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How many parades does this Cubs core have in it?

After beating Indians, Cubs chasing Giants, Yankees? #dynasty

SHARE After beating Indians, Cubs chasing Giants, Yankees? #dynasty
SHARE After beating Indians, Cubs chasing Giants, Yankees? #dynasty

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – By the end of next week, Kris Bryant could have his first MVP award, and either Jon Lester or Kyle Hendricks could have his first Cy Young Award.

All three of those Cubs are under club control for at least four more years. Four more former All-Stars are under club control through at least 2019.

That doesn’t even count Jake Arrieta, Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler or John Lackey.

“They might be the first team in the history of projections to come in with 115-win expectations,” said Neal Huntington, the general manager of Cubs’ division-rival Pittsburgh. “They’re going to be a great team. They’re going to be a force to be reckoned with for a while.”

Less than a week removed from the team’s first championship in 108 years, the temptation among insiders at the general managers’ meetings this week in Arizona when talking about these young Cubs is to add a #dynasty.

They averaged 100 wins the last two seasons, advanced through five playoff rounds over those two years, and set a World Series record when they started six players age 25 or younger in a game.

“They’ve got a lot of good young talent under control and obviously now they’re postseason proven,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “So the sky’s the limit.”

Cashman should know. His Derek Jeter-Andy Pettitte Yankees were the last team in the majors to repeat – winning three straight and four of five championships from 1996-2000 during a run of six World Series appearances in eight years.

But there’s a good reason it’s been nearly two decades since a team has repeated, why 11 different teams have won the last 16 World Series.

“It’s probably harder than ever,” said Huntington, whose Pirates were one of three teams to make the playoffs from 2013-15. “There’s so much movement in the game, and so much variability and volatility, with player injury, bad years, good years, and there is some randomness to the game.”

Not to mention the second wild card team added to each league’s bracket.

In fact, 21 of the 30 teams have made the playoffs in the last four seasons — only the Dodgers having done it all four (without so much as an appearance in the final round to show for it).

Even the closest team to a dynasty this decade – the Giants – missed the playoffs completely the years between their 2010, 2012 and 2014 titles.

“I’m not the best predictor of future success for anybody in this game because there’s a lot of factors you can’t control from health to the performance of your guys,” Giants GM Bobby Evans said. “Roster can be changed overnight in different ways. But from the controllable players that they have, and from the leadership they have, from the manager to the general manager, to Theo [Epstein], it’s a really great combination of baseball people and elements to a lineup and to a rotation and a bullpen that clearly are well thought-out and gives me great pleasure to know they’re not in our division.”

As for those who are in the Cubs’ division, Huntington and Cardinals GM John Mozeliak say they’re not changing how they do business for the near-term because of the Cubs’ look of sustainability. But neither sounds like a man who thinks he’s a piece or two from overtaking the Cubs, either.

“We’re not waving any white flag, but we’re also not going to do something that’s going to make us go backwards just to say we took one step forward,” Mozeliak said.

Certainly, the Cubs’ pitching will require reinforcements for any type of dynasty they would hope to extend beyond 2017.

“Baseball’s a funny game,” said Mariners GM Jerry DiPoto, who worked with Cubs president Epstein and Cubs GM Jed Hoyer in Boston when the Red Sox won in 2004. “On paper the Cubs have the type of roster, in particular with their young position players, to in theory just go out and dominate the league for the next five, six years. But it still has to actually happen.”

As Mozeliak said, “Things sometimes happen. We’ve entered seasons where we thought Adam Wainwright was going to be our ace, and he ends up not coming out of spring training.”

Epstein doesn’t shy away from questions about the Yankees’ recent dynasty, or the Giants’ run.

“You look at those organizations that can repeat the next year or in a relatively short period of time and you can’t help but admire them,” he said. “It does validate the initial title if you can back it up. I think every organization strives to be like that.

“But for us really the goal is to be the type of organization that national baseball fans think of when you think of October baseball.”

Like the Braves with their 14 playoff appearances in a row through 2005. Like the Cardinals with 12 appearances in the last 17 years.

Maybe even like Cashman’s Yankees?

“I would not be shocked if that were the Cubs and we look up in the next five years and they’ve got multiple World Series rings,” DiPoto said. “But this is all I’ve ever done in my life, and I can tell you that very rare is the time where the best team just rules the roost forever anymore.”


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