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Chicago Cubs’ Main Storylines After 61st Win in 2012 MLB Season: Fan’s Take

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The Chicago Cubs completed their 2012 MLB season with a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros on October 3, 2012. The Cubs entered this three-game series with the idea that they could avoid the 100-loss regular season if they swept the Astros. It turns out that they needed ninth-inning heroics just to avoid being swept by MLB's worst team.The Cubs finished the season with a 61-101 record.

What lies ahead for the Cubs? Manager Dale Sveum wasted no time in making adjustments to his staff. Some players have already voiced their opinions on where they stand for 2013.

Pat Listach Fired

Sveum appears like he'll return for a second season as the Cubs' manager. However, he won't bring back one of his top assistants. Third-base coach and infield coach Pat Listach was informed that he won't remain with the team in 2013. These were Sveum's comments on the termination:

He did a great job, and it's not anything he did.

If this is how Sveum truly feels, then it appears as though management didn't approve of Listach's work. Whatever the case, there's no infield coach who could've prevented this dumpster fire of a season. Not with the current talent on the roster.

Alfonso Soriano Is Open To Trade

Alfonso Soriano turned down a midseason trade to the San Francisco Giants. Despite the Giants' position as pennant contenders, Soriano reportedly didn't want to play in the unfavorable weather of the West Coast. He preferred to stay with a team who was trying to avoid the 100-loss regular season.

Has Soriano had a change of heart? He'd still finish his next two seasons with the Cubs. However, if the Cubs aren't a World Series contender by 2014, then he'd prefer a trade to a playoff team.

Bryan LaHair: 50-50 Chance

Bryan LaHair hit the walk-off single that clinched the 5-4 victory. After he was nominated for his first All-Star appearance, LaHair lost his starting job after he had a .194 batting average in July. From April through June, LaHair had 13 home runs. From July through October, LaHair had three home runs.

What can fans expect from LaHair? It's hard to see him with this franchise beyond 2012. LaHair agreed that there's a 50-50 chance that he'll play somewhere else. I could see him as a platoon hitter for another (bad) team or an everyday player in Japan.

Ryan Dempster Implodes For Texas Rangers

The Cubs were prepared to trade Ryan Dempster to the Atlanta Braves for 22-year-old pitching prospect Randall Delgado. However, Dempster needed time to think on that trade. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer claimed that Dempster had delayed his decision because he wanted a trade to his preferred destination, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The trade fell through. Dempster was eventually traded in a less-favorable package to the Texas Rangers. Since Dempster didn't accept the offer to the Braves, the Cubs had little-to-no leverage as the trade deadline was nearing.

In a game to decide the American League West champion, Dempster started against the Oakland Athletics on October 3. The Rangers jumped out to a 5-1 lead. That wasn't nearly enough for Dempster. Through three-plus innings, Dempster surrendered five earned runs. The Athletics won 12-5, forcing the Rangers to settle for one of two wild-card berths.

What might've been? The Cubs could've received a better prospect. Dempster could've pitched for a playoff contender in a pitcher-friendly park in a league without a designated hitter (DH).

Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. He immediately gained an admiration for Cubs fans after watching numerous games on WGN during the mid-90s. His favorite Cubs moment was Kerry Wood's(notes) 1-hitter, 20K extravaganza that was only denied of a no-hitter by Kevin Orie's defensive blunder. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months. He can be found on Twitter HERE.

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