When the Chicago Cubs traded for closer Aroldis Chapman it was viewed by many as adding a great player to an already dominant World Series favourite. In reality, the Cubs have been fantastically mediocre for nearly half a season and one reliever is not going to fix all their woes.
The Cubs fuelled the preseason hype by jumping out to a 25-6 record to start the season. The good news for the Northsiders is that those wins are in the bank and nobody can take them away. The bad news is that dominance is a distant memory.
In the 68 games since that hot start, the Cubs are 34-34. There are 13 MLB teams who have more wins in their last 68 games, including the San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros, who are both 42-26. Other teams that have been better than the Cubs for 42% of the entire 162-game schedule include the New York Yankees, a team who just officially became sellers by trading away Chapman.
Adding Chapman to the mix certainly makes the Cubs better, but he is still just a relief pitcher. In the nearly 70 games this season in which the Yankees had Chapman on the roster, despite his dominance, he was still only worth 1.4 wins (WAR).
There is a lot of pressure on the Cubs to win the World Series, even more with Chapman in the fold. But the Cubs are going to need to play a lot better if they are going to end their championship drought.
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