Now that 2012 is wrapping up and the NHL is still locked out, MLB spring training is just around the corner. Lots of moves have been made in the world of baseball and very, very, little has been made in the hockey world. Headlines have been swarming around big free agents like Josh Hamilton and Zack Grienke, while the Blue Jays actually have something to look forward to in 2013 with the big trades involving players like Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and R.A. Dickey. I have made my predictions for the upcoming season and I’m ready for Fantasy Baseball. Some winners and losers can easily be identified from the lack of trades/signings or the constant news making. This list will give you analysis on teams and how they fared during the offseason.
Winner: Toronto Blue Jays- I think the Jays would be on everyone’s Most Improved list. The Jays made headlines when they acquired pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, shortstop Jose Reyes, infielder Emilio Bonifacio, and catcher John Buck. Then to top it all off, they acquired NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey and two catchers. Sure the Jays took in over $200 million in salary but the Jays finally made a move in the right direction. The Blue Jays also signed some key free agents such as Melky Cabrera and Macier Izturis. There is no guarantee to what Melky will bring to Toronto due to his PED filled year, but with a reasonable 2 year $16 million contract, I think Melky will fit in well. Overall, the Blue Jays went from basement dwellers to major contenders. The AL East has even more competition now and teams must be prepared when they take on Toronto.
Winner: Los Angeles Angels- The Angels have to get a winner’s spot due to their big signings and acquisitions. They signed the biggest free agent of the offseason in Josh Hamilton. They have AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout and one of the best first baseman in the MLB with Albert Pujols, who I’m guessing is going to have a better offensive year in 2013 than he did in 2012. They have a great starting rotation with Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and newly acquired Tommy Hanson. The Angels have bright spots in just about every position. They also have the newest member in the AL West (Houston Astros) to beat up on. If the Angels perform like they should be, I think the AL could have some very tough matchups ahead.
Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers- Both LA teams have cracked my winner’s list. The Dodgers ended the 2012 year with a huge trade sending James Loney and some prospects while Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto were sent packing for California. The Dodgers took in over $250 million in payroll in what is said to be one of the biggest trades ever. The Dodgers also made a splash via free agency. They signed starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu and now have one of the most dominant starting rotations in the NL. The Dodgers will remain on top for the next few years if these guys stay healthy. I’m hoping for a Angels-Dodgers World Series. Now that would be a series for the ages.
Loser: Miami Marlins- I’m not sure whether to laugh or show sympathy for the fans of the Marlins. This team has gone from bang to bust. They rebuild their franchise with a new, name, logo, stadium and players, then in a matter of 12 months, they are the laughing-stock of baseball. I feel terrible for the baseball fans in Miami. The team goes out and gets Heath Bell, Jose Reyes, John Buck, manager Ozzie Guillen and more only to have half their team shipped to Toronto for some prospects and the trouble-causing Yunel Escobar. Heath Bell goes to Arizona, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio head to Toronto and manager Ozzie Guillen gets fired. Miami might as well trade their stadium and everything that goes with it. The rebuild leaves Giancarlo Stanton very ” pissed off, plain and simple”(as quoted by Stanton himself). Miami has a bunch of prospects, Stanton, newly acquired Juan Pierre and that awesome pool in the right field territory to keep fans coming to the stadium.
Loser: New York Mets- The Mets will have another poor season in 2013 as far as I’m concerned. They traded Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, and catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas to the Jays. They did acquire some decent prospects though. The Mets have inconsistent pitching and no consistent hitters in their lineup except for David Wright. Ike Davis night have a respectable year in 2013. Aside from his .227 average, he did smack 32 home runs. The Mets have also had no luck in 2012 with Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis who struggled for playing time as the season went on. The New York Mets bright spots will most likely appear in later years when their prospects such as Travis d’Arnaud and Jordany Valdespin pan out into hopeful major league stars. For the Mets to finish out of the bottom five in the standings, they are going to need another good year from David Wright and Ike Davis aswell as needing Johan Santana to return to injury-free pitching.
Loser: San Diego Padres- The Padres have stood still though this offseason. They have made one trade that effected their current lineup. That was acquiring pitcher Tyson Ross from the Athletics. Ross will be lucky to crack the opening day roster and if he does will be a 4th or 5th starter. The Padres only bright spot of 2012 was Chase Headley’s great performance. They had struggling starters, and injury prone hitters. San Diego needs offensive help in just about all infield positions and they need a consistent pitcher. They should attempt to sign a pitcher like Kyle Lohse or Shaun Marcum. They aren’t franchise players but someone who you can count on in an important game. Unless the Padres want to remain an awful franchise, I suggest signing some players who chip in well offensively and defensively to provide a hope for a .500 season.