The Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs both had the same idea nearly 10 years ago. Each franchise was struggling to be relevant, and each team decided that a complete rebuild was necessary to find success.
Both teams were able to complete the process by winning a World Series, and it looked like each team was going to win multiple titles. Houston is now in its third World Series in five years while the Cubs never did make it back.
The Astros have said goodbye to some of their postseason heroes over the last few years, but they have also kept much of the same roster intact. Houston has been a title contender in each of the last five seasons, while the same cannot be said for the Cubs.
It’s pretty clear that the Cubs are now in another rebuilding phase, while the Astros aren’t going to be facing that fate anytime soon. Theo Epstein gets praised as being one of the best executives in baseball history, but his franchise can’t come close to comparing to Houston.
The Astros and Cubs were linked for many years during the rebuild, and comparisons were being thrown around weekly by MLB experts. It’s safe to say at this point in time that the Houston Astros clearly had a better rebuild.
Watching the Astros next week in the World Series should hurt for Cubs fans as it will be a reminder of what could have been. There were some glaring mistakes made along the way by Epstein, but ultimately the Astros were just better overall.
Blame Falls on the “Core”
While it’s easy to blame Epstein and the front office for only delivering one title, the real blame falls on the former “core.” The Cubs were hungry to win in 2015 and 2016, but they just never found that edge again after that season.
Things started to unravel when Addison Russell went off the rails, and that certainly left a major hole in the lineup. Injuries affected the Cubs at some inopportune times also, but every team in baseball has to deal with injuries.
In the end, the Houston Astros just had better players, and those players have always seemed to deliver in the clutch. The Cubs offense was called “broken” often over the last few years but the Astros have continued to score runs in bunches.
Don’t Bring Up the Whole Cheating Thing
MLB fans continue to call the Astros “cheaters” wherever they go, and that’s fair since they did get caught cheating. Don’t be foolish enough to believe that they were the only team that crossed the line when looking for an edge.
I’m not accusing the Cubs of anything either, but I’m not going to say the Astros only one a World Series because of a trash can. Houston simply had a better roster, and they had/have players that know how to win.