Could the Cubs be next year’s Royals?

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Cubs ace Jake Arrieta will be a key to Chicago's success in upcoming years.

Brian Kozanda, Contributing Writer

The end of October is upon us, and the World Series is in full swing. The National League representative, the San Francisco Giants, is no surprise. The Giants have been in the World Series three of the last five seasons. The American League representative is a completely different story though, as the Kansas City Royals are playing in the postseason for the first time since 1985. Before the season, Vegas gave the Royals 35-1 odds of representing the AL in the World Series. The Cubs odds to represent the NL in the 2015 World Series currently stand at 45-1 but, like the Royals, the Cubs will prove that odds don’t mean much and they will represent the National League in the 2015 World Series.

There are many reasons for Cubs fans to be optimistic about their team’s future. For one, the Cubs have arguably the best farm system in baseball. Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and ESPN have all ranked the Cubs number one in farm system rankings. Cubs’ fans got a small taste of this young talent last season with Kyle Hendricks, Arismendy Alcantara, Javier Baez, and Jorge Soler all making their major league debuts. With Kris Bryant, the Minor League Player of the Year, set to make his major league debut in April, the Cubs’ major league team will only get better. A major advantage the Cubs have against other teams is their financial flexibility. The Cubs only have thirty-one million dollars committed to next year’s team. In comparison, the Cubs 2014 payroll was ninety-one million and their payroll was as high as $150 million in 2010. The Cubs are expected to be one of the highest spending teams this offseason, and are believed to be the frontrunners for Athletics ace Jon Lester. Lester went 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA and would be a huge boost to a weak starting rotation anchored by Jake Arrieta.

The Cubs have also been linked to manager Joe Maddon. Maddon opted out of his contract with the Rays on Oct. 25, and the Cubs were immediately seen as the favorites to land the manager. The Cubs current manager, Rick Renteria, is under contract for two more seasons, but it is believed the Cubs would pay off the rest of his contract to upgrade to Maddon. Maddon is very attractive to the Cubs because he has worked with many young teams in Tampa and helped lead them to four postseasons and one World Series.

Another thing that has Cubs fans giddy is the long awaited Wrigley Field renovation project. The bleachers have already been completely torn down and work on finding a video board contractor has started. The Cubs are planning on having two large video boards in place for the start of the 2015 season along with five additional advertising boards in the outfield. This will not only enhance the fan experience, but it will also provide more money to the organization that could be used to put a more competitive team on the field. While the last few years have been rough for Cubs fans, the next year could be very special. The young talent we have heard about for years is finally ready, the money is available, and the long awaited renovation has started. The crazy scenes in Kansas City have been fun to see, and at this time next year we may be seeing similar scenes on Chicago’s north side.