Now that the Chicago Cubs have traded for Aroldis Chapman, they are once again the favorites to reach, and win, the World Series – or at least one would think. John Smoltz thinks it’s definitely possible, but he can’t say for sure if he’d take the Cubs over, say, the field.
“It’s still hard (to say for sure),” the MLB Hall of Famer and MLB Network analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “They definitely are the favorite. I knew that they weren’t done when they were making significant moves before. This is a team that had piled up the best and most prospects along with the Red Sox. When they made the moves in the offseason and the hype surrounding them and they got off to that incredible start, they put themselves in a position to actually put a foot down and say, ‘We are going to put ourselves in the best situation to get to the World Series.’ And with Chapman in the bullpen, they are a very scary team, but they still have to get through three series.”
After getting swept in the NLCS last year, the Cubs had a busy offseason, acquiring Ben Zobrist, Jason Hayward and John Lackey, among others. Chapman, who went 3-0 with 20 saves and a 2.01 ERA for the Yankees, makes Chicago – already the best team in the majors at 59-39 – that much better.
“I really believe that they may not be done,” Smoltz said. “If they can squeeze in maybe one more starter and just strengthen that rotation, they put themselves in a very, very elite category, a lot different than the Kansas City Royals. The Kansas City Royals primarily relied on their bullpen. Their starters were okay. They weren’t deep. They had to utilize 25 guys on their roster. The Cubs are deep enough that they can really pound and hurt some people. But I still think, despite being the favorite, if other teams don’t seize the moment and cherry pick another starter from somebody, you’re talking about a team that’s waited a long time to win a World Series. They’ve put themselves in a category by themselves.”