How would Cubs approach this offseason if they hadn’t won the 2016 World Series?

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Look, we’re not trying to rewrite history and take a championship AWAY from the Chicago Cubs. 

But it’s an interesting thought experiment — how would the Cubs approach this winter if they didn’t already have those World Series rings stashed away in their trophy cases or safety deposit boxes?

Would Tom Ricketts and ownership be more likely to throw away the budget and payroll concerns and give Theo Epstein a bunch of blank checks? Would Epstein’s front office feel an urgency to wheel and deal or go hard after the top free agents like Bryce Harper? Would they be among the teams most interested in trading for Madison Bumgarner or Edwin Diaz? Would Joe Maddon still be the skipper?

Without that rain delay, if Albert Almora Jr. had not tagged up from first base on a fly ball or if Ben Zobrist’s grounder was simply hit right at Jose Ramirez instead of a few feet toward the line, the entire tone and…

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