Chicago Cubs Looking For Rebound In 2010, Sportsbooks Set Favorable Odds
March 12, 2010 – By John Ritter
Giving the Chicago Cubs odds for the World Series is almost like Lloyd Christmas asking Mary Swanson about their chances together. It’s nice to know where you stand, but it really doesn’t matter. History says it ain’t happening.
But if the 102-year streak is broken, the Cubs will pay out at 16/1 on Bodog with a World Series win in 2010 after a relatively quiet off-season.
After being swept in the first round of the playoffs in 2008, Chicago fell back to earth with a forgettable year ravaged by injuries and slumps. They managed to finished five games over .500, but were 7 1/2 out of first place behind the St. Louis Cardinals. And unlike the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees, the Cubs brass decided to pass during free agency.
There was more going out than coming in this winter when they let Milton Bradley and Rich Harden walk to free agency. The loss of Bradley won’t be wept in Chicago, but losing Harden means an already susceptible rotation will have even more pressure. Carlos Zambrano will head the staff with a 3.77 ERA and 152 strikeouts from last year. After that, it’s Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly and Randy Wells who averaged out at 11 wins in ’09. All three had ERAs at or below 3.65.
Derrek Lee led the Cubs in all four offensive categories with 35 homers, 11 RBI and a .306 average. He returns to the middle of a lineup returning only one other .300-hitter (Aramis Ramirez), although several others have the potential to join up. Alfonso Soriano hit .299 and .280 over the two previous seasons, but laid an egg in ’09 with 20 homers and 55 RBI, the lowest combination since his rookie season.
He also stole a career-low nine bases, eliminating his reputation as a 40/40 threat, and relgating him to the back end of fantasy drafts.
Geovany Soto also saw a drop in production, going from 23 homers in ’08 to only 11 last season, and hitting a mere .218.
Altogether, Chicago was 22nd in the MLB in scoring, and 26th in batting average which put it below the league’s last-place team, Washington.
St. Louis reloaded this off-season with the re-signing of Matt Holliday, and appear to be the favorites for the NL Central. But the Cubs have a half dozen players who have All-Star potential, and if they can rebound together, may have a shot to upset sportsbooks and break the century-long streak.
Yes, we’re tellin’ you there’s a chance.