Welcome to Part 1 of my 2018 MLB Free Agent and Trade Predictions. Free agency has been off to a slow start, but it’s far from over. Players like 1B Eric Hosmer, SP Jake Arrieta, SP Yu Darvish, and 3B Todd Frazier will eventually be signed. But where will they go? That’s the biggest question, and I’m about to try to answer it. Today I will be predicting landing spots for the MLB’s best pitchers on the market.
Photo Credit: ESPN (ESPN updates the player photos when players sign with new teams, so once the off-season is over, you will be able to check back and see how I did. It currently shows the player’s most recent team)
Prediction: Baltimore Orioles, 4 years, $92 million
It would be crazy if Arrieta returned to Baltimore, but I think he’s a great fit. The O’s have serious rotation problems. They lack depth and they need an ace, and this helps resolve both of those problems. But Arrieta won’t be able to fix the Orioles rotation alone. They’ll need to sign a 5th starter to complete the rotation behind Arrieta, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, and Mike Wright/Alec Asher.
Prediction: San Francisco Giants: 2 years, $19 million
After the retirement of Matt Cain and the departure of Matt Moore, the Giants need some depth in the rotation behind Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, and Jeff Samardzija. Cashner will help do that as the Giants try to rebound from a rough season where they finished last in the NL West. However, more starters might not be enough to get the Giants into the playoffs and continue their even year success.
Prediction: Chicago White Sox, 3 years, $42 million
There have been a lot of rumors about Cobb going to the Cubs, but I think the White Sox could also use an elite veteran starter as an influence for the younger guys. The White Sox could also use one more starter in case one of the younger guys struggles. I know the White Sox are in rebuild mode, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go out and sign a couple veterans to help their cause. That will be a theme throughout this series.
Prediction: Chicago Cubs: 5 years, $135 million
Darvish is another pitcher that the Cubs have been chasing after this off-season, and I do think they’ll pursue him. He will be Arrieta’s replacement in the rotation. But after playing the role of #2 starter on both Texas and LA last season behind Cole Hamels and Clayton Kershaw, respectively, can he step it up and become a reliable ace again?
Prediction: San Francisco Giants, 2 years, $17 million
Garza will also add depth to San Francisco’s rotation in an effort to bounce back from their rough season. With the additions of Cashner and Garza, their rotation will have a strong group of five veteran starters to guide the pitching staff.
Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals, 3 years, $33 million
After the departure of Lance Lynn and Mike Leake, the Cardinals will need another pitcher in the rotation. Alex Reyes should be in the rotation this year, but Jimenez will be the mid-rotation starter they need. As the Cardinals hope to return to the playoffs this year, they will need another veteran starter.
Prediction: Kansas City Royals, 2 years, $32 million
I still think Lackey has a couple more years left in the tank, and despite the fact that the Royals are trying to rebuild, I think they could use a veteran starter to top off the rotation. They have a lot of young talent in the lineup, but I don’t know if all their pitching prospects are major league ready yet. They might need a couple more years, and that’s where Lackey comes in.
Prediction: Miami Marlins, 2 years, $27 million
The Marlins need a couple more veteran starters to add to the depth of their rotation, even in rebuild mode. Lynn will help fill that role as well as Chris Tillman, who I also think will be signed by Miami.
Prediction: Miami Marlins, 3 years, $30 million
Tillman will also help add depth to the Miami rotation. Neither will get more than a few years though because by then, there will be more pitching prospects ready to join the rotation.
Prediction: San Diego Padres, 4 years, $62 million
The Padres could use a veteran influence in the rotation as well. Vargas had a career year last year, but can he repeat that? Either way, Vargas will be a leader in the Padres young rotation and he will be a role model for the younger starters on the rise.
Jesse Chavez (OAK, 3 years, $18 million)
R.A. Dickey (TEX, 2 years, $11 million)
Scott Feldman (TOR, 1 year, $7 million)
Jaime Garcia (NYY, 4 years, $26 million)
AJ Griffin (LAA, 1 year, $4.5 million)
Jeremy Hellickson (BAL, 2 years, $10 million)
Francisco Liriano (COL, 3 years, $24 million)
Wade Miley (TB, 3 years, $31.5 million)
Ricky Nolasco (MIN, 2 years, $15 million)
Hector Santiago (DET, 2 years, $17 million)
Prediction: Cleveland Indians, 2 years, $11 million
Blanton will add depth to the Indians bullpen. He will likely be their 7th inning guy or set up man if they sign him. They have signed Alexi Ogando and Evan Marshall to minor league deals, but in case those two don’t come through, I think the Indians will sign Blanton as a safe veteran option.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Pirates, 4 years, $28 million
The Pirates have good depth in the bullpen, but they need a closer and set-up guys who can lead the bullpen. Will Clippard be able to handle the role of closer? That is what must be found out. Pittsburgh might need to go for another late-inning reliever to help him out. Maybe they’ll even resign set-up man Joaquin Benoit.
Prediction; Detroit Tigers, 1 year, $6 million
Grilli might be determined to keep pitching, but I doubt he was more than one or two more years left in the tank. I think Detroit will sign him as a closer until they find a younger replacement, which they will need as they enter rebuild mode.
Prediction: Milwaukee Brewers, 5 years, $42.5 million
The Brewers are another team that could use a closer/late inning reliever, and Holland is a great fit in Milwaukee. Although they have been off to a slow start, expect the Brewers to be active buyers this off-season as they prepare to make a playoff run.
Prediction: Los Angeles Angels, 3 years, $19.5 million
Hoover will be the late-inning reliever the Angels need. He will assist others like Cam Bedrosian to finish off games. The Angels may want a top tier closer like Greg Holland, but the combination of Hoover and Bedrosian may just do the trick.
Prediction: Cincinnati Reds, 3 years, $16.5 million
After the departures of Drew Stanton (who I do think the Reds will also resign), Tony Cingrani, and J.J. Hoover, the Reds need depth in the bullpen and late-inning relievers to finish off the game. This is the year where the Reds could start contending, and Logan will help their case. He will be a part of their revised late-inning staff and add depth to the pen.
Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies, 2 years, $8 million
The Phillies will sign Norris as a reliever, but knowing that he has started in the past, I wouldn’t rule out a role in the Phillies rotation for him. If they sign him, he will make the roster either as another starter or someone to add depth to the bullpen, but will he beat out the younger players and make the rotation?
Prediction: Atlanta Braves, 3 years, $18 million
The Braves could use a reliever to set the stage for closer Arodys Vizcaino, and that’s what Street would be here for. In general, the Braves could use some more veteran relievers to add depth to the bullpen so this signing will kill two birds with one stone.
My Prediction: Arizona Diamondbacks, 4 years, $30 million
The D-Backs lost a couple of their veteran relievers to free agency and trades, and I just feel that Watson would fit in well in Arizona. Throughout the last couple of years, the Diamondbacks have lost J.J. Hoover, Evan Marshall, and David Hernandez. They already lacked depth in the bullpen with those guys on board, so they need it now more than ever.
Joaquin Benoit (PIT, 3 years, $20 million)
David Hernandez (ARZ, 2 years, $15 million)
Zach Putnam (CWS, 3 years, $22.5 million)
Addison Reed (BOS, 2 years, $14 million)
Drew Storen (CIN, 2 years, $17.5 million)
That’s all for Part 1 of my MLB Hot Stove predictions. Check back soon for Part 2, where I talk about catchers and infielders.
The trade deadline is coming up. Buyers and sellers have been determined. Who will make the biggest deals of the weekend?
Well, I made a few trade predictions this week, and here are a few of the most likely trades.
HM: Yonder Alonso to the Yankees for Chase Headley and a prospect
The A’s and Yankees will both be busy at the deadline. The A’s will continue to sell while the Yankees try to become the best team in the AL East. This trade does make sense. The Yanks get a strong first baseman for veteran infielder Headley and some prospects. The Yankees won’t need Headley with Frazier at third and Alonso at First. It would make sense for the Yanks to also get Sonny Gray in this trade, but I can see them going after a different pitcher.
5. Yu Darvish to the Yankees for 2 pitching prospects
Yup, the Yankees aren’t done after the Frazier and Alonso trades. Yu Darvish did put ten teams on his no-trade clause, including the Rockies and Red Sox, but the Yankees were not on that list. The Rangers are done at this point. Time to sell. Darvish should give the Yankees rotation a much needed boost. With Pineda hurt, the rotation needs some more depth.
4. Sonny Gray to the Rockies for 2 prospects
I would be shocked if Gray is still in Oakland by the end of the day on Monday. The A’s need to rebuild, and there are other teams that need him more. The Rockies have a fine young rotation, but a veteran mentor to boost the rotation would be helpful to this contending Rockies club. The Rockies are likely in contention at this point, I do not see them as pretenders. The Rockies just acquired reliever Pat Neshek, it’s time to upgrade the rotation next.
3. Yangervis Solarte to the Cardinals for 3 prospects
The Padres have some young talent that can eventually lead their team. But first, they have to get rid of the veterans. It’s good to have veteran mentors, and they should hold on to Wil Myers, but Solarte has value in the market, and they can add to their farm system if they dish him off to teams like St. Louis or Boston. Sure, the Cardinals are on the buyer/seller line, but they have done well lately and should bolster their team.
2. Edinson Volquez to the Brewers for Jonathan Villar and a prospect
Once again, the Marlins came in with a nice team and ended up failing to push their record over .500 leading up to the deadline. Time to sell, again. The last few years, this team has sold at the deadline, but been active in the off-season to improve their roster. They still haven’t had their breakthrough year. The Brewers are looking to chase the Cubs in the NL Central. Without a trade, they could fall out of it. The Marlins will trade at least one pitcher before the deadline, and I think Volquez will fit in in Milwaukee.
1. Khris Davis to the Nationals for 2 prospects
The A’s still have more good trade nuggets after these three trades. The Athletics need to rebuild. They are out of it. Gray, Alonso and Davis have a lot of value in the market and should all be traded. Lowrie may even be dished away. The Nats need an outfielder with Eaton and Werth on the 60 day DL and Eaton done for the year. They have some nice young outfielder, but a veteran who can hit for power is needed in Washington. I actually thought Davis might be a nice trade target for the Red Sox back when JBJ was struggling, but the Nats need an outfielder much more.
So, the trade deadline is tomorrow. Which of these deals will be done? Will there be more than this? Find out tomorrow. I will also be updating the Red Sox’s situation at the deadline tomorrow on sportalk.com, where I will start interning tomorrow. If you are looking for a good experience to start your career in sports, apply to SPORTalk now.
It’s just a couple of hours until the first full day of regular season games starts, and I’m here to get you ready. Sure, you may have have seen my MLB Preview, but this is a condensed, more accurate version. I even have some bold predictions for the season. Let’s get started.
Boston Red Sox 91-71
Toronto Blue Jays 86-76
Tampa Bay Rays 82-80
New York Yankees 76-86
Baltimore Orioles 72-90
The Red Sox made a good move starting Travis Shaw over Pablo Sandoval, and Hanley Ramirez has adjusted well to first. This lineup is new and improved, and ready to take over a weak but tight division. Even if the rotation behind David Price is a concern, their bullpen makes up for it.
I just don’t believe the Blue Jays can function without better pitching. When they lost David Price and LaTroy Hawkins, it was back to square one. The Rays made some good off season improvements but their lineup still lacks power, and the Yankees are just getting too old to be good anymore. Starlin Castro was a good first step. Lastly, the O’s don’t have anything to convince me. Their outfield is seconds away from shattering, and after Miguel Gonzalez’s release, their rotation is still short a pitcher. So it looks like easy pickings for the Red Sox, even if they’re a shaky team.
Kansas City Royals 93-69
Detroit Tigers 89-73 (WC)
Chicago White Sox 87-75
Minnesota Twins 78-84
Cleveland Indians 74-88
The Royals cannot be beaten in this division, it just won’t happen. With a strong lineup and balanced rotation, they’re not going down. They will be closely challenged however as the Tigers and White Sox improve. They still have weak areas more than the Royals, but they will compete for wild card spots. They made key signings like Justin Upton and Austin Jackson that take their teams to the next level.
The Indians aren’t horrible like I said but can’t compete in a tough division after such a quiet off season.
The Twins have a reborn lineup but the pitching can’t support young sensations Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano yet. This division is up for grabs beyond Kansas City, but the Royals have first place locked up.
Texas Rangers 95-67
Houston Astros 88-74 (WC)
Seattle Mariners 81-81
Oakland Athletics 76-86
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 68-94
Alright, at least I have the Astros in the playoffs. I just believe that the Rangers have more than Houston. The Astros don’t even have a starting first baseman, and their young rotation is inconsistent. The Rangers probably have the best trio of batters in the AL with Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus. They have some good lineup improvements to support their lineup this off season and their rotation is completely revamped and healthy.
The Mariners went on a full shopping spree this off season, but they didn’t necessarily fill their main holes, so they’ll only be mediocre. The Athletics are only slightly improved, and the Angels clearly aren’t going anywhere with such an inconsistent rotation and lineup. So this division will be a tight dogfight between the Rangers and Astros with the Mariners in the wild card bidding.
Wild Card: Tigers over Astros
ALDS: Red Sox over Royals
Rangers over Tigers
ALCS: Rangers over Red Sox
Washington Nationals 93-69
New York Mets 90-72 (WC)
Miami Marlins 83-79
Philadelphia Phillies 67-95
Atlanta Braves 64-98
Yes, in my modified predictions, the Mets make the playoffs. I have always underrated them so maybe if I predict a wild card, they’ll win the division. Even though I usually overrate the Nationals above them, the Nats have a case this year with an improved lineup, and strong rotation. Who needs Jordan Zimmermann when you have Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez?
The Marlins have the next best chance but are still working on a weak bullpen, and the Phillies and Braves have absolutely no chance and have practically abandoned their teams for the year. So that leaves the Mets and Nats to have the best battle yet. I say they both make the playoffs and lose in the NLDS. What do you think?
Chicago Cubs 97-65
St. Louis Cardinals 91-71 (WC)
Pittsburgh Pirates 88-74
Cincinnati Reds 73-89
Milwaukee Brewes 69-93
With the exception of maybe last year, this Cubs team is by far the best Cubs team of the century. They are favorites to win the World Series, and will not be stopped in this division. The Pirates and Cards still had good off seasons, but have tapered off from last season’s teams. They have lost many of their best like Neil Walker, Lance Lynn (temporarily) and Jason Heyward. They will only compete for the playoff spots behind Chicago.
The Brewers and Reds are both in rebuilding stages after making a splash in 2013 and 2014. They are two of the worst teams in the league and will not compete for this division in any way, shape or form.
Los Angeles Dodgers 92-70
Arizona Diamondbacks 87-75
San Diego Padres 86-76
San Francisco Giants 86-76
Colorado Rockies 63-99
The Dodgers still rule this division even after a weak off season. The Giants are overrated and young, the D-Backs just aren’t ready yet, and the Padres are a big sleeper but have the potential to be a bust as well. LA has a strong rotation with great depth and despite numerous injuries, the Dodgers’ spot starters are happy to help, and they do. The Rockies have done a minimal amount of improvements, and I don’t see them going anywhere. Their rotation is a mess, and they have such big holes at positions like first base that they’ll have to call up players off of the 40-man roster.
Wild Card: Mets over Cardinals
NLDS: Dodgers over Nationals
Cubs over Mets
NLCS: Cubs over Dodgers
World Series: Rangers over Cubs
10 Bold Predictions for the 2016 Season
Former Mariners Smoak and Saunders both bat above .270
Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders’ contributions in Seattle have not yet showed up on the Blue Jays. I say they both have comeback years and Smoak earns his job back from Chris Colabello easily. After a .273 avergage in 2014, Saunders batted just .194 in ’15 in just 9 games played. Saunders missed most of the year. Smoak has never put up that good of stats, but he has a chance to rebound from the last two years, as he sucked in 2014.
Starlin Castro finally breaks through, as the Yankees star player
You can’t spell Starlin without Star. Year after year the Cubs have gotten their hopes up about the young shortstop. However, this young guy has showed his skills and I think he’s ready to fully breakthrough. I have this guy hitting between .310 and .320 with a personal best in average and dingers. Hopefully, he can adjust to the Yankees system and be strengthened by the Yanks.
White Sox and Tigers will each get at least 85 wins
Both teams sucked last season, what happened? They both made very bold moves in the off season, as I had said. The Tigers have a much better rotation in 2016, while the White Sox have revamped their lineup. They may not beat the Royals in the division race, but between the two of them, they could put on a big fight.
Eric Hosmer and Jason Heyward win MVPs
The Royals have had Hosmer his entire career and he’s just been a subpar star the whole time. When will he fully breakout and have a rampage season? 2016 of course. Hosmer’s stats have increased recently as he takes a lead role on the Royals. He is a well known veteran in Kansas City and it’s time that his name is known league-wide. Heyward meanwhile has developed really well and after a strong year with the Cardinals, he looks like a serious MVP candidate. He put up a career best .293 average last season. The Cubs have put him in a crucial role and Heyward’s ready to nail it.
Yu Darvish wins AL Comeback Player and AL CY Young
I have Yu Darvish winning both the AL Cy Young and AL Comeback Player of the Year. The guy looked outstanding in his rookie season and when he’s healthy, I think he could still do great things.
Mets infield hits 3 times more homers than Yoenis Cespedes
Between Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker, the Mets have made a splash in the infield. Add on David Wright and Lucas Duda, and you’ve got yourself the infield of a super-team. Between all those guys, I think they will hit 3 times the homers of Yoenis Cespedes. I think Cespedes will hit about 40 homers. However, I think each of the Mets infielders will hit 20-35 dingers this year. They have a lot of potential. That’s what potential can do.
Harrison and Freese combine for 70 dingers and Pirates only win 88 games
Yes, even with the Pirates winning just 88 games and missing the playoffs, I see the hitting doing surprisingly well this year. I have two mediocre guys combining for 70 taters, and one of them isn’t even a full time starter. That doesn’t even include Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte. The Pirates lineup is overpowered to an extreme level.
At least one Reds player comes in the Top 5 in the NL for AVG, HRs or ERA
There are many candidates on the team that could do this. Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, even Raisel Iglesias or Homer Bailey. But I think despite the Reds not being that good as a team, they have veteran players that can do big things when given the chance. The Reds had a somewhat healthy year last year, and I’m feeling it will happen again.
Giants run out of even-year luck, miss playoffs
Yes, the Giants don’t win the World Series in 2016, or even make the playoffs. The NL just has too many teams that are better this year. The Mets aren’t going to miss the playoffs even if the Nats beat them out in the NL East! That leaves the Cards, D-Backs, Pirates and Giants to fight over Wild Card #2. Compared to those three teams, the Giants look like garbage. Well what if they win the division? No way, not happening. The Dodgers are just too hard to beat even after such an empty off season, and if they don’t win, the D-Backs have a pretty good chance too.
Entire Dodgers rotation ends up with ERAs under 3.50
The Dodgers rotation is stacked. Despite injuries, it’ll start the season looking like this:
Even without Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy, that rotation is pretty overpowered. Kenta Maeda was a star in Japan and I think he can adjust, and if Scott Kazmir pitches like he did in Houston, then the Dodgers top 3 is ready to shut down the league. Hyun-Jin Ryu is efficient and powerful when he’s healthy, and Alex Wood can really pitch if they need him.
By the way, I actually have the Dodgers winning the world series, but I wanted to show my Red Sox fandom on my Animoto account.
Alright, let’s dig in.
Boston Red Sox 92-70
Toronto Blue Jays 89-73
New York Yankees 85-77
Tampa Bay Rays 83-79
Baltimore Orioles 74-88
I have the Red Sox bouncing back from an ugly season and going from worst to first once again. The Red Sox were even bolder than they were last off season, acquiring Craig Kimbrel from the Padres, despite giving up former #3 and #7 prospects Manuel Margot and Javier Guerra. Then they signed AL Cy Young runner up David Price to a seven year, 217 million dollar deal. They also signed Chris Young to a two year deal and traded Wade Miley for relievers Roenis Elias and Carson Smith. They now have a strong rotation front and a top closer, along with the powerful lineup the 2015 Red Sox provided.
Meanwhile I think the Blue Jays will stay strong even without their 2015 ace and closer (David Price & LaTroy Hawkins). They still have a strong lineup and some amazing prospects, and they acquired some new starters like J.A. Happ and Jesse Chavez, plus closer/set-up man Drew Storen. I think they still have some playoff relevance.
The Yankees meanwhile have done majority of their moves via trade. They acquired Starlin Castro for Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan, plus star closer Aroldis Chapman from Cincy. Having Chapman in New York will heat up the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry as the Sox acquired Kimbrel. The Yanks should be competitive in the division.
The Rays upgraded their pretty empty offense with Logan Morrison and Brad Miller. Centerfielder Desmond Jennings also will return from injury this season. Alex Cobb will also return. I think the Rays are still a little washed up in their lineup, but they have good defense and pitching.
Meanwhile I don’t think the Orioles’ acquistions are efficient. Mark Trumbo is not a full time starter, Hyun-Soo Kim might not be as good in America, and they still have a serious hole in the rotation. They already had a pretty bad team last year, they just made it a lot worse. The Orioles are by far the worst team in this division. Besides maybe the Rays, every other team in this division will still be in the playoff race at the beginning of September.
Detroit Tigers 93-69
Chicago White Sox 89-73
Kansas City Royals 89-73
Minnesota Twins 73-89
Cleveland Indians 68-94
This division’s teams have made many impact transactions but not every team that made an impact in free agency can do well, especially all in the same division.
The Tigers have really improved their pitching game and outfield to match the rest of their good teams. They signed Justin Upton, Mark Lowe, Mike Pelfrey and Jordan Zimmermann and have acquired Cameron Maybin and Justin Wilson via trade. They only gave up Ian Krol to trade and Alfredo Simon and Rajai Davis to free agency. Even after a bad season, I think that the top prospects and star players will combine to make a bad team in 2015 a great, powerful team that will make an impact in 2016.
Meanwhile the White Sox have also been very active in the hot stove. They’ve revamped their infield by trading for both Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie. Lawrie was a third baseman like Frazier but will play at second to make room for Todd Frazier. They still have a hole at shortstop though.
The Royals are still good, but are once again lacking a rotation. They also have a hole in the outfield unless Jarrod Dyson can step it up. So, they’ll compete, but they aren’t necessarily make the playoffs.
Meanwhile, I don’t think the Twins’ youth plus Byung-Ho Park is enough to bring a good season in the Twin Cities. The Indians haven’t done enough by getting Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis. So there are teams in the Central that aren’t competitive as well.
Texas Rangers 90-72
Seattle Mariners 87-75
Houston Astros 79-83
Oakland Athletics 78-84
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 71-91
I have the Texas Rangers at the top of this division. Look at their rotation. Personally, I think that both Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish are serious Cy Young candidates. The two ace-like pitchers are joined by wing man Derek Holland. They also have a powerful lineup with some guys like Josh Hamilton, Elvis Andrus, Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder who have a ton of potential.
The Mariners also made a lot of impact trades. Despite giving up Logan Morrison, Brad Miller, Roenis Elias and Carson Smith, they traded for Wade Miley, Joaquin Benoit, Jonathan Aro, Nathan Karns, Adam Lind, Leonys Martin and Luis Sardinas. They also signed closer Steve Cishek, outfielder Norichika Aoki and resigned King Felix’s trusty wing-man, Hisashi Iwakuma. So this is a pretty revamped team.
The Astros are also still a somewhat powerful, young team. Guys like Carlos Correa really stepped it up last year, and they signed some strong veterans like Doug Fister. Some veterans, like Mike Fiers and Carlos Gomez, are also playing their first full season in Houston and others like Brad Peacock are returning from injury this year. The Astros have a lot of potential but aren’t quite as good as the Mariners and Rangers.
There are teams worse than that though. The Athletics made some minor moves as usual, and they’ve recovered from some injuries to players, so they will be better, just not enough to make an impact. Jarrod Parker returns from Tommy John surgery, and hopefully the former star Coco Crisp can bounce back.
The Los Angeles Angels also will get C.J. Wilson back, but this team is in need of some serious luck. Craig Gentry and Daniel Nava must create an efficient platoon in left, the rotation is full of people who are either feast or famine or fresh off a breakout, and they still have serious problems at second.
So the AL West is competitive, but there is a wide division between the good teams, decent teams and bad teams.
Washington Nationals 93-69
New York Mets 87-75
Miami Marlins 77-85
Philadelphia Phillies 75-87
Atlanta Braves 66-96
The Nationals continue to improve their team. They got solid second baseman Daniel Murphy. They also got Ben Revere for their second unneeded closer Drew Storen. The Jays did need him. They already had a good team, now they have a great and healthy one built off Bryce Harper and star pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer.
The Mets also resigned Yoenis Cespedes and signed Asdrubal Cabrera for the first time. They additionally traded for Neil Walker. They have a strong rotation but still lack power in their lineup. They should be good, but not necessarily a playoff contender as there are much better wild card candidates in the NL.
The Marlins also have improved their pitching to match the lineup they revamped in 2015. But some of the guys like shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, utility Derek Dietrich and first baseman Justin Bour are still developing. At least they have Martin Prado and Don Kelly in the infield, and a pretty powerful, but somewhat old outfield.
The Phillies have gotten better as well. They’ve really improved their rotation, including the acquisition of veterans Jeremy Hellickson, Charlie Morton, Brett Oberholtzer and Vincent Velasquez. Bobby LaFramboise, Jerad Eickhoff, Luis Garcia and Jeanmar Gomez will lead the bullpen. They also have acquired Peter Bourjos to join Odubel Herrera and Cody Asche in the outfield. They have a stronger, more developed lineup and rotation, but still aren’t above .500 material.
Meanwhile, the Braves are much worse. They have some serious holes in the infield, despite acquiring Erick Aybar. Their pitching is worse, even more devastated despite signing minor league players Kyle Kendrick, Alexi Ogando and David Holmberg.
Chicago Cubs 96-66
St. Louis Cardinals 91-71
Pittsburgh Pirates 88-74
Cincinnati Reds 79-83
Milwaukee Brewers 65-97
The Cubs already had a good team last year with Kris Bryant and some other dominant young stars making it to the majors. This off season, the really stacked up. They already had Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, they inked John Lackey to a deal too. Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward also got deals in Chicago. This team now looks to be one of the most powerful MLB teams while still having a starting lineup that’s almost 50% MLB rookies or sophomores.
The Cardinals still have power in the division, but were fed on just like the 2014-15 Tigers were fed on by the Nationals. What I mean is that without any trades, one team is taking a lot of the Cardinals’ top 2015 free agents, that team is their division rival the Cubs. Their rotation is shorthanded without Lance Lynn and there outfield will miss Jason Heyward, Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos. Even Matt Holliday will hit free agency next season. However they have picked up Jedd Gyorko and Seung-Hwan Oh, and got some good insurance in Brandon Moss and Jonathan Broxton at the 2015 trade deadline. They also could still sign a big bat like Dexter Fowler, Austin Jackson or Ian Desmond.
The Pirates are clearly at loss after losing Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez, but with A.J. Burnett retiring, they stacked up on some pitchers. They acquired Jon Niese, A.J. Schugel and Kyle Lobstein, and signed Ryan Vogelsong. yet they still have thriving prospect Tyler Glasnow. Man, their pitching staff is stacked. They additionally signed slugger John Jaso. But in the end, compared to the Cards and Cubs, they aren’t too good.
The Reds even have some potential. I see potential in this rotation. Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen is who I think will make up the rotation. They could also sign a veteran like Tim Lincecum and let Finnegan or Lorenzen rest after Bailey’s return from Tommy John surgery. If not, Keyvius Sampson or John Lamb will have to start until then, unless Robert Stephenson is in the Opening Day rotation. This team also has some serious holes, and needs some better hitting from Billy Hamilton, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips. They desperately need a third baseman and an outfielder, and may have a ton of last minute signings if they don’t want to suck. Hey, maybe Scott Schebler takes the outfield, Jose Peraza platoons at third with Ivan DeJesus efficiently, and Homer Bailey comes back early and shines. Or they snag the older guys like Juan Uribe last minute.
The Brewers don’t look any better. Right now, Matt Garza and Wilin Peralta are their best pitchers, Will Smith is their closer, and they need some serious help in certain other positions. What are they going to do? Suck is what.
Los Angeles Dodgers 94-68
San Diego Padres 91-71
Arizona Diamondbacks 88-74
San Francisco Giants 84-78
Colorado Rockies 67-95
This division may surprise you a lot. The Giants put so much money into this off season, and they only go 84-78. The Padres have the season they were expecting a year ago. The D-Backs and Giants both miss the playoffs and are short of a 90-win season after acquiring or signing a combined four top 50 pitchers in the MLB, two apiece. The Dodgers still rule the division after all that drama. Finally, despite a strong rebuild, the Rockies still suck.
The Dodgers however also acquired some good pitchers in Kenta Maeda and Scott Kazmir. Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy will also return this season. They have a secure lineup with very few holes and a strong rotation.
But what happened to the even year luck in San Francisco? Pablo Sandoval brought it to Boston. Oh well, Giants, all that hard work and my Red Sox still get all the glory, with little to pay up at all.
The D-Backs are also looking better but do you honestly think they can win a division title with the lineup they have? Not happening.
MLB 2016 Postseason
Okay, okay, I might be getting a little carried away with the Padres doing so well, because the Cubs wouldn’t lose to them likely. Well here’s something I’ll throw at you, even though I have the Dodgers winning the World Series, I nearly considered the Nats to beat them in the NLDS. Bryce Harper is primed for a bigger breakout than even last year’s. I know I always overrate the Nats, and again, I could be wrong with the Nats even making the playoffs. The Mets could take their spot or San Diego’s. You may have actually noticed that I had the Sox over LA in the Animoto video, I was just showing my Red Sox fandom. But lets be honest here, the Dodgers rotation is by far better than the Red Sox’s. They also have a slight edge with their outfield.
Alright, now the AL. Again, I may be exaggerating with the White Sox, I did say the Tigers are ready to bounce back. Now I don’t have them winning a single playoff game. That’s up for debate. But especially if Chicago signs Ian Desmond, think about it. Jose Abreu, Brett Lawrie, Ian Desmond and Todd Frazier all in one infield. Not bad. I see potential for both sides. Again, Red Sox-Rangers could also be debatable, I just believe the Sox have a slight edge in the match-up and will simply win 3-2 in the ALDS. Besides that, I think I agree with my original instinct. What do you think?
Now its time to make my predictions for some MLB Awards in 2016.
Jose Bautista, RF, Blue Jays
This is just going to make Bautista way more valuable. Well, what’s my case? Bautista was injured for a good amount of 2015, and played through some of it. He had unsatisfactory results for much of the season. But 2016 is the year for Jose Bautista to bounce back. He didn’t have terrible results last year, but he definitely has room for improvement. When he gets heated up, he reaches MVP level.
Josh Donaldson, Nelson Cruz, Michael Brantley, Carlos Beltran, Xander Bogaerts
Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
I almost considered Joey Votto for MVP, but I just think that his team won’t support his relevance well enough. But Harper, he’s ready to dominate. Harper is fresh off a breakout season, and the 23-year old superstar is ready for another one. I also have him winning a very special award, which I’ll surprise you with at the end.
Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto, Giancarlo Stanton, Adrian Gonzalez, Jason Heyward
AL Cy Young Award
David Price, Red Sox
Price has a seven year deal with the Red Sox, so he’s pressured to do amazing. Besides, there aren’t many other good choices. Cole Hamels, maybe Dallas Keuchel. Guys like that don’t match up to Price at his best, which he wasn’t last year. I don’t think Detroit was the right fit for Price. Boston or Toronto, that’s another story. Price is ready to dominate this year.
Cole Hamels, Dallas Keuchel, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, Chris Archer, Yu Darvish
NL Cy Young Award
James Shields, Padres
You might say Jake Arrieta, Max Scherzer, Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw will win the NL Cy Young, but where’s the love for James Shields? Especially if the Padres have their long-awaited breakout year, Shields will be a legitimate competitor for the Cy Young. He put up stellar stats for the Royals, he just hasn’t really fit in to the Padres’ system, but I think he’s found a spot as their ace. He is ready to go back to all star form after only a subpar 2015.
Zack Greinke, Kenta Maeda, Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw
AL Rookie Of The Year
Byron Buxton, OF, Twins
I’m not as big of a believer in Buxton as most people, but look at the other options in the AL. Byung-Ho Park is typically someone who would be too old to typically be a ro0kie. But Buxton really is a prospect, he’s a typical rookie, he plays like a young rookie. He’s actually one of the best at it in the AL, and I admire that. Plus, I have some serious issues underrating Buxton.
Byung-Ho Park, Sean Nolin, Blake Snell, Gary Sanchez, Dylan Bundy
NL Rookie Of The Year
Corey Seager, SS/3B, Dodgers
Unlike Buxton, I see off the charts potential for this guy. He’s the younger brother of a star third baseman in the league, and he proved himself byputting up great numbers while playing in the majors for the end of last season. There has been so much hype for this kid and I believe it. If there was one Rookie Of The Year for all of the MLB, it would be Seager all the way.
Steven Matz, Tyler Glasnow, Trayce Thompson, Jose Peraza
AL Comeback Player Of The Year
Yu Darvish, SP, Rangers
Darvish has spent nearly two full seasons on the DL. Two years before even that, he was a great new MLB pitcher fresh out of Japan’s best bunch. Darvish put up outstanding stats in 2012 and 2013. I know he’ll never be able to do that again, he’s too old and crippled, but can he at least return to All Star form? I am a firm believer in Darvish and I’d like to see him try.
Justin Verlander, Pablo Sandoval, Jarrod Parker, Desmond Jennings
NL Comeback Player Of The Year
Matt Kemp, OF, Padres
Kemp was a superstar with the Dodgers. He’s old, but if he can do the same in San Diego, that would greatly benefit them. Right now, he’s just a washed up outfielder forced to start. But as the season progresses, I think he has potential to put up some all star stats.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy, Jon Niese, Travis Wood, Bartolo Colon
Triple Crown Award (NL)
Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
This is the big surprise we’ve been waiting for. Surprise, surprise, we have a Triple Crown winner! Guess who it is? Red hot, young Bryce Harper, already claiming the NL MVP. Harper is fresh of a long-awaited breakout and is ready to become an all time great in the MLB. A Triple Crown would really help his relevance, and I think he’s good enough to snag it at only age 23.
So that’s all for my MLB 2016 Preview. Comment with your thoughts.