Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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It seems like just yesterday that pitchers and catchers were reporting to spring training. All the nerds were gearing up for their fantasy baseball season…then we blinked and the season is half over. Baseball has the longest season but seems to pass by us faster than any other sport. The NBA plays half as many games, but every year I find myself praying for the talk radio guys to shut up about the playoffs.
Anyhow, at the time I wrote this post, the Cubs had a record of 42-51, were 15 games out of first in the NL Central, and had a winning percentage of .452 (these numbers could all be better or worse by the time this baby posts). However, they are not the worst team in baseball, or even the worst team in their division. The Milwaukee Brewers currently stand at last place in the NL Central with a record of 38-56. The Houston Astros are the worst in baseball with a record of 33-61.
The Cubs are in the middle of a painful rebuilding process that is being “masterminded” by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. It looks to be a rough second half for the north siders, but there will be some bright spots. That said, here are some “bold” predictions for the rest of the Cubs’ season.
- The Cubs will finish above .500 for the season. This may be the bravest prediction on this list, but it could very well happen. The Cubs were 6-4 in the ten games before the All Star Break and there’s no reason why they can’t keep that momentum going. The only pitcher they stand to lose is Matt Garza, so the rest of the rotation should be okay. The offense is beginning to produce a little more consistently as well. Finishing above .500 will indeed be a team effort, but they can pull it off.
- Matt Garza will be traded before the trade deadline. Realistically, this trade will probably happen before the weekend is out. The Texas Rangers have been in deep discussions with the Cubs to make this trade happen. It’s only a matter of time before Garza is heading to Arlington.
- Alfonso Soriano will be a Cub for the rest of the season. Soriano is playing well, but his big contract will stay in Chicago. If I’m wrong, I’ll be shocked. More on him a little later…
- Nate Schierholtz will be traded by the deadline. In reality, I’m really sticking my neck out on this prediction. Yes the Cubs are a little thin in the outfield right now and Schierholtz has been slumping a bit lately, but the Cubs can build effectively by trading him because his contract has another year on it. That extra year really drives up the asking price for a player who is producing like he has been this season.
- Kevin Gregg will be traded. As shocked as I have been by Gregg’s success this year, I will be more shocked if he is still a Cub by season’s end, or even by the trade deadline. Teams that are making playoff runs need closers and teams that are trying to quietly end a rough season do not. End of story.
- Alfonso Soriano will hit over 40 home runs by the end of the season. Right now, Soriano has 19 dingers on the year, so I don’t think that beating his first half total by two is that big of a stretch. Every Cub fan should be rooting for this to happen because every home run he hits makes him that much more attractive to AL teams looking for a DH for next season.
There you have it, my “bold” predictions for the remainder of the Cubs’ season. So sit back, relax, and let’s see if any of them actually happen.