MESA, Ariz. -- Two years ago Ryan Dempster predicted the Chicago Cubs would win the World Series in 2009. The Cubs had fallen short in 2007 and 2008, getting swept in the first round of the playoffs both years.
Dempster was asked Sunday if he was going to make another bold prediction for the Cubs this season.
"I think it's a very realistic thing. We put in a lot of hard work," Dempster said. "We come here at 6 a.m. in the morning and there are already guys in here working out. I think everybody's goal is [going to the World Series]. I think you have to go in with that mentality and believe that. Sometimes you say that and you don't really mean it, but I like our team, and I like our chances."
Dempster believes the 2011 Cubs will have strong chemistry with the addition of Carlos Pena and the return of Kerry Wood and Reed Johnson, two former strong-character players from previous Cubs teams.
"You need good players to win and you need good talent to win," Dempster said. "But there is a lot to be said for good chemistry and having a good clubhouse. Having a good mix of guys that keep it loose but still hold each other accountable as they also pull for each other. That plays a big part."
Dempster is realistic enough to know that having good character guys is not enough.
"You just can't have all your buddies. You still need the talent to do it," Dempster said. "But I believe we have a good combination of both."
Carlos Zambrano rejected the media's request to talk on Sunday, but he showed he was in a playful mood. The Cubs pitcher came into the media room at Fitch Park with a printed picture of a Centaur, a creature from the movie "Chronicles of Narnia," and jokingly tried to post it by the media member he thought resembled the creature. Zambrano is expected to talk to the media, along with all the other pitchers and catchers, after the Cubs have their first workout on Monday morning.
The Cubs have expanded their batting cages by adding two more, for a total of four. That is the only upgrade at Fitch Park this spring. The Cubs will move into their new facility in 2013, 2 miles from their current site.