User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

No looking back to last season for Cubs

MESA, Ariz. (AP) - Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum knows exactly what he'll say about last year's 101-loss season when he meets with his team for the first time this spring.

``I probably won't mention last year, to tell you the truth,'' the Cubs' second-year manager said. ``This is about this year and the organization moving on and the 25 guys going north. So I don't want to be talking about last year at all.''

Making the task of forgetting the worst Cubs season in more than 40 years a little easier is the fact that the front office overhauled a pitching staff that finished last season with more walks than anyone else in the National League and with Triple-A pitchers making 40 of the final 62 starts.

In one of baseball's surprise moves of the offseason, the Cubs signed durable starter Edwin Jackson to a four-year, $52-million deal to join Jeff Samardzija and Matt Garza at the top of the rotation.

They also added Scott Baker, Scott Feldman and Carlos Villanueva to join Travis Wood in a competition for the two other spots.

In the bullpen, closer Carlos Marmol returns along with top left-hander James Russell and experienced middle man Shawn Camp. Instead of filling out the rest of the pen with rookies, as they did last season, the Cubs added former Japanese All-Star closer Kyuji Fujikawa as a free agent. And one or two of the rotation candidates figure to fall to the bullpen, adding even more experience.

``We run seven deep in starting pitchers. That's going to make our bullpen better,'' team president Theo Epstein said. ``We just got through running through every single pitcher in camp with the entire coaching staff (during a staff meeting Sunday morning).

``It's night and day in terms of quality and depth, in terms of what we were looking at toward the end of last season. Especially after the trades we made at the deadline and then with Garza going down (with an elbow injury), there were times when we were scrambling just to put a pitching staff out there, let alone have it be the one that we wanted.''

The Cubs say Garza, who missed the final 11 weeks of the season, is back to full health and ready to start his spring schedule at full speed. Baker is coming off a missed season because of Tommy John surgery, but also is healthy and expected to shoulder a full spring workload.

Whether it's enough to return the Cubs to the playoffs for the first time in five years - or even .500 for the first time in four - remains to be seen.

But Sveum is sure of two things: Last year doesn't matter - 100 losses or not - and the goal remains singular, regardless: making the playoffs.

``We could have lost 90 (instead) last year and it would have been the same thing. We would have gone home,'' Sveum said. ``Everything's put on numbers - how many wins, playing .500 - and those are a lot of things you have to stay away from. Nobody wants to lose 100 games, but when you start putting prices on numbers, like, `Well, .500 would be a good year this year,' well, .500 and we're going to go home just like last year.''

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

News: World Series MVP Odds
News: 2016 Playoff Results
Indians shut out Cubs in WS opener
Lovable losers Cubs, Indians meet in WS
Cleveland Indians get boost from newborns
Red Sox hire another assistant GM
Ballpark Village expansion set in St. Louis
Angels slugger CJ Cron gets procedure
Why Buy Picks From
MLB Pro Baseball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
MLB Hot Streaks
11-3 +785 L14, +4,788 This Year
7-2 +690 Picks, 10-4 +824 G-Plays
7-2 +531 L9, 20-8 +1,241 Streak
8-1 Last 9 MLB Totals
4-1 Last 5 MLB Selections
6-2 L8 Picks, 11-3 +864 G-Plays
13-6, +804 Last 19 G-Plays
7-3 Postseason Over/Unders
6-1, +638 L7 MLB G-Plays
3-1, +215 L4 Playoff Picks
2-0 Saturday, +8,778 Net Profits TY
11-4, +659 Last 15 Streak
17-7 L24 G-Plays, +3,502 TY
10-5 Record Last 15 Totals
Live Odds
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 8777
Jim Feist + 4896
John Fisher + 3399
Underdog Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 2314
Kevin Rogers + 1706
Jim Feist + 1480
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 3890
Jim Feist + 1656
John Fisher + 1515
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Jim Feist + 3603
Antony Dinero + 2933
Micah Roberts + 2664
Favorite Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 2922
James Manos + 2602
Micah Roberts + 2573
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 2451
Mark Franco + 1570
Bill Marzano + 1455
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership