Ranking the best rebuilding teams in Major League Baseball

Sep 5, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Frank Schwindel (18) is greeted after hitting a grand slam home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 5, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Frank Schwindel (18) is greeted after hitting a grand slam home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Cubs dugout celebration
Oct 3, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Frank Schwindel (18) is congratulated by teammates after scoring during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

#5: Chicago Cubs

The infield looks pretty set up for the future with Patrick Wisdom and Frank Schwindel as good options in the corners, despite them being older. Schwindel tore the cover off the ball with a 163 WRC+ once he joined the Cubs, seventh-best in all of MLB in the second half of the season.  Wisdom was good all around, providing an Outs Above Average in the 82nd percentile, along with an .823 OPS and 115 WRC+ on the season. He did start to fall off some in the second half which is a bit worrisome.

The Nick and Nico connection up the middle feels alright. Madrigal has hit better so far between the two of them with a 113 WRC+ in comparison to Hoerner’s 104. Both of them seem to have overperformed expected stats last season, so I am interested to see if they either progress or regress in 2022.

Outfielder Brennan Davis is on the way to help, as he has looked great so far with a 135 WRC+ in Double-A and moving up part way through the year to finish off 2021 with a 150 WRC+ across 15 Triple-A games. Miguel Amaya was also coming soon but he is now set for Tommy John surgery and will probably be out till 2023.

Pitching seems to be the bigger struggle for this squad. The signing of Marcus Stroman does help give them a good, consistent option there but after him it looks shaky. Kyle Hendricks did not perform well in 2022, and Wade Miley is decent but not exactly a big needle mover. Adbert Alzolay and Justin Steele both seem like they would be better as relievers so far. Brailyn Marquez does look to be on his way to the Majors soon after some injury problems in 2021 which could help the rotation a lot.

I think the Cubs could definitely look to spend more once the lockout is done or go a make some big moves. Carlos Rodon would help the rotation and signing Carlos Correa, who they were rumored to be in on before, or Trevor Story to give them another above-average bat would give this team a more consistent in the lineup.

I think the rotation answers will probably be on the trade market with Oakland having multiple options, the Marlins also have young trade pieces, as well as Sonny Gray and Kyle Freeland most likely being available. A Jason Heyward, Patrick Corbin swap would be interesting. It gets Washington off some money and a good defensive outfielder at the least, and gets Chicago another arm that could potentially get back to all-star form.

If the Cubs can get Madrigral and Hoerner hitting at least average, and one more arm to pair with a Stroman and Marquez at the top end of the rotation, there is a potential playoff team here. That’s a surprising state for a team that has been selling off their top end talent for the past year, especially with older prospects in Wisdom and Schwindel taking over.