The #Chicago Cubs had one of the best offenses in baseball last year and they did it without stealing a ton of bases. In fact, the team only stole 66 bases and the roster isn't built in a way that is going to lead to more this year. Joe Maddon certainly understands why the team is built the way it is and he understands how it was built. He also thinks the rest of the league fully understands this isn't a group that is going to be stealing a ton of bases. The good news, is the team won't need to steal a ton of bases to be successful offensively.
12 is the returning team lead
The Chicago Cubs attempted to steal so little, their team leader a year ago had all of 13. That was Dexter Fowler, who has taken those 13 stolen bases and headed out of town, to division rival St. Louis. The returning leader is Javy Baez, who recorded 12 steals a year ago. After him comes Jason Heyward with 11. It's possible that Baez will continue to grow and develop and 20 steals might not be out of the realm of possibility. Heyward too, could see more steals if he can actually get on base a bit more this season. Still, even if both of those players steal 30 bases, the rest of the team is simply not going to be running all that much.
The round peg conundrum
While some other managers might take a look at Baez and Heyward and try and make the two players steal more, that's not the M.O. of the Chicago Cubs or Joe Maddon. When talking to the Chicago Tribune over the weekend, Maddon made it clear he's not going to be pushing the team to steal more just to wrack up more steals. "I don’t like trying to put the round peg in the square hole," Maddon told the paper. "It just doesn’t make any sense. I think we can be situational. There are certain guys you can force to attempt it with. For me, if the guy is a really good pitcher you’re facing, and you’re just not going to get three, four, five hits in a row, and there might be a breaking ball situation in the dirt, maybe their catcher is a little bit below average, that might be a situation you take a chance." With that kind of approach, the team will be making smart base running choices, but won't be stealing a bucketful of bases.