The Cubs' crucial next step

With a few shrewd moves, Chicago can make the postseason in 2015

Updated: December 30, 2013, 12:18 PM ET
By Paul Swydan | ESPN

Masahiro Tanaka AP Photo/Kyodo NewsThe Cubs could jump-start their contention timetable by signing Masahiro Tanaka.
There was some thought that the Chicago Cubs could compete last season, but their record was much worse than their run differential in the early going and things went south from there. The finished with 96 losses and a spot in last place.

The Cubs' quiet winter suggests that they are more likely to gear up for a run beginning in 2015 rather than this season, and there may be something to that. With the bevy of prospects that may reach the majors all at once, that plan is shaping up as a marvelous strategy, but there is still work to do.

With a little foresight and proper planning, the Cubs can be a playoff contender in 2015.