Skip to main content

Bloomberg: Cubs All-2010s Team

The Cubs All-Decade team doesn't have too many positional debates, but On Tap Sports Net's Austin Bloomberg manages to throw in a few wrinkles where possible.
Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Any time one assembles a team with historic ramifications, they are taking on an ambitious, subjective, and nostalgic project. Although a decade isn't a particularly long period (relatively speaking), when it comes to sports, it's a significant chunk of time that can have several storylines and different eras contained within it. Clearly, the Cubs of the 2010s fits within this mold.

While the decade provides some easy answers at several positions, and whereas it's easy to hone in on the Championship roster (and the teams surrounding 2016), an All-Decade team is comprised of more than just the highs. For the Cubs, specifically, the early years of this decade highlighted some talented players that shouldn't be forgotten.

A few of these players are etched into Cubs' history, and remembering the bad years is only fitting for a franchise dubbed the 'lovable losers' for so long. To forget or dismiss that fundamental element of franchise history because of 2016 would be misguided, a betrayal of what it means to be a Cubs fan.

With that in mind, here's my Cubs All-Decade team for the 2010s:

Catcher: Willson Contreras

While now-Manager David Ross is as beloved a player as any of the past ten years, his two-year stint as a backup catcher is more about being an iconic leader while serving as Jon Lester's personal backstop, and he's clearly worth mentioning. Same for Welington Castillo, who spent parts of six seasons with the Cubs, almost exclusively during the rebuild, and put together a triple slash of .252/.320/.398, good for a near-league average wRC+ of 97. Castillo was a sturdy, if not dominant, catcher, and his power never really caught on with the Cubs.

Clearly, the Cubs' best catcher of the decade was Willson Contreras. Still just 27, Contreras made his mark immediately upon his arrival to Chicago and he hasn't looked back. After splitting time behind the dish and in left field in 2016, Contreras settled into his role as the team's starting catcher the following season. Including some unfortunate injuries, Willson has compiled 436 games as a Cub, amassing an fWAR of 8.3 while emerging as a source of unique energy and emotional leadership for the Cubs. Slashing .267/.350/.470 in his career suggests an offensive prowess that remains among the game's elite backstops. Willson is our catcher of the 2010s.

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

First Base: Anthony Rizzo

It's almost impossible to amass enough superlatives for The Captain. He's the unquestionable leader of this team, beloved on and off the field, with a tireless devotion to children that makes him one of the singular greats in Major League Baseball.

Of course, his three Gold Gloves and All-Star appearances, .277/.376/.496 triple slash and 217 home runs are the reason he's the Cubs first baseman this decade. First appearing as a Cub in 2012, Rizzo has been the full-time starter ever since, playing in at least 140 games from 2013 onward. His durability befits his leadership, his offensive prowess matching his leadership for a still-young core of players.

At the end of his career, Rizzo will likely be remembered as one of the franchise greats. Let's hope he's here for the long haul.

Photo: Jim Prisching/Associated Press

Photo: Jim Prisching/Associated Press

Second Base: Javier Baez

On its face, the keystone appears to be difficult to assess for the Cubs All-Decade team. There has been a rotating cast of characters, from the sure-handed Gold Glove-winning Darwin Barney, to the immortalized Ben Zobrist, and several random names in-between.

While Javy is now entrenched as the team's everyday shortstop, his work at second makes him the best player at the position this past decade. Starting 199 games at second, Baez accrued over 1,800 innings defensively from 2014-2018. His versatility was clearly an asset early in his career, and while he bounced around the infield, second base remained his primary position until 2019.

One of the most popular and exhilarating players in the game, Javy's impossibly exciting defense, huge swing, and infectious energy makes him one of the great joys in baseball.

Photo: Wendell Cruz/USA Today Sports

Photo: Wendell Cruz/USA Today Sports

Shortstop: Starlin Castro

Castro was one of the few bright spots on some terrible Cubs teams. From 2010 until he was traded for Adam Warren, Castro compiled a helluva career in a Cubs uni. A three-time All-Star on the North Side, Castro tallied 991 hits, slashing .281/.321/.404. He was the kid with an amazing MLB debut that left Cubs fans excited for the future. He was enjoyable to watch and gave fans something to talk about and root for at a time when the rebuild rendered the Major League roster a hodgepodge of misfits and journeymen.

While not a part of the championship team, Castro's efforts in Chicago at least saw the rebuild through to completion, as he remained an integral part of the roster (albeit shifting to second base) in 2015.

At age 29, Castro remains on the free-agent market. Hopefully his career continues on, but he'll always be remembered for his time as a Cub.

Third Base: Kris Bryant

As with much of this list, the hot corner is a position in which only one name is fitting. Ever since arriving in Chicago, KB has done nothing but excel. From college player of the year to Arizona Fall League MVP honors, Bryant first won Rookie of the Year in 2015 before garnering NL MVP honors in the Cubs magical 2016 season.

Although injuries hampered his 2018 season and he started last year slow, all KB has done is hit while playing average defense at third. He's slashed .284/.385/.516 in his career and accrued an fWAR of 27.8.

Service time grievance and awkward trade rumors aside, he's the team's best player. We've been lucky to have KB this decade.

Photo: Paul Beaty/Associated Press

Photo: Paul Beaty/Associated Press

Left Field: Alfonso Soriano

Soriano, like Castro, is a player oft-forgotten this decade whose influence remains. Granted, the rather aggressive contract then-GM Jim Hendry threw Soriano was ultimately a bit of an albatross. Soriano was a huge factor for the playoff teams of 2007-08 however, and in his time with the Cubs this decade he put up quality offensive numbers: .255/.307/.485 triple slash with 99 HR's, good for a solid 110 wRC+.

Kyle Schwarber deserves some recognition not just for his 2016 World Series heroics or 2015 moonshot, but because his tireless work ethic has made him a passable defender while his offense finally matured over the course of 2019. Still, this position is Soriano's to own in the 2010s.

The high leg kick on his swing, little hop catching a fly ball in left, and his infectious smile all left an indelible mark on this team -- even if that mark has its polarizing elements.

Fans may not have always understood Soriano, but he was revered by teammates, making him a worthy addition to the Cubs All-Decade team.

Scroll to continue

Recommended Articles

Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Centerfield: Dexter Fowler

Centerfield has been a black hole for the Cubs for decades, and the 2010s were no exception. Lacking any semblance of consistency makes Fowler the easy choice here. In his two seasons with the Cubs, he notched one All-Star appearance while playing palatable defense and providing that rare spark at the top of the lineup. Hitting .261/.367/.427 and a 115 wRC+, the "you go, we go" mantra Joe Maddon bestowed upon Fowler couldn't have been more prescient.

Fowler was beloved by the fanbase in his brief stay; his place in franchise history forever etched leading off game seven with a homer off Corey Kluber.

Photo: Associated Press

Photo: Associated Press

Photo: Associated Press

Right Field: Jason Heyward

As with Soriano, Heyward is oft-maligned because of his albatross of a contract -- especially during an offseason in which the Cubs are crying poor in an attempt to slip under the luxury tax threshold. Contract aside, Heyward has been a linchpin for this team since his arrival prior to the 2016 season. Yes, he had 'the speech' or whatever during the rain delay, and yes, his offense has been lacking (at best).

He's also garnered two Gold Gloves, emerged as a team leader, and has worked tirelessly to adjust his offensive game. If his 2019 numbers (sans his time in the leadoff spot) portend future success, Heyward could leave a much bigger mark on this franchise yet.

Photo: Chicago Tribune

Photo: Chicago Tribune

Utility: Ben Zobrist

Leaving the 2016 World Series MVP off this list would be absolutely inexcusable. But since 'Zo's career is the epitome of what a utility player is, and because the Cubs have viable options at all of his key positions, creating a 'utility' position for the Cubs All-Decade team is more than appropriate.

With the perfect combination of humility, leadership, and a devotion to fans, 'Zo slashed .269/.362/.411 in his four years as a Cub while playing everywhere but center and catcher. A switch-hitter to boot, he did everything the team needed -- and much, more.

It remains to be seen whether or not 2019 was his last year in baseball. No matter if he retires or finds a gig elsewhere, Zobrist will always be cherished in Wrigleyville.

Starting Pitcher 1: Jon Lester

Choosing two starting pitchers for the Cubs this decade proved the most difficult task for me. You have three obvious, deserving candidates, and no matter who was left off, guilt remains.