by Sam Panajotovic
FOX Sports Betting Analyst
“The Chicago Cubs “They have no hope or direction,” Rex Byers, head of betting at PlayUp USA, told FOX Sports. They won’t win another world championship in my life. I am completely convinced of that.”
For the second time in 10 years, the Cubs find themselves in the early stages of another grueling organizational rebuilding process.
A decade after the then Cubs chief of baseball operations Theo Epstein featured the likes of Tony Campana, Steve Clevenger and Brian Laher, the current lineup will feature plenty of Zach McKinstry, Rafael Ortega and Frank Schweindel. extension of the house.
You could argue that none of those cats would start at a regularly competing baseball club, let alone all three. But despite the $4 billion valuation and ridiculous ownership, the Cubs aren’t trying to win.
That was evident after current team boss Jade Hoyer ditched the franchise’s mainstays Javier Baez, Chris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber last summer.
“No team has had more turnover from opening day last year to opening day this year than the Cubs,” Chris Bennett, Circa Sports’ sports book director, told FOX Sports. “They gave up all the key players in the world championships, and they seemed to be committed to a complete rebuild. But then they made some moves this season as if they were trying to compete.”
Cubs gave Marcus Strowman a three-year contract worth $71 million and lost $85 million to a five-year contract with Japanese superstar Seiya Suzuki.
And after surprisingly holding on to Wilson Contreras and Ian Hap on Tuesday’s trading deadline rather than flipping them over for more possibilities, I’m as perplexed as anyone who hails from the North Sides.
“They’re in a weird place, and it’s hard to tell what they’re doing,” Bennett admitted. “They need to acquire more young talent because they have a long way to go to be competitive again.”
Bennett predicted Cubs would open as high as 200-1 to win the world championship next year when Circa opens the 2023 Futures book. It’s impossible to know the exact odds now, but the three numbers are more than fair.
After decades of bookies traveling to Las Vegas for future Cubs tickets in hopes that the team will finally break the Billy Goat curse, they are just another team on the board in the eyes of many.
“We don’t see a flood of public money on the Cubs to win the World Championships anymore,” Bennett said. “There has been a lot of entertaining play no matter how good or bad it was supposed to be, but that hasn’t been the case lately.”
Epstein’s Cubs were exceptional at developing placement jugs and acquiring monuments from other places. They brilliantly paired Baez, Bryant, Rizzo and Schwarber with Jon Lester and John Lackey in free agency and Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and Aroldis Chapman across trades. He also helped sign Dexter Fowler, Jason Hayward and Ben Zobrist.
The Cubs of 2016 were the perfect storm culminating in the franchise’s first championship in 108 years, but they couldn’t make a comeback despite Epstein’s promise of continued success.
And it’s hard to be equally optimistic with Hoyer in the big chair, given all the mixed messaging and complicated roster moves since dealing with the four Chicago World Series legends just over 12 months ago.
“If you offer me a large sum of money, say $5 million, for immediate death after the final exit from the next Cubs World Championships, I will make that deal straight away,” Byers concluded.
Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. Previously he worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. It is likely that he will choose against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.
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