The Chicago Cubs go into 2017 as the defending World Series Champions for the first time in over 100 years. Who is the biggest threat to knock the Cubs off in 2017?
The Chicago Cubs tore through the National League last year, winning 103 games, and knocking off the Giants and Dodgers, en route to their first pennant in 71 years.
Then, in the World Series, they eliminated an improbable 3-1 deficit from winning their first World Series in over 100 years. The Cubs are still going to be the favorite next year, but, who are the biggest threats to knock them off their perch?
The Giants are on this list simply because of their pedigree. Three World Series Championships in six years, oh, and not to mention, they gave the Cubs a very hard fought series in the divisional round.
The Giants return their entire team from last year, and they filled the one spot they desperately needed: A shutdown closer. San Francisco signed Mark Melancon to a 4yr/$62 million dollar contract this offseason, making the Giants all the more dangerous.
A team that’s consistently in the upper echelon of the National League year in, year out. They were able to re-sign Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen, two key members of the four-time defending NL West champs.
Westcoast Threat Continues
Not to mention, the Los Angeles Dodgers are now in talks to acquire Brian Dozier from the Twins. This is a team that can’t quite get over the hump, but, they gave the Cubs a run for their money in the Championship Series. If they can all stay healthy, the Dodgers have a shot.
The Nationals have always been an up-and-down team. In 2012, they won 98 games and won the East, before regressing in 2013. In 2014, they won 96 games, and won the East, before regressing again in 2015.
Then, in 2016, they won 95 games, winning the East yet again. However, in all three of their playoff appearances, they have had a first round exit. The difference in 2017? The Nationals might be even better.
The Nats’ bullpen still leaves a little to be desired, especially without a proven closer, but this offense will be good enough to carry them. If the Nats can finally get past the divisional round, they have as good of a shot as anybody to knock the Cubs off.
The Mets are still a tough, tough matchup for the Cubs. That rotation seems to stifle the Cubs whenever these teams meet. The question is, can they all stay healthy? In 2016, the answer was no.
Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz all saw significant time on the disabled list, with Harvey missing a majority of the season with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. The young rotation puts the Mets on this list.