Sep 21, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs right fielder David DeJesus (9) hits the game winning hit in the eleventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field. The Chicago Cubs defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 in eleven innings. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

2013 MLB Preview: Chicago Cubs

Oh the Chicago Cubs, where to start with them. The Cubbies have been a team in flux for sometime and it’s looking like that will continue into the 2013 season, as it’s not shaping up to be a winning one at first glance. To their credit, Chicago is still trying to decide where it wants to go as a franchise, as Theo Epstein is mulling options when it comes to putting together a lineup that will live up to his epic expectations.

But the fact of the matter remains that Chicago is still an average team at best and will need to dig deep within itself to make anything out of their 2013 campaign. Despite this, they do have things going for them, as the young Anthony Rizzo drummed up a lot of faith in fans last year and peaked interest in a team that at the time was so far in the dumps it wasn’t even funny.

Best Case Scenario:

Matt Garza and Scott Baker come back healthy as ever and are horses at the front of the Cubs rotation. Garza in particular shines and has his best season since he was with the Rays and it inspires Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson to both get it together and become wildly consistent for once in their careers and all of a sudden the Cubs rotation is one of the best and hottest in baseball. Coupe that with a powerful young lineup lead by Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro and the Cubs are making a run not unlike the 2004 Boston Red Sox.

Worst Case Scenario:

Garza, Baker and Jackson all fail to impress and Samardzija continues to only show small bursts of being the ace the Cubs need so desperately. Castro’s massive contract begins to be ridiculed by the fans and the press as he struggles through the season while Rizzo cools off making many believe he may have been a one-hit wonder with Chicago. The Cubs finish at the bottom of the division, Dale Sveum is fired in early-September and Theo is looking for his way out of the mess he allowed himself to get into.

Most Likely to Happen:

The Cubs actually improve this season, but not exponentially enough to make a postseason run. Still, despite the characteristic frustrations throughout the year, Chicago actually looks like a team that is a few free agents away from competing in 2014. Castro makes the All-Star team, Garza returns to pitch a solid season and Jeff Samardzija continues to grow from last year and becomes an ace towards the end of the season.

Chicago will need more than Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and a few good pitchers to win, and it’s young lineup will need to mature this season. But the pieces are starting to fall into place that will make the Cubs not only improved in 2013, but set up to be a force in the coming years. As it is with ever Cubs season, patience is a virtue.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Chicago Cubs MLB