After winning their first World Series in 108 years, the Cubs have got to be feeling a sense of relief. In years gone by, even if the Cubs had a great team, there was always a sense of impending doom. As a Cubs fan, not only was it great to see the Cubs end their drought, the way they ended it was a bonus. Coming back from a 3-1 deficeit in the World Series signaled the dawn of a new era. The Cubs are poised to be a World Series threat for years to come.

The pitching is good, but maybe not as good as last year

Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey form a solid front four in the starting rotation.

Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery figure to compete for the fifth slot. It’s possible that both Anderson and Montgomery will see time in the Cubs rotation if the Cubs use a six man rotation as they did part of last season. While the Cubs starting pitching looks solid, they were fortunate to be very healthy last year, that can’t be counted on this season. In addition, part of Jon Lester’s great success last season can be attributed to Grandpa Ross. With the retirement of Ross it will be interesting to see how much Lester is affected.

Aroldis Chapman is gone, but Wade Davis is on hand to fill the void. Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop were effective for a good part of last season, but were felled by injuries late in the season and Cubs manger, Joe Maddon, avoided them like I avoid gyms in the World Series.

In addition, Swiss army knife, Travis Wood, will be missed.

Davis Ross is gone, but not forgotten

Catching: David Ross will be sorely missed, but the cupboard isn’t bare. Willson Contreras is one of the best young catchers in the game, but he’s a bat first guy. Still, his determination and physical tools should make him a star.

The biggest question is how he’ll interact with Jon Lester. Miguel Montero is considered a good receiver, albeit with a weak throwing arm. He’s coming off a bad year at the plate, but had some big postseason hits. Kyle Schwarber could catch an occasional game, but his repaired knee makes that iffy.

And the award for the best infield in baseball goes to ....

This is the best infield in baseball. It might be the best infield I’ve ever seen. And it very well could get better. Third Baseman, Kris Bryant was last year’s MVP and is only getting better. Shortstop, Addison Russell, has a great glove, hits with power, and is a big RBI guy. Second baseman/outfielder Ben Zobrist, while slowing down in the field is still an excellent offensive player. His stats, while good, underestimate his value. He’s a clutch hitter who sees a lot of pitches and consistently gets great at bats. First baseman, Anthony Rizzo, is a power hitter and great on base guy who, by the way, is a great glove man. Plus, he’s in his prime.

Super sub, Javy Baez, provides gold glove caliber defense at second or third, and is also an excellent shortstop. At the plate he has great power, and, while still plagued by a lack of discipline at the plate on occasion, isgetting better.

Fowler is gone, but the Cubs outfield should be fine.

Dexter Fowler will be missed at the top of the Cubs lineup, but Albert Almora will be a defensive upgrade in center. John Jay will apparently share center with Almora. Kyle Schwarber looks to have a full season in left field. If he’s healthy, he looks to be a 30-40 homerun guy with good on base skills. Plus, he also shows up big in clutch situations. In right field, Jason Heyward will almost certainly have a better year at the plate.

The worst case scenario with Heyward is he’s a weak bat with excellent base running skills and a gold glove. If he returns to form with the stick, he’ll be one of the best outfielders in the game.

And the bottom line is...

It’s hard to see this team missing the playoffs. The Cubs are the favorites to win the 2017 World Series.

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