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Baseball Sports

Teams to be excited for and cautious of in the upcoming MLB season

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

After the Houston Astros won the 2022 World Series, teams across the MLB sought to get ready for the 2023 season through free agency and trade moves.

 There are a few teams that significantly bolstered their rosters during the offseason, some of them doing enough to be labeled as playoff-contending teams. However, there are also a few teams that didn’t make many improvements and are thus at risk of finishing worse this time around than they did last season.

Three teams to watch: 

 

1. New York Mets

After a 101-win season and their first trip to the playoffs in six years, the New York Mets had a busy offseason. Under their new owner, billionaire Steve Cohen, the Mets front office had a field day in free agency. Their biggest signings included reigning American League Cy Young winner Justin Verlander to a two-year, $86 million deal and bringing back 2022 All-Stars: center fielder Brandon Nimmo and closer Edwin Diaz. They also brought in Nippon Professional Baseball superstar pitcher Kodai Senga. After a first-round exit in the playoffs last year, the Mets want to prove that they are ready to make a deep run in the playoffs.

 

2. Chicago Cubs

After a major selloff at the 2021 trade deadline, fans around baseball assumed the Cubs were going into another multiyear rebuild ahead of them. After a strong finish to the 2022 MLB season, posting a 39-31 record in the second half of the season, the Cubs made a lot of noise in the offseason, with their major pickup being superstar shortstop Dansby Swanson, signing a seven-year, $177 million deal in December 2022. The Cubs also signed starting pitcher Jameson Taillon and former National League MVP Cody Bellinger. They also added a number of other pitchers and position players to fill out roster depth, an issue the Cubs struggled with the past two seasons. With the amount of depth signings the Cubs made and the number of talented prospects waiting in the Cubs minor league system, the Cubs are looking to return to the top of the NL Central and the playoffs.

 

3. Texas Rangers

After signing shortstop Corey Seager and second baseman Marcus Semien to major contracts in the 2022 offseason, the Texas Rangers performed below expectations last season, finishing fourth in the AL West. This offseason, the Rangers added former two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom to a five5-year, $185 million deal. They also brought in starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and brought back southpaw starter Martin Perez. With a young team and a deep starting rotation, the Rangers are now setting themselves up to give the reigning World Champion Houston Astros a run at the AL West title and a spot in the playoffs.

 

Three teams to be cautious of:

 

1. Colorado Rockies

The Rockies haven’t been much of a powerhouse in the NL in recent years. Their last playoff appearance was in 2018 after being swept out of the division series. However, after signing former NL MVP Kris Bryant to a seven-year deal last winter, fans believed the Rockies might make a run at the playoffs in 2022. That was not the case. Kris Bryant only played 42 games for the Rockies in his inaugural season in Colorado, and the Rockies finished dead last in the NL West. This past offseason, the Rockies didn’t make a move that would signal a playoff run. Their two free agent signings were reliever Pierce Johnson to a one-year, $5 million deal and swingman Jose Urena to a one-year, $3.5 million deal. With their lack of pitching and depth, don’t expect the Rockies to compete among their fellow NL West rivals.

 

2. Chicago White Sox

On the other side of Chicago lies a different story. After making the playoffs for a second straight season in 2021, White Sox fans had big expectations for 2022. After a series of injuries and disappointing seasons from players, the White Sox finished the 2022 season with a .500 record and missed the playoffs. The White Sox have made a couple of moves this past offseason to try and improve their roster, including signing left fielder Andrew Benintendi and bringing back shortstop Elvis Andrus. However, one of the White Sox signings, Mike Clevinger, has been surrounded by controversy after it was revealed the MLB is investigating him for alleged domestic violence. The White Sox have also not addressed other holes on their roster, including a right fielder, a consistent third baseman, and a strong bullpen. After missing the playoffs in 2022 and a quiet offseason, the White Sox face an uphill climb to return to the playoffs in 2023.

 

3. Milwaukee Brewers

After making the playoffs for four straight seasons, dating back to 2018, the Milwaukee Brewers missed the playoffs in the 2022 season. With the Brewer’s dominant starting rotation headlined by Brandon Woodruff and former NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes, the Brewers didn’t need a whole lot of help this offseason concerning their starting rotation. However, one of the few signings that the Brewers made was bringing back southpaw starter Wade Miley to a one-year deal. They also acquired outfielder Jesse Winker from Seattle and catcher William Contreras from Atlanta, both via trade. Winker had a down 2022 season, and while Contreras had a good offensive 2022, he struggled defensively. With the regression of former MVP Christian Yelich and their lack of offense, the Brewers face a tough battle in the NL Central this year.

With MLB opening day just a few weeks away after an eventful offseason, there might just be a few surprises by the time the playoffs start in October.

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