The National League looks as strong as ever, with as many as 12 of the 15 teams planning to contend in 2019.
The Cubs had a quiet winter, transactionally speaking, but almost every other team in the NL bolster their roster this offseason.
But expectations haven't changed at the corner of Clark and Addison. After a disappointing finish to 2018, Kris Bryant and Co. once again have their sights set on another World Series.
With that, let's take a look at all of the teams that could stand in the way of the Cubs getting back to the Fall Classic:
2018 record: 82-80, 3rd in NL West
Offseason additions: Wilmer Flores, Carson Kelly, Luke Weaver, Merrill Kelly, Greg Holland, Nick Green, Matt Szczur
Offseason departures: Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, Patrick Corbin, Daniel Descalso, Chris Owings, Jeff Mathis, Jon Jay, Shelby Miller, Brad Boxberger, Randall Delgado, Jake Diekman
X-factor: David Peralta
Arizona's once-thunderous lineup is now down to basically just Peralta, a converted pitcher who flew under the radar as a hitter for years before enjoying a true breakout in 2018 (30 HR, 87 RBI, .868 OPS).
He's already nearing the end of his prime (he turns 32 in August) and is only under control for another two seasons, so he probably won't be a part of the future as the D-Backs rebuild. If he continues to hit, he could be a huge trade piece this summer and possibly bring back a nice haul to set the organization up better for the future.
1. Ketel Marte - CF
2. Eduardo Escobar - 3B
3. David Peralta - LF
4. Steven Souza Jr. - RF
5. Jake Lamb - 1B
6. Wilmer Flores - 2B
7. Nick Ahmed - SS
8. Carson Kelly - C
1. Zack Greinke
2. Robbie Ray
3. Zack Godley
4. Luke Weaver
5. Merrill Kelly
For the first time since 2007-08, the Diamondbacks put up a winning record in back-to-back seasons, but that's about the only silver lining. After making the playoffs in 2017, the '18 squad expected to contend and instead barely made it over .500.
Then their purge began, losing their two best hitters (Goldschmidt, Pollock), their best pitcher (Corbin), their closer (Boxberger) and a host of other valuable role players (Descalso, Owings, Jay, Miller, etc.). The Cubs were benefactors of that purge in the form of Descalso, but also now have to face Goldschmidt an extra 13 games this season with his trade to the Cardinals.
This is a Diamondbacks team without a discernible direction, as they have a payroll north of $120 million (much of that tied up in Greinke, who will make more than $34 million in 2019) yet have apparently begun the early stages of a rebuild.
The organization will have to move on knowing this once-strong young core never won anything and the window of contention is all but slammed shut. Only a handful of guys are signed beyond 2020, the remaining top players (Peralta, Ray, Lamb, Souza) are probably going to be shopped on the trade market this summer and Greinke turns 36 in October.
This roster isn't barren, but it's nowhere near the team Arizona has put out on the field the last couple years. Props to the front office for turning Goldschmidt into Carson Kelly and Weaver, but the farm system isn't anything to write home about and the bullpen looks like it could be a mess after Archie Bradley and 35-year-old Yoshihisa Hirano.
The Cubs probably won't have to worry about the D-Backs as a contender this year or anytime in the near future.
Prediction: 4th in NL West
All 2019 previews & predictions
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers
New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals