Chris Coghlan doesn't have the luxury of thinking about the future.

Who knows if Coghlan will still be here next year, or even for the rest of this season? The Cubs outfielder turns 30 in June and only allows himself to think in a day-to-day mindset instead of getting caught up in the big picture.

Coghlan wants to win a championship here and make a permanent home in Chicago, but he knows that decision isn't his to make.

In the here and now, Coghlan is seeing the majority of playing time in left field, hitting near Starlin Castro in the order just about every day. But the former first-round pick of the Florida Marlins (2006) and National League Rookie of the Year (2009) knows his role is more than just roaming the outfield at the corner of Clark and Addison.

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"I think all of us have had different experiences in this game," Coghlan said. "Mine's just been very unique, because I've been at the top from an individual standpoint. And I've been at a low point from an individual standpoint where I've gotta make a team out of spring training.

"I've been a guy who's played enough years to see what it's like and what it means to have a winning attitude and to go about that business. I've been a backup player. I've been a full-time player. In six years, I've had a full realm.

"That does give me an advantage and I'm grateful for that. And I don't want to waste that opportunity, to be able to talk to those guys, and whatever role they're in, to say, 'Hey, I've been there. I've done that.'

“We have a lot of young guys that are still trying to figure it out and it's a great opportunity to be able to share that and impart that."

Coghlan enjoyed a career resurgence last season, emerging as a leadoff hitter and posting a .283/.352/.452 slash line with 28 doubles, nine home runs, 41 RBI and 50 runs.

The Cubs brought in Dexter Fowler to set the table at the top of the 2015 lineup and Coghlan has struggled some in his new role, batting just .228 with a .290 on-base percentage. He has shown power - three homers, four doubles - while hitting anywhere from fourth to seventh in the lineup.


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Coghlan admitted he's still getting used to his new role but enjoys playing on a Cubs team that finished April with a 12-8 record and within striking distance in the NL Central.

"I think everybody is more excited," he said. "I mean, the object of the game is to win. That's it. The only thing we play for is to win a championship. So when you're on a team that's winning and has a chance to really contend, it makes things way more enjoyable.

"It sucks playing in September when you have no shot. It's just grinding it out. It's tough not to count days down when you're in that situation. Hopefully this year, when we're in September, we're contending for the division and every game is exciting and you look forward to it and can't wait to get to the ballpark.

"That's the way we feel right now."

Coghlan has seen every level of a rebuild in his career, breaking into the big leagues on a 2009 Marlins team that had Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco leading the way.

By the time Coghlan left Miami after the 2013 season, the Marlins had traded away all of those guys and spent three straight seasons in last place in the NL East while building from scratch around young slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

In Chicago, Coghlan has seen plenty of big-league debuts - Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, among others - as the Cubs try to break in their young talent while going for it at the same time.

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"There are some similarities between [the Cubs and Marlins], but here, it's different because they try to lock up their guys," Coghlan said. "You've got Starlin and [Anthony] Rizzo and then they're bringing in older guys and you have these young guys that are now coming up through the system.

"I think that's probably what Miami tried to envision. But their history just hasn't shown that. I mean, they've locked up [outfielder Christian] Yelich and Stanton now, so they're headed in a different direction. But in my five years there, it wasn't like that. They didn't want to keep guys around for whatever reason.

"Here, it's different in that aspect. I feel like they have a better understanding of their plan - and executing their plan - than when I was in Miami."