Brandon Morrow - Brandon Morrow was shut down for the season, dealing with an elbow injury. He didn’t have any sort of surgery, but missing the second half of the season with elbow discomfort isn’t promising heading into a new season. Morrow is 34 and will be turning 35 during the 2019 season, and this is a big concern for the Cubs pen. They would be wise to have a contingency plan if Morrow starts to make constant trips to the DL.
Addison Russell - Addison Russell isn’t injured, but is expected to miss time due to off the field incidents. Chicago might be looking to move on from Russell, as they have options to easily fill in. This isn’t going to impact the Cubs, but this will more so impact Russell’s 2019 outlook. He struggled at the plate in 2018, and the Cubs were not missing his production. Cutting ties seems like the optimal move, as his suspension will cause him to miss a chunk of the season to start off 2019.
You don’t go on a major World Series drought without having some bad injury luck. We saw that with Mark Prior, who when healthy was one of the better pitchers in baseball. Prior’s injuries were mainly brought on himself with his delivery. He had numerous arm surgeries, and just could never stay healthy. Kerry Wood was in the same boat, where he had a torn rotator cuff and numerous injuries. Chicago never having a stretch with Wood and Prior healthy for a few seasons limited their potential.
After Nomar Garciaparra moved from Boston to Chicago, he had a ruptured tendon in his left groin which required surgery. He ended up missing most of the 2005 season. This came at a time where Chicago was trying to be competitive, and the injuries piling up hurt their chances. During the 2009 season Alfonso Soriano had to have left knee surgery, which caused him to miss several months. Soriano didn’t quite produce the same time of numbers as he did in New York.
Kyle Schwarber is a more recent major injury, where he tore ligaments in his left knee, which was just a few games into the 2016 season. Schwarber had to miss the season, and rehabbed making a full recovery for the last few seasons. The trade for Drew Smyly hasn’t gone as planned, where he sat on the DL for almost half a season before undergoing Tommy John surgery. Both Yu Darvish and Kris Bryant have been key parts for Chicago’s success lately, and Darvish signing a deal with the Cubs brought a lot of excitement. Darvish was shut down with tricep tendinitis, and hasn’t been quite the same since his days in Texas. Bryant has been battling shoulder issues, and it has taken an effect on his offense.