But maybe that will change in a hurry, starting with Yu Darvish going to the Cubs on Saturday for six years and $126 million - the biggest signing of this mostly-stalled free-agent market.
"I'm honored to be part of such a wonderful organization", the 31-year-old Darvish said at his introductory press conference alongside Theo Epstein, the Cubs' president of baseball operations. The St. Louis Cardinals were the last team to reach the NL title series four straight years (2011 to '14).
Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs walks off the field after being relieved in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during Game 4 of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 18, 2017 in Chicago.
This time previous year, there were really only two guarantees in the Cubs rotation to return for the 2018 season. Position players will work out for the first time February 19. Jake Arrieta, J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer can all cross the $100 million threshold.
"We worked hard at it, and in the end we felt it was very important that he be able to come in and be with the rest of his teammates at the start of camp". And he struggled in his postseason stint with the Dodgers, posting two of his worst starts ever. Morrow developed into one of the best relievers in the game, going 6-0 with a 2.46 ERA in 46 appearances last season out of the Los Angeles Dodgers' bullpen. He has a career 56-42 record with a 3.42 ERA in 131 major league games.
The Cubs have moved on from Arrieta now that they have Darvish, eliminating one of the right-hander's options. A full five and a swingman, whether he likes it or not, in Mike Montgomery.
Jose Quintana should feel more comfortable as a Cub heading into spring training after last summer's trade from the White Sox. And according to 12UP, Milwaukee is offering a Wisconsin resident pre-sale for all Cubs games to provide a home-field advantage. It may turn out to be that the leadoff spot is a shared arrangement that involves Schwarber, Albert Almora Jr. and Ben Zobrist, depending on the matchups. Heyward's two Gold Gloves with the Cubs and his undisputed leadership qualities are valuable, to be sure, but a little more offensive production would help the team and take some of the pressure off the other hitters in the lineup.
Baseball Prospectus updated its PECOTA projections to reflect the Darvish signing, adding three wins to the Cubs' calculations in 2018 to bring them to a 92-win projection. Sometimes, the best-laid plans find a way to go astray.
The Brewers, who rocked the National League just a couple of weeks ago by trading for Christian Yelich and signing Lorenzo Cain, are still in need of pitching.
His most recent few seasons have had their challenges.