Who knew having a full-time job working in the financial world of New York City could cramp a girl’s writing time so much? Sheesh! If I would have known working 9-5 was more than just a catchy song and would impede my energy to write sports opinion pieces, I would’ve never taken the job! Just kidding. I need money and as it turns out, working in finance in NYC is a pretty good gig.
With my new job came a lot less time to veg out watching sports. I can no longer stream Spring Training games during work, so my baseball consumption is limited to getting the scores on my fancy new Apple Watch that I could buy because I work in finance. JK, I could buy it before, but at least I don’t have to save up for, like, a month. ANYWAY. Before my tangent, my point was that I haven’t actually been able to watch a lot of baseball this spring, so my forthcoming column is going to be based on last season and the moves teams made over the winter. I’ll give you guys my goals for all of the teams and a quick analysis of how I think they will do in 2018.
So. Let’s get started shall we?
Baltimore Orioles: Well, they still have Manny Machado! But he could be gone (will be gone) by the trade deadline and I just don’t think they can compete with Boston and New York in the division. 2018 Goal: Finish above .500 and don’t botch the soon-to-be completed Machado trade.
Boston Red Sox: They may have lost Big Papi to retirement, but they reloaded with JD Martinez! I mean, it’s not the same and he isn’t as good as Papi, but he still brings a big bat to their line-up. They brought in a new manager to help clean up the clubhouse atmosphere, so that should help immensely. They finished first in the division last year, but are hoping to avoid the quick postseason flame out. 2018 Goal: Get to the ALCS and try not to get whooped by the Indians or the Yankees or the Astros or the….
New York Yankees: No one had a better off-season than New York and no one is expecting anything less than a World Series appearance. The Evil Empire is OFFICIALLY back! GM Brian Cashman was able to acquire super slugger Giancarlo Stanton for basically a New York bagel and tub of schmear and now the middle of the line-up could look like this: Judge, Stanton, Sanchez, Bird (when he is not injured, if that’s even possible). HOLY HECK. I feel bad for the opposing pitchers. 2018 Goals: Win the World Series, give me a pass to get on a float in the parade, and come up with a great nickname for the Stanton/Judge tandem.
Tampa Bay Rays: This team isn’t saying they are tanking, but they kind of are. With plans for a new stadium underway and a fan base who doesn’t actually show up to games, the poor Rays don’t have a heck of a lot to play for this season. The rotation will still be formidable, with Chris Archer as the anchor, but otherwise, I just can’t get excited about this team. 2018 Goal: Don’t accidentally kill a stingray with a homerun ball. Please.
Toronto Blue Jays: Toronto better hope it’s offense shows up this season, because it sure as heck didn’t show up last year. I feel like Toronto is a team that could really play spoiler for the Red Sox or the Yankees, but I don’t see them pulling a maple syrup-covered miracle out of their butts to win the division. 2018 Goals: Provide Josh Donaldson with enough do-dads for his hair and provide Troy Tulowitzcki with enough bubble wrap so he can’t injury himself.
Chicago White Sox: Sadly, I think White Sox fans are going to have to wait yet another year for their team to be any good. The ChiSox have one of the best farm systems in the game, but that won’t mean much to the fans watching the major league games. Maybe this would be a good year for White Sox fans to go for hikes or swim in your dyed green river or eat deep dish pizza. I dunno, whatever Chicago people do for fun. 2018 Goal: Buy a deep dish pizza for every White Sox fan – they deserve it, even though deep dish pizza is basically just pizza casserole.
Cleveland Indians: Cleveland will be good at baseball again this year, not that anyone in Cleveland will care until after basketball season is over and LeBron either resigns with the Cavs or leaves (plz go to Philly Bron Bron). The rest of us, however, should watch the Indians because they should be a darn fun team to watch (again). The AL Central isn’t great, so my guess is Cleveland will be able to rack up a large amount of wins without much difficulty. Will that translate into a trip to the World Series? Who knows. 2018 Goals: Go to the World Series and DON’T BLOW A 3-1 LEAD.
Detroit Tigers: You lost Justin Verlander, Justin Upton, JD Martinez, and have an aging Miguel Cabrera. Oofta. Yeah, Miggy can still mash baseballs, but he can’t save the Tigers all by himself. As long as they are in the same division as the Indians, these next few years could be a doozy. Focus on the rebuild and hope for the best. 2018 Goal: Let Miggy hit all the baseballs!!
Minnesota Twins: Okay, so most of my family lives in Minnesota, so I have every want and desire for the Twins to have a good season again. 2017 showed that they are a capable team, but I’m not so sure they can have repeated success. Byron Buxton is a joy to watch and all Twins fans should be excited by him. For the 2018 Twins, I say hope for the best, but don’t hope too hard. 2018 Goal: Get to the Wild Card game. That, my fine Northern friends, would be a good goal for this group of guys.
Kansas City Royals: Man, can you believe the Royals won the World Series in 2015? It seems like so long ago! Those poor Royals have taken such a nosedive in the last few years that it is hard for me to remember when they were the darlings of MLB. They were able to resign Mike Moustakas (at quite the bargain, might I add), but the rest of their core group of guys have signed elsewhere. It could be a long season in KC. 2018 Goal: Give The Moose some extra BBQ – y’all gave him a lame contract. The LEAST you could do is give him some good eats.
Houston Astros: Your 2017 World Series champs have one goal and one goal only: repeat. It’s pretty straightforward and they should have a pretty good shot. 2018 Goal: Lather (your glove), Rinse (the champagne out of your hair), Repeat (as World Series champions).
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: The Angels shocked everyone when they landed prized free agent Shohei Ohtani, a unicorn by baseball any baseball standards. Ohtani has been playing in Japan as not only a pitcher, but as a fairly good hitter as well. He’s been dubbed the “Japanese Babe Ruth” – that’s a lofty title to live up to! He hasn’t dazzled in Spring Training, and I personally found it odd that he signed with an American League team. With no regular at-bats, will he focus more on pitching? Who knows, but I do know that he is the most intriguing story line for the Angels. And that’s saying an awful lot considering they have the best baseball player on the planet in Mike Trout. 2018 Goal: Give away Trout-shaped hats to every kid at every game. The fish, not the man.
Oakland Athletics: For like, the third year in a row I have forgotten the A’s were even a team. Are they still in Oakland or are they moving to Las Vegas like the Raiders? They are a young team and will probably be better than last year, but I don’t really think they will be relevant. Sorry A’s fans. 2018 Goal: Don’t move to Las Vegas. Just don’t. Actually, no, I change my mind. PLEASE move to Las Vegas. It would put the gambling-hating MLB in the craziest position and I’d LOVE to see it.
Seattle Mariners: YOU GOT ICHIRO BACK! And you traded your whole roster away! Besides Ichiro and Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez, who actually still plays in Seattle? Do you know? I don’t. 2018 Goal: Send everyone in the country an updated roster sheet after every trade you make, because honestly, the American people just can’t keep up.
Texas Rangers: Welp, y’all still have Joey Gallo who is a rockstar and Adrian Beltre who is just a delight to watch (even after all these years!). What else do you need? Oh yeah, pitching and hitting. Huh. Funny how that works. 2018 Goal: Stay above .500. Just try. You can do it! I have faith in you!
Atlanta Braves: Atlanta is a team that will really benefit from a rather weak NL East. With the Nats being the only really good team in the division, the Braves have a chance to potentially rack up some wins. Are they in play for the Wild Card? Probably not this year, but they have some AMAZING young talent that is on the verge of making some serious noise. 2018 Goal: Try for the Wild Card! Why not? It’s good to dream big.
Miami Marlins: There is literally nothing good to say about this team this year, other than the fact that you guys have side-arm pitcher Brad Ziegler as your closer, who is super fun to watch. Plus, you have Martin Prado and I friggin’ love him. Miami, you guys deserve better than Derek Jeter making a mockery of your team and making insulting baseball decisions. 2018 Goals: Sell at least 100 tickets a game and given anyone under 15 years old a free ticket.
New York Mets: Oh woe is the Met fan. Now that I live in New York, it’s amazing how quickly the Mets have become an after-thought again. Once Aaron Judge came onto the scene, and ESPECIALLY once that Yanks traded for Giancarlo Stanton, NYC is doing nothing but buzz about the Yankees. I’ve heard nary a word about the Queens-based baseball team, but maybe that’s how they want things this year. 2018 Goal: Try to win the Subway Series. LOL JK.
Philadelphia Phillies: The City of Brotherly Love is still riding VERY high off the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory. Honestly, it probably doesn’t matter if the Phillies are good or not thing year. But here’s the thing: they will probably be ok-to-good this season. They signed Jake Arrieta to anchor a promising, young rotation and their offense should be more productive this year. They are still not in the mix for the postseason or even the Wild Card, but I’d be willing to bet this is the best team they’ve had in years. 2018 Goal: Try to only be like, 20 games under .500. That’s a solid, probably attainable goal.
Washington Nationals: Let’s be honest: the Nats are going to blow through this division like the wind blows through the gaps in my apartment’s windows. As always, the Nats will be in prime position to jockey for a spot in the NLCS, but do I think they will be able to make it past the Dodgers? Nope, I do not. I love Max Scherzer and I love Bryce Harper, but I don’t think the Nats will make it beyond the NLCS. 2018 Goal: MAKE IT PAST THE NLCS.
Chicago Cubs: The Cubs are a very good baseball team. This is a fact. The Cubs will probably win 90+ games this year and still have a potential to build a dynasty before the younger players start getting bigger contract offers from other teams. The core of players is still great and there is no reason the Cubbies shouldn’t be in World Series contention. 2018 Goals: Win the NL Central and beat the tar out of the Dodgers to advance to the World Series.
Cincinnati Reds: The Reds actually had a pretty good offense last year, but you wouldn’t know it because their pitching staff was among the worst in the majors. Since they know they won’t be competing for a post-season slot this year, the Reds would be wise to auction off some players for baller prospects and find some good, young pitching they can build around. This season will suck for Cincy fans, but I think it’ll be a good step for a bright future. 2018 Goal: Just play meaningful games. That’s it. Just do that and you’ll be peachy keen.
Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers were the team that surprised me the most last year, and I’d love for them to surprise me again this year. They’ve already made a killer remake of The Sandlot, so they already won Spring Training. Will they make a serious post-season run? Possibly! I’d say they could be a great Wild-Card contender, but I doubt they will run past the Cubs for the division title. 2018 Goal: Make it to the NDLS.
Pittsburg Pirates: After doing the unthinkable and trading Andrew McCutchen, a lot of fans will be disheartened and angry. I get that. And this team doesn’t look amazing on paper. However, they could surprise people. In my mind, they could be like the Diamondbacks were last year – they were only supposed to win 70-some games, but ended up exceeding expectations and making it to the NLDS. It may not be a stellar season, but it won’t be a disaster. Probably. 2018 Goal: Find another awesome dude to be the face of your franchise.
St. Louis Cardinals: Pretty much my entire life there have been a few constants: death, taxes, and the Cards winning the NL Central. However, with the Cubs ascension, the Cards have been descending. They have missed the playoffs the last two years and I am personally wondering if the Cards Devil Magic is finally running out. Who knows, it might not be, but anything beyond a Wild Card birth is wishful thinking in my mind. 2018 Goal: Just make the post-season. Doesn’t matter how you do it, be it with resurgent performances or Devil Magic, just make the post-season.
Arizona Diamondbacks: My sweet, wonderful Diamondbacks surprised everyone in baseball last year and made it into the post-season! And I hope they do it again this year! Will they beat the Dodgers for the division title? No! Sadly! Can they be the top Wild Card team again? Yes! Will Paul Goldschmidt FINALLY win NL MVP? HE BETTER! Am I going to keep asking questions, then answering them with exclamation points? HECK YES I AM! WOOO!!! 2018 Goal: Make the post-season again!
Colorado Rockies: Like the Brewers, the Rockies really surprised me last year when they were able to make it to the Wild Card game. The Rockies still have this awesome upwards trajectory and it’s going to be fun to watch them get better and grow over the next few years. But who knows what’s going to happen? They could go back to being a .500 team and it wouldn’t surprise anyone. 2018 Goal: Don’t become a .500 team.
Los Angeles Dodgers: For the last, er, four years probably, all of the pundits have been saying that anything else less than a World Series title would be a failure. Welp, we are doing it again this year! For these Los Angeles Dodgers, with their wealth of young talent, surplus of money, and Clayton Kershaw, anything less than a World Series title will be a failure. 2018 Goal: Do I really need to say it?
San Diego Padres: The Padres are actually not in the world’s worst position this year because absolutely no one will be paying attention to them. They are a young team with nothing but potential and they can play/struggle without anyone watching. Any mistakes that will be made will go unnoticed and any successes will actually be talked about. It’s not a bad spot to be in, actually. 2018 Goals: Don’t fire the manager mid-season, don’t make a flurry of stupid trades, and enjoy living in the perfect weather climate.
San Francisco Giants: How’s about the 2017 season? Yeesh. Every Giants fan is going to wipe last year from their memory and pretend it never happened. Will the 2018 Giants be any better? Honestly, it’s hard to say. They were one of the oldest teams in baseball and they got even older this offseason. That may not be a bad thing, but I’m not sure it’s a good thing. This team is what it looks like at the end of a dynasty – it ain’t pretty and we know if they don’t perform well this year, it may well be a looooooong time before we see them have decent success again. All dynasties must end and the end is usually painful. 2018 Goal: Do better than last year.
There you have it! I hope you all are as stoked for baseball as I am!