With Sam Panagiotovich
FOX sports betting analyst
“THE Chicago Cubs They have no hope or direction,” PlayUp USA head of betting Rex Byers told FOX Sports. “They’re not going to win another World Series in my lifetime. I’m quite convinced of that.”
For the second time in 10 years, the Cubs are in the early stages of another grueling organizational rebuild.
A decade after then-Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein released the likes of Tony Campana, Steve Clevenger and Bryan LaHair, today’s lineups will include plenty of Zach McKinstry, Rafael Ortega and Frank Schwindel. the home stretch.
You could argue that none of these cats would start regularly for a competitive baseball club, let alone all three. But despite a four billion dollar valuation and stupidly rich ownership, the Cubs aren’t trying to win.
That much was clear after current team president Jed Hoyer jettisoned franchise cornerstones Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber last summer.
“No team had more turnovers from Opening Day last year to Opening Day this year than the Cubs,” Circa Sports director Chris Bennett told FOX Sports. “They threw all their core guys in the World Series and it looked like they were committed to a complete rebuild. But then they made some moves this offseason like they were trying to compete.”
The Cubs gave Marcus Stroman a three-year, $71 million contract and dropped $85 million to sign Japanese star Seiya Suzuki to five years.
And after surprisingly keeping Willson Contreras and Ian Happ at Tuesday’s trade deadline instead of flipping them for more prospects, I’m as confused as anyone who roots for the North Siders.
“They’re in a weird spot and it’s hard to figure out what they’re doing,” Bennett admitted. “They need to get more young talent because they have a long way to go to be contenders again.”
Bennett speculated that the Cubs could open as high as 200-1 to win next year’s World Series when Circa opens its 2023 futures book. It’s impossible to know exactly what the odds will be right now, but triple digits is more than fair.
After decades of betting flying to Las Vegas to get future Cubs tickets in hopes that the team will finally break the Curse of the Billy Goat, they are just another team on the board in the eyes of many.
“We’re no longer seeing a flood of public money to the Cubs to win the World Series,” Bennett said. “There was a lot of entertaining gameplay regardless of how good or bad it was supposed to be, but that hasn’t been the case lately.”
Epstein’s Cubs were great at developing position pitchers and acquiring pitching from other places. They masterfully combined owners Baez, Bryant, Rizzo and Schwarber with Jon Lester and John Lackey in free agency and Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and Aroldis Chapman via trades. Signing Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist also helped.
That 2016 Cubs team was the perfect storm that culminated in the franchise’s first championship in 108 years, but they fell short despite Epstein’s promise of continued success.
And it’s hard to be as optimistic as Hoyer in the big chair, given all the mixed messages and convoluted roster moves since dealing with Chicago’s four World Series legends just over 12 months ago.
“If you offered me a significant amount of cash, say $5 million, in exchange for instant death after the final out of the Cubs’ next World Series, I would immediately do that deal,” Beyers concluded.
Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He’ll probably pick your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.
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