Chicago Cubs Spring training

Zach Lebovitz, Senior Sports Reporter

As the World Series champions celebrated their victory over the Indians, the franchise is still hard at work continuing to upgrade the team so they can be back-to-back contenders. Part of said upgrading includes new coaches, new players, and especially the work they are putting into Spring training down in Mesa, Arizona.

I am a die-hard Cubs fan, always was, and always will be. Seeing the Cubs clinch the division and then the World Series this past season wasn’t only incredible to see as a fan, but it truly was historic.

Spring training officially started for the defending champions on Feb. 14, and the team recently added to its roster as well as its staff.

The new special assistant to baseball operations is none other than former catcher David Ross. Ross is best known as “Grandpa Rossy” because he was one of the oldest players in the organization last year.

Ross, who is almost 40 years old, became the oldest player to hit a home run in Game 7 of a World Series. Adding him to the Cubs staff will be such a great advantage for the franchise with his leadership, familiarity, as well as the reputation he has had throughout his baseball career, not to mention I firmly believe that Ross was one of the best in his position in the MLB.

According to the team, “Ross will assist with major league operations, player development, pro-scouting, and also work within the Cubs’ front office.”

In addition to “Grandpa Rossy” joining the franchise, the Cubs have a long roster of players whom they currently have at their camp down in Mesa.

A few things surprised me entering Spring training this year.

First, that the Cubs will have to face the fact that everyone is out to get them as defending champions; they really have to continue striving to maintain being the best as well as be respectful and dignified about being the defending champions.

Second, the Cubs decided back in December to trade Jorge Soler, the (almost) 25-year-old outfielder, to the Kansas City Royals for 31-year-old closer Wade Davis.

Davis is known for his extensive medical history with strains, but is also a very well-rounded pitcher who will be able to get the job done in a very smart and professional manner.

Knowing that Davis had quite an extensive medical history, I think the Cubs were smart about only setting up a one-year contract with Davis while being open to future negotiations for an extended contract or contract renewal at a later date.

When watching Davis pitch and close for the Royals, he was quite effective. But I was upset and shocked that the Cubs decided to trade Soler since he was such a strong part of leadership on the team.

It was also saddening to see Soler go for just a player-for-player trade instead of trying to get more from the Royals considering the fact that Soler is still young, a strong leader, a great outfielder, and just won the World Series.

Third and final is the fact that the Cubs have brought 39 pitchers to Spring training. At first it doesn’t seem like so many when most MLB teams have an estimated 15 pitchers on active roster and another 15 or more on their non-active roster.

But bringing so many pitchers to Spring training opens my eyes to the fact that Cubs manager Joe Maddon is really focusing his efforts on making one of the best teams baseball has ever potentially seen. Analyzing, perfecting, and then fulfilling the new Cubs goal of defending World Series Champions.