The 2015 MLB season isn’t too far away and baseball fans like myself are already starting to get excited for what it shall bring. It seems as if every season is better than the last and every team is looking forward to a fresh start. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training and begin to get back into form with regular throwing routines from further away and off pitching mounds. Every team in the MLB begins the New Year with new aspirations, as they stand equal to every team until Opening Day. With the ultimate goal of winning the World Series in everyone’s plan it is only a select few that will be playing in the postseason for the untameable beloved trophy. The offseason gives teams a chance to re-asses their roster and to make changes by bringing in new faces and saying goodbye to players who were once of their own. It seems as if the season ends for hardcore baseball fans like myself as there’s always stuff going on but nevertheless a new season brings excitement and most of all hope for fans worldwide.
Before assessing the offseason and focusing on the new season it wouldn’t do any harm to quickly assess what the 2014 season was all about. The season was a long stretch like any other that had the usual winning streaks, career milestones, season ending injuries and last but not least a champion. Going into the 2014 season the favourites so they are called to win in it all were the usual playoff bound teams including the Dodgers, Cardinals and Tigers. Teams like the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox were near the top of the list but as we know they came nowhere close to making a playoff run of any sort; at least in the majors. Blue Jays fans are well of aware of expectations being high and the pain to hear about being favourites at the beginning of the season and struggling to even be mentioned with the teams bound to make the playoffs. Though it may seem impossible to pick the favourites and appear to be sort of a waste of time it has become a tradition in of itself for experts in all the professional sports league and in fact I will take my shot at predicting the winners of each division and the World Series Champion later on in this article so stay tuned. Anyways, the 2014 season was quite exciting with the usual exciting Mike Trout highlight catches, no-hitters and especially a whole lot of Derek Jeter. Some big names like David Price and John Lester left their teams that they called home for their career and of course there was a champion in the end after a great world series featuring two teams who weren’t considered to be good enough to compete in many minds. The Royals and Giants battled in out with the Giants winning their 3rd world series title in the last five years with an exceptional performance by Madison Bumgarner and a roster without their opening day starter Matt Cain.
I was happy to see the Giants win and no disrespect to the Royals who truly made an amazing run after being the underdogs throughout the postseason fresh of coming out of a playoff drought. The Giants dominant performance has me once again thinking about how sports really work. In a team sport like baseball any team can win on any given day despite if the best pitcher might be on the mound. Winning requires many factors involved such as everyone working together as a unit, pitchers being on their game, infielders thinking one step ahead and yes you might even add in fans being enthusiastic and providing something for teams to feed off of to get that extra step in their game. In sports one bad mistake like calling making an error or missing your spot on a 95mph fastball can cost you the game. After all nobody is perfect and in a sport like baseball succeeding only 30 percent of the time at the plate puts you with the top players in baseball. Throw in unexpected injuries and up and down seasons and you have yourself the life a sports team. Being a big market team or having the best players doesn’t really give you much of an advantage as you would think and every team can go from out of to in contention by coming up with a swing of wins here and there. Of course there will be teams who consistently perform at high levels but nevertheless surprises happen and it is what makes sports one of the greatest things to watch and be a part of in this world. Take the Giants for example who are usually in a race all season long with their NL West rivals LA Dodgers. It is usually the Dodgers who will be expected to do better at seasons end because of their high caliber players and high payroll.
When the season ends which is the end of September for most of the teams and October for the select few, the new season begins. There is no break and teams are looking for ways to improve and keep getting better. Fans feel optimistic when they see better than average players on the market and contemplate what it would be like to have these players on their favourite teams. Often times fans will be disappointed their teams don’t get their favourite player and so on but these fans often forget its not as easy as it appears. Money and more specifically payroll for example have a large part in attracting free agents and usually those with a surplus of money to spend make a serious run at players. Baseball unlike other sports such as basketball for example doesn’t have a draft that brings game changing players who can contribute to their teams immediately so the signing players or trade is the main source of bringing change. More often that not teams explore trades especially if players on the market don’t meet their needs or are looking for more money. Teams often begin the offseason by checking in with other GMs to see where they stand on their players and to see who is available and not …
As I have mentioned before, I have the belief that the offseason is more of a way for teams to retool their roster rather than completely rebuild a team and this is the case for many teams around the league. Out of the contrary, the San Diego Padres were opposed to this idea of just adding one or two pieces but rather rebuild a team which will look completely different than their roster in 2014. Whether they can contend in a serious manner is yet to be determined but high expectations are no new thing to Blue Jay fans. Lots of teams look very different as after all some big names who were on the market have found new homes. Lets take a look at the 2015 outlook for every team in the MLB.
The Orioles took advantage of a weak AL East last season and took first place away from the Blue Jays with one month to go and rode with it all the way to the playoffs. Their playoff run was relatively short lived but nevertheless they improved and really took the next step as a franchise. Believe it or not they were able to do this without much of Manny Machado or Matt Wieters and hey you can even through in Chris Davis there too. A rotation that did its part and kept their team in games, combined with a magnificent bullpen and the heart of the order featuring Nelson Cruz and Adam Jones was a recipe for success. Unfortunately the Orioles have lost some of the recipes for success largely Nelson Cruz who’s bat will be missed. They also lost a long time Oriole in Nick Markakis and you can bet they will be featuring a whole different outfield this year. Adam Jones will continue to lead his team game in and game out and they will be competing for the AL East title just like everyone else but shouldn’t be considered favourites by any manner. Watch out for Kevin Gausman to really make a name for himself this season.
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees were quite a mess last season. Other than Tanaka’s anticipated arrival and Derek Jeter’s farewell tour there wasn’t much to really talk about. CC Sabathia and the rest of the injured rotation was quite a disaster in many people’s opinions. Lets not forget the Micheal Pineda incident with pine tar was just the icing on the cake on the disappointing season that was. This season they will look to bounce back but there’s a lot of questions mark on the table as they count on a lot of the things to go their way. This begins with their rotation, to the newest shortstop to replace Derek Jeter to a healthy Mark Teixeira and Chase Headley. It has been a quite offseason with no major acquisitions or signings other than Andrew Miller who will be a solid addition to their bullpen. Watch for the Yankees to make some ongoing moves throughout the season and brace yourselves for the return of A-Rod.
Boston Red Sox
You don’t need to know what happened in the offseason with the Red Sox other than being called favourites to win the AL East. This can only mean big additions and that’s exactly what it was and more. The Red Sox acquired Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval two premier players who are being paid big money now. The Red Sox weren’t done there as they were hoping to return to the playoffs after what has been quite an interesting few years from them from last to first back to last once again. They added some solid pieces to their rotation including Wade Miley, Justin Masterson and Rick Porcello. Their offence should be quite fun to watch but their rotation will be what will either make or break them this season. The surplus of outfielders including the new addition of Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo can end up helping them in their favour if they look to add more pieces. Look to see Hanley Ramirez playing LF in front of the Green Monster and trying to live up to the hype of already being called one of the top outfielders in the game by MLB experts.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays went from being playoff contenders to who knows what in the past season. They shipped off David Price to the Tigers and have looked to continue to rebuild with their strongest asset, their young pitchers. Young arms like Chris Archer, Matt Moore and Drew Smyly have kept this team in games and that is why I don’t like to count them out of anything. They may not be the Athletics but they often find ways to win with what they have and shouldn’t be taken too lightly. Obviously they aren’t a potent force anymore but can turn some heads with the young talent that continues to grow. They have said goodbye to the talented Will Myers who couldn’t put it together after a strong showing in his first season in the MLB. Watch for Chris Archer to make his mark as one of the young pitching phenoms in the league and for Evan Longoria to bounce back offensively.
Toronto Blue Jays
You could skip over this segment because you must have ready my article on the Blue Jays 2015 offseason but my point stays the same that the Jays had a solid offseason but their improvements were not necessarily where the holes were. They may be powerful offensively but a weak bullpen and a young rotation must be worked with throughout the season. Paul Beeston could make a name for himself as he looks to end the playoff drought of 21 years in his final season. Look for Russell Martin to have a profound impact on the starting rotation and a big offensive season from Josh Donaldson in the heart of the order. The Jays are still legitimate contenders who could be just games away from making it to the playoffs once again if they don’t let their usual strong starts fall apart near the end of the season. The Jays were not too far away from the playoffs and a full season of Marcus Stroman and no more Sergio Santos to blow saves has to help them in their favour.
The Tigers started off the offseason on a good note by locking up Victor Martinez who will be a solid offensive powerhouse with Melky Cabrera. Without Scherzer they will still compete for sure with David Price leading the way. They have added Greene from the Yankees and Simon from the Reds who are solid additions even though they don’t fill the spot Scherzer left. It will be a Blue-Jays outfield in some sort featuring Rajai Davis and most likely Anthony Gose in the outfield, which is quite amusing to me but their speed, is not a laughing matter. Look for their bullpen struggles to continue, forcing them to be fight for a division title and for Justin Verlander to bounce back with Kate Upton cheering him on from the crowd.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals lost their ace this offseason and when a team loses an ace and doesn’t get another back its hard to see them competing. The Royals may be a different case given their all-around team player with solid defense and lights in bullpen that has remained in tact so far. They have taken chances on Kris Medlen and Edison Volquez but nevertheless they will surely look to make a run of their own. With a strong offseason from the White Sox and an already tough Tigers team, look for them to take a shot at the wildcard regardless. You can bet that James Shields will be missed.
The Cleveland Indians were looking to turn things around last season by adding Terry Francona but their season wasn’t something to scream about. Their only bright spots really were Corey Kluber and Micheal Brantley who had remarkable seasons. Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana struggled enormously at the plate and Danny Salazar wasn’t able to perform to what was expected of his capabilities. Look for Jason Kipnis to dominate once again at second base and for the Indians to make some big moves to either offload their top talents for prospects or vice versa if they believe they have a chance to compete. Brandon Moss could be an offseason steal for the Indians.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox became a very exciting team and the reason why is because of their additions of David Robertson, Jeff Samardzija and Melky Cabrera. These additions will help their team enormously as they get a much improved and proven closer, a solid addition to their outfield and a great RHP arm to work behind Chris Sale. This team has become a strong force with Jose Abreu leading the way and Zach Duke and David Robertson could be an unstoppable combo believe it or not. Look for Alexi Ramirez to slow down from last season and Adam Eaton to continue to improve at the top of the lineup. The White Sox actually made the best moves in my opinion but getting to the postseason will be a challenge they are willing to accept.
There isn’t much to say about the Twins as they have been quietly doing their thing. They added Ervin Santana to their rotation and brought back former Twin Torii Hunter. These two additions could produce big numbers but whether that will the case is to be determined. It is fair to say they will likely be left at the bottom of the division once again. Look for Joe Mauer to have a much better season as the full time first baseman and for Danny Santana to try and replicate a great first season. Don’t expect top prospect in the MLB Byron Buxton to make the big leagues right out of spring training.
Los Angeles Angels
Mike Trout. Mike Trout. Mike Trout. That is probably what you are thinking about but don’t worry you aren’t the only one. The Angels remain a strong team with young arms Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker and Tyler Skaggs coming off strong seasons respectively behind Jarred Weaver and CJ Wilson (whatever is left of him). The Angels had a nice surprise from Albert Pujols last season and when he is healthy he can really help the Angels. Jason Grilli will play his first whole season for the Angels as their closer and is a underrated closer in the league. Look for Angels to be in the thick of the playoff race despite losing Howie Kendrick in the offseason. Mike Trout should be highly considered for MVP once again.
The Oakland Athletics make Oakland Athletics like moves this offseason. Billy Beane seems up to be his good old tricks and we shouldn’t be considering them out of the race at all. Though he lost Moss, he got Billy Butler and Ike Davis to fill his shoes at first base and DH. Losing Donaldson was the biggest surprise but his team has got younger with Sean Nolin and Brett Lawrie coming his way. Ben Zobrist and Tyler Clippard are very solid additions and his surplus of talented prospects will make him one move away from being a serious contender if he chooses. I mean it wasn’t until the deadline when people were calling them favourites after the huge trade with the Cubs. Though Lester’s ace like qualities and Cespedes power will be missed from last season, look for them to be battling for a playoff spot too and for Brett Lawrie to have a bounce back year after all not playing on the turf anymore.
I have just mentioned how the Angels and Athletics will be fighting for a playoff spot so where do the Mariners fall in to all of this? Well there are two wildcard spots up for grabs and they have to be considered favourites for one of them if the division is not theirs. Nelson Cruz is a HUGE acquisition for the Mariners, as his offence will just make their lineup a threat with Cano doing Cano things. King Felix will be hungry for a playoff spot and Ishikawa if healthy should not be forgotten about. Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano will be part of the new outfield they feature. Watch for Kyle Seager to improve on his career season and make a name for himself as the kid who just signed a 7-year deal this offseason.
Remember when the Rangers were considered a threat in the AL West? There is no point of beating around the bush here; the Rangers aren’t looking very good. To their defense they dealt with the most injuries last season and really were hopeless with minor leaguers getting their chance to play some big league baseball. Their rotation is the main issue going into the season and other than Yu Darvish and new addition Yovanii Gallardo whats after? Colby Lewis? Holland? Harisson? That’s an issue because there are many question marks still in the air. Prince Fielder will look to join forces with Adrian Beltre to lead his team offensively and Jurickson Profar will finally look to play a full season after being considered a top prospect in the Rangers system for many years now. Look for the Chin Soo Choo to continue to struggle and for the Rangers to miss Alex Rios’s contribution in the lineup. Surprisingly the Rangers look very weak at the catcher’s position.
The Houston Astros have an MVP. Well maybe not officially but they have some mad talent and it all begins with Jose Altuve. I might be more appreciative of his talents because of my height being similar and having felt I couldn’t be good at baseball because of it. Altuve played at an MVP caliber level and there is no reason to believe he won’t do the same once again. A full season of George Springer and Chris Carter on the way and many more prospects such as Mark Appel could make for a fun team to watch. Don’t expect them to contend but a solid bullpen and some bright talent will be able to put some win streaks together here and there. Look for Colby Rasmus to continue to lack plate discipline and strike out at an alarming rate.
Let’s not waste any time here, the Nationals are considered World Series favourites and they might very well be champions next year. The Nationals signed Max Scherzer to join what has already proven to be a very great pitching staff. The Nationals who were postseason bound last season (completely owning the division) and my prediction to win it all going into the playoffs will continue to outperform their division rivals. Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg will continue to be leaders and players like Fister, Span and Zimmerman will contribute to give the team the favourite title they have. Look for the Nationals to be caught under the hype early on in the season and for the team to make a move for a closer before the season starts. It will be interesting to watch what they do with two shortstops on their roster in Yunnel Escobar and Ian Desmond one of which could be moved during the season. The Nationals are one of two teams to never make the World Series so is this finally their year?
I have become accustomed to seeing the Braves in the playoffs year after year. This wont be the case this year as the team looks to be in somewhat of a rebuilding mode. The Braves lost Heyward, Gattis and Justin Upton this offseason and their outfield doesn’t look very promising despite the addition of Nick Markakis who is getting up in age. It isn’t surprising that the Braves have inquired about Jackie Bradley Jr. of the Red Sox who seems to be the odd man out in Boston. Shelby Miller was a good addition but he finds himself in a vey questionable rotation. Look for the Braves to find some way to get rid of BJ Upton this season and for Craig Krimbel to be in a tight race with Chapman for the most saves this season.
New York Mets
Many would have expected the Mets to unload one or more of their starting pitchers this offseason for a shortstop. Given the state of their team they might be choosing to sit back and wait for their players to develop. Matt Harvey’s season ending injury was unfortunate but he should be back and ready to contribute in a tremendous manner. Jacob Degrom and Zach Wheeler will be playing a full season and can have a nice impact on the win total for the Mets. Curtis Granderson really struggled but the addition of Michael Cuddyer should be pleasant for their outfield. They will be an exciting team to watch in the years to come.
If you learned anything last season you would have learned that Giancarlo Stanton crushes baseballs. Well the good news is that he still does and if he does the Marlins can be considered a strong team. Luckily he wont be carrying the load as additions of Dee Gordon, Michael Morse, Matt Latos and even Ichiro Suzuki will help this team which was close to contention last season. The return of Jose Fernandez wont be until July or so but it could be right in time to make a solid push for a wild card spot if the team can have a strong start in a weak division. I was hoping to see Shields sign with the Marlins but regardless expect them to be a sleeper this year assuming they can remain healthy competing for a Wild Card. Look for Henderson Alvarez to have some complete game shutouts here and there.
The Phillies are a mess. For some reason they still have Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Ryan Howard. Other than moving Marlon Byrd they have been a disappointment because they are due for a serious rebuild and they seem to be waiting until they get what they want in return for these players. Having not traded them yet could be either because of salary or asking price. With Howard’s ridiculous salary it is likely because the Phillies aren’t willing to eat up as much as teams would like. His production isn’t close to what he used to be when he was in his prime but his pop could help out teams in the East looking for a buy-low DH hitter. Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels can both be aces on different teams and should be in demand. Given their potential, salary and age the asking price of multiple prospects might not be ideal for several teams. Regardless, teams like the Red Sox will continue to be interested and the Phillies will need to get rid of these arms sooner than later. Jonathon Papelbon has had attitude problems and has disrespected fans on several occasions and the fact he is still there is surprising. Once again he is the case of someone who may be talented but has an ugly salary. Look for the Phillies to finish with the worst record in the league.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are a very strong team from top to bottom and anything less than a division title this season would be considered a failure. Their rotation features Adam Wainright at the top and has young arms Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn right behind. John Lackey had a phenomenal season last season and was traded to the Cardinals at the deadline. Matt Adams is an up and comer at first base and young players like Kolten Wong and recently acquired Jason Heyward have a high ceiling above them. We must not forget about the man behind the plate. In my opinion Yadier Molina is the best catcher in baseball and his numbers speak for themselves. All these together make a team who will be competing not only for a division title but a World Series championship. Losing Oscar Traveras was a big loss as his future in a Cardinals jersey was going to be a good one but what happens and the Cardinals will remain hungry and have prospects ready to make an impact once again. Look for Carlos Martinez to have a great year whether he is in the rotation or coming out of the bullpen.
Losing Russell Martin was not what they were hoping for but they were able to keep long time ace Fransico Liriano. AJ Burnett is coming back but hasn’t been at the same level since he left Pittsburgh. Gregory Polanco made his major league debut and given his potential put together with other young players like Gerrit Cole and Josh Harrison the team should be able to remain competitive. After all they still have one of the best players in CF but he will need help to carry the team. Pedro Alvaraz will be hoping for a bounce back season this year. Look for the Pirates to drop off in terms of wins but be in the talk for Wild Card race in the National League.
The Brewers had to be the biggest surprise last season. They led the NL Central for 149 games but ultimately fell short at the end of the race. Carlos Gomez was phenomenal last season and there is no question to whether he can continue to produce at a high level. I was surprised to see Matt Garza going to the Brewers last season but he proved me wrong because he found himself being a part of a solid rotation with Willy Peralta and Kyle Lohse. Though long time Brewer Yovani Gallardo is now a member of the Rangers, Mike Fiers will play a big part of the rotation. Ryan Braun was out for majority of the season and his return combined with talented shortstop Jean Segura who had a off season and outfielder Khris Davis with unlimited power potential makes another fun team to watch. Jonathon Lucroy can’t be forgotten because he had a career season and posed to be a threat in the lineup behind Carlos Gomez who were both considered for MVP at the end of the season. The addition of Adam Lind should provide dividends against RHP and re-signing Francisco Rodriguez or acquiring a closer would be the last thing they will need to do to remain competitive next season. Look for the Brewers to be hungry for a postseason appearance and for the Brewers to play even better next season giving the Pirates a hard time in the race for a playoff spot.
What happened to the Reds? The same Reds team with Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. Well they are still there actually so why haven’t they been mentioned in the playoff picture? The Reds had a disappointing season despite bright spots from Jonny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman before his scary injury. Brandon Phillips numbers have dropt down dramatically and Joey Votto has dealt with injuries. Despite his ability to get on base vey often it hasn’t been good enough to lead his team. Homer Bailey has pitched some great games but the rotation hasn’t been consistent. Alfredo Simon and Matt Latos will be missed and it seems that the Reds will need to begin rebuilding sooner than later. Look for Cueto to have a great season in his contract year and for the Reds to consider dealing Chapman if the return is too good to turn down. It has been a relatively quiet season for the Reds and it seams like they will remain relatively quiet not making too much noise when it comes to the playoffs given their tough division featuring the new look Cubs and the usual contenders.
You could argue the Padres were the loudest team this offseason but nobody can argue the Cubs made the largest moves. The Cubs are finally a serious contender after breaking the bank and signing John Lester to a monster deal. His pitching alone is going to take the team to another level because the Cubs haven’t had a true ace in a long time. His outstanding numbers in the postseason are a whole other story but getting there will be the first step. Other than signing John Lester the addition of Joe Madden as the new manager will be overlooked. Joe Madden proved to be one of the best managers with his time in Tampa Bay and if there is any manager you want to help turn around a big playoff drought, Maddon is the man. Jesus Montero will be a solid catcher for the Cubs and the return of Jason Hammel can be a big move if he can return to his form from the beginning of the season before being dealt to the Athletics. Above all the spotlight will be on the young prospects for the Cubs who will make their Cubs debut including Kris Bryant who can easily win ROY in my opinion if he gets to the major leagues really quickly. Jason Motte and Dexter Fowler will also fit in nicely with the Cubs. Look for the Cubs to get a lot of attention this season and for them to make a serious run at the playoffs in the near future.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are living the Hollywood life. They are going into 2015 with one of the best rotations, a young talented outfield and a new infield. I mean any team with Kershaw alone has to be a huge threat and then to have Grenkie, Ryu and then some is just making them even more dangerous. The departure of Matt Kemp will hopefully clear way for Doc Pederson their talented outfield prospect who is ready to play full time in the outfield next to none other than Yasiel Puig who hasn’t showed signs of slowing down productively. The new infield featuring Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick will be productive and though they lost some speed in Dee Gordon, the two additions should be able to get on base and score enough runs to build a lead enough for the rotation. Kenley Jansenn will begin the season on the DL so look for the Dodgers to look for trades and if not for the next man up to fill the shoes. The Dogers still have to be favourites in the West and look for them to battle in out with the Giants in the good old rivalry.
San Francisco Giants
3 championships in a span of 5 years. That is not a joke or a laughing matter. The Giants always seem to do their thing when nobody really pays attention. When hearing about the favourites to win you likely hear of other teams and even their division rival Dodgers because of the best pitcher Kershaw but you never really hear the Giants. This shouldn’t be the case because they have one a championship team needs, a solid staff with a bonified ace, one of the best catchers in baseball, a legit bullpen and solid players up and down the lineup who contribute when their name is called. Madison Bumgargner was lights out in the postseason and the return of Matt Cain will make the rotation even better. Losing Pablo Sandoval will be a big loss offensively but Casey McGhee will hit for a high average. Nori Aoki went from the World Series runner up Royals to the champions and will help the Giants by being a solid lead off hitter who can stay healthy. Sergio Romo may not be himself but as long as Santiago Casilla can shut em’ down in the 9th inning everything will be fine. Tim Hudson surprising had a very nice season and the Giants were able to keep their rotation intact by sighing Volgesong and Peavy this offseason. Look for the Giants to postseason bound some way or another if they can stay healthy and for Hunter Pence to continue to be one of the most underrated players in the league.
The Diamondbacks made a lot of noise at the beginning of the offseason by signing Yasmany Thomas and trading for Jeremy Hellickson. There was and continues to be a lot of hype around Thomas who has yet to play his first game in the major leagues. What is interesting is he will be playing 3B instead of OF which was his natural position before signing. The Diamondbacks have some good talent with Paul Goldscmidh leading the way as one of the premier first baseman’s in all of baseball. Unfortunately there isn’t much more to say than that they are not ready and suited to play postseason baseball soon. Look for Mark Trumbo to be traded before the deadline to a contending team looking for a player with potential to drive in many runs.
San Diego Padres
If I was trying to save best for last I would have but this is as good as it gets when it comes to the offseason acquisitions by the San Diego Padres. The Padres managed to literally change their whole team around this offseason. Before this season nobody really talked about the Padres but now people are talking about them more than ever. GM A.J. Preller may be considered a hero in San Diego but we must remember the price he paid wasn’t cheap for the trades he made in terms of top prospects and the money he put up was a lot to attract the free agents away from the other teams in the league. We also must not forget that all these moves were great and all but the Padres are counting on a lot of things to work out for them. Though they may look much stronger on paper they still find themselves in a division with the Dodgers and Giants. I have to admit I am impressed with what the Padres have been able to do but as a Blue Jay fan I living up to the hype is not an easy to do. The signing of James Shields was the icing on the cake for the Padres who will certainly can expect a pitcher with a lot of grit and fight who will go after batters and keep the team in the game for as long as possible. The Padres should be happy they didn’t deal Cashner and Ross last season when they were looking to bring in prospects because they are really good arms that will make the rotation a tough one to beat. If there was a winner to the offseason the Padres would win hands down but look for the results to be half as impressive as the moves this season.
The Rockies have been pretty quiet this offseason but they head into another season with the formidable “two” players, Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. The question marks about their health will always be there and regardless if they remain healthy or not, the Rockies don’t have the pieces necessary to make a run at the postseason. The Rockies are literally a push of the button away from rebuilding by trading these two guys and they can be more than certain to receive a lot in return. Despite the performance of the Rockies, Tulowitzki will continue to make his mark as one of the best shortstops in baseball. Look for the Rockies to continue to engage in talks for their two superstars. There’s not much to watch here but I would love to see Tulowitzki end up in pinstripes somehow.
My Playoff Predictions:
AL East – Toronto Blue Jays
AL Central – Detroit Tigers
AL West – Seattle Mariners
AL Wild Card – Los Angeles Angels
NL East – Washington Nationals
NL Central – St. Louis Cardinals
NL West – Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Wild Card – San Francisco Giants
World Series Champions – Washington Nationals (I predicted them last year too!)
Bold Predictions and Things to Watch
- Jose Abreu wins AL MVP
- Andrew McCutchen wins NL MVP
- Masahiro Tanaka wins AL CY Young
- Madison Bumgarner wins NL CY Young
- Delin Betances and Yordon Ventura take the next step
- Noah Syndegard makes highly touted debut
- Aaron Sanchez becomes a starter for the Blue Jays
- The Return of Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez
- Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels get traded
- The end of BJ Upton
- Dee Gordon looks to repeat as steals champion
- Yoan Moncada the next Robinson Cano according to some scouts
- Talks of Tampa Bay moving to Montreal revamp once again