyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Worst To First Has Happened Before
The Cubs struggled in 2014, but that was to be expected. The team finished strong last year which has helped fuel the hype for 2015 and despite a last place finish a season ago, winning the division in 2015 isn't far fetched. While going worst-to-first isn't easy, it's certainly more common than it used to be.
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Anthony Rizzo Said So
“We're going to win the NL Central. Quote me on that,” Rizzo told CBS Radio earlier in the off season. Is any explanation necessary? The Cubs are going to win the NL Central. Rizzo said it first.