The 2017 season is not even a month old, but people are asking who are potential threats to the Cubs going repeating as World Series champions. It has been nearly 20 years since a team has repeated as World Series champions and I argue the competition will be stiffer.
Some of the potential teams that could pose a threat include the Los Angeles Dodgers as people may remember they were leading the Cubs 2-1 in the championship series before the Cubs took off. “They’re developing a powerhouse out there,” said team president Theo Epstein. “They’ve got a ton of resources. Andrew and his whole team are really bright and we see them as a team we have to go through year to year.”
The Dodgers have a ton of money and talent including Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, pitcher Julio Urias along with stud Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig. The best part of this from the Dodgers stand point is that all of these players are still in their prime years. However, the Dodgers are off to a sluggish start, starting under .500 almost one month into the season. The Dodgers surprised me the most out of any team last season, considering they lost Zach Greinke and the names in the starting rotation besides Kershaw did not really stand out.
The next potential team that could overtake the Cubs in 2017 are the Cleveland Indians. One of their key guys the tribe missed all of 2016 and could have made the difference was Michael Brantley, left-fielder. Add to that, the Indians got Edwin Encarnacion from the Blue Jays and will add to a line-up that should score runs on a consistent basis. The Indians have some unfinished business to do and look for that sense of urgency to be there, assuming they make it to October.
One team that has so much to prove in 2017 are the Washington Nationals, the expectations have been sky-high for a few years, but while they have been in the playoffs, they have not been able to advance past the division series. If the Nationals win their division and I think they should, considering the competition in that division is not real impressive, look out for the Nationals because if they make the playoffs, there will be a sense of urgency to win this year.
I am not going to predict anything in April, but I would not be surprised to see a Cubs-Red Sox World Series in 2017. The Sox got Chris Sale from the White Sox and he has not disappointed. In 37.2 innings pitched, his ERA is not even 1.25, which is better than his career ERA of 2.94. He is an intimidating at-bat and the Red Sox are going to ride on #41 to go as far as he can help take them. Even with David Ortiz retiring, the Red Sox offense will make pitchers throw pitches, as many Sox games end up being 4 hours or more.
One of the most difficult accomplishments in any sport is to repeat as champions, the league knows the Cubs and the game is all about adjustments. What will largely determine whether the Cubs repeat in 2017 or not is who will make the adjustments and whoever does that the best I argue will either dethrone the Cubs or the Cubs will raise a second straight World Series pennant.