The Cubs have the best record in baseball. Their pitching staff has the best earned-run average in baseball. They have Joe Maddon, the best manager in baseball. Finally, they have the pieces in place to win the World Series for the first time since 1908.
What could possibly go wrong? Everything.
As long-time Cubs fans would attest, nothing is secure for a franchise that still hasn’t overcome the Curse of the Billy Goat in 1945, the Curse of the Black Cat in 1969, Leon Durham’s error in 1984 and poor Steve Bartman in 2003. OK, none was single-handedly the reason Chicago collapsed.
Still, the Cubs should know better than to invite trouble. That’s why they should pass on relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon, a free agent after getting released by the Nationals. Papelbon has a reputation as a problem child, but his biggest issue is his lack of effectiveness this year.
Papelbon, 35, has lost velocity, has a career-worst 4.37 ERA, has allowed too many walks and had too few strikeouts. Karma aside, he’s not a pitcher the Cubs need while chasing a title.