Jose Quintana was the unequivocal answer to the Cubs' biggest question.
However, it doesn't mean another NL Central crown is a lock for the north siders. It means they have a much better shot at making the postseason and more in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.
Hours after the crafty trade was announced, the Cubs' odds went from 10-1 to 6-1 to repeat as World Series champions.
So that leads us to ask the question: Why Quintana?
A dependable #2 starter
The Cubs' starting rotation has been a fickle group and Quintana brings stability. From 2013-2016, he gave the White Sox 32 to 33 starts and 200-208 innings in all four seasons.
Don't be troubled by Quintana's 4.49 ERA. He's better than that and it's shown recently with a 2.70 ERA and .213 batting-average-against in his last 7 starts. A move to the National League, with pitchers hitting, will also improve his numbers.
That beautiful contract
Only $33 million dollars for three and a half years of a guy that has proven to be a top ten pitcher in baseball. According to Fangraphs, Quintana has pitched like a $38 million dollar player in each of his previous three years.
Remember those silly Justin Verlander rumors? The Tigers' starter is 34 years old, having one of his worst seasons, and due $90 million dollars. Q is six years younger.
They need a winning streak
Last year was filled with dominant stretches of play. Taking 12 of 13, 11 in a row, 10 of 11. The Cubs aren't going to be able to catch the Brewers unless they have a similar run and that's very difficult to accomplish without consistent starting pitching.
In addition to Quintana, Kyle Hendricks is expected to return soon. Hendricks' second rehab start is Monday. A one through four of Jon Lester, Quintana, Hendricks, and Jake Arrieta can compete with most teams.
The Cubs kept their World Series winning core in tact and brought in an all-star that won't disrupt the locker room. When Quintana received 3-plus runs of support, he had a 49-14 record.
But if there's a pitcher that had every right to complain about his team's offense, it's Quintana. Not a peep. Never pointed a finger, only thumbs.
Two months before the trade, I pointed out Theo Epstein's comments on 670 The Score: "At some point, we're gonna be able to pull off a deal where we trade some position player resources, probably in the form of prospects, for starting pitching to help our big league club either in the present or in the future or hopefully both."
Once again, Epstein told you what they were going to do and did it. The plan, striking in free agency when the time was right, winning the World Series, and now this.
My advice to Cubs fans is to put down the phone for a minute and listen when your front office speaks. They aren't lying.
• Joe Ostrowski is a co-host of the "Hit & Run" baseball show from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on WSCR 670-AM The Score with Barry Rozner. Follow him on Twitter@JoeO670.