Somehow, some way, Joe Maddon is clearly on the hot seat in 2019. Judging by the way things are going so far this offseason, his seat might be growing hotter every day.
While teams across the highly-competitive NL Central continue to get better, the Cubs have remained stagnant. Aside from tendering a contract to a domestic abuser and kicking the tires on possibly trading away one of their best players, the Cubs haven't done much of anything, and now are in danger of becoming the third-best team in their division.
Think about it: the Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers all finished near the top of the NL Central last season. In fact, the division was so close that the title came down to a 163rd game at the end of the season. The Brewers proved themselves to be the superior team in that one and continued to make that fact well known during their deep postseason run.
Somehow, Milwaukee's slipped ahead of a Chicago team that was supposed to rule the league for a decade. The Cubs are supposed to address this discrepancy during the offseason by netting a few big free agents or making some headline trades.
Instead, the Cardinals pulled off the big blockbuster on Wednesday by acquiring one of the best hitters in the league. St. Louis was in the thick of the NL Central race before choking in September. The addition of Paul Goldschmidt to this team makes them extremely formidable.
Hi, we just wanted to tell you that Paul Goldschmidt has a 1.170 OPS against the Cubs.— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) December 5, 2018
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Now, the Cubs are basically playing catch-up. If they want to remain relevant in the division, they need to go out and get a statement player. Plenty of big names are still available. Chicago can't afford to skimp out this offseason, unless they feel like missing the playoffs.
There's a lot of time left before Opening Day. Still, the Cubs are going to have to act fast before the Cards strike again and leave them in an even worse position.