Lead Story - 1/19/2020
2034 MLB Season Preview+: Over .500
-: Under .500
#: Playoff Berth
Boston Red Sox +#
Toronto Blue Jays +
Baltimore Orioles +
Tampa Bay Rays -
New York Yankees -
BAL- All the Orioles needed to do was one move to turn this offseason into a success and that’s exactly what they did. They turned the $60 million Alex Abercrombie contract into great players in the Astros trade. Suddenly, the Orioles, who have hovered at the 80 win mark for three straight years, look like a team who could put a little sweat in the wild card teams.
BOS- Despite the Orioles and Blue Jays moves, they will still be no match for this Red Sox squad. The World Series champs basically ran it back, employing the same lineup and defense that has wrecked American League pitching over the last two years and replace an aging Andre Owens and Jody Singleton with young phenom Anton Gage and proven veteran Brady Aiken. No team has repeated since the Astros three peat from 2015 to 2017, but the Red Sox certainly have the squad to do it again.
NYY- Apparently, the Yankees are too busy electing to turn into a Catholic church instead of trying to put together a good product on the field...
TB- The Rays struggles of getting elite talents to sign with the Rays continued into this offseason, as they were only able to retain Dean Honeycutt and Ralph Talbot. With teams in the postseason improving around them, the Rays are likely one of the odd teams out, but finishing above .500 is a likely occurrence.
TOR- The Blue Jays took advantage of a seemingly dead market (for whatever reason) and essentially turned their projection from fighting with the Yankees for the cellar to a legitimate postseason contender. Offense has never been a problem for the Jays, but with a defense that will certainly improve from one of the worst in the league to pretty good, which will only help their rather elite talents in the rotation, Eastern Canadian baseball is a fun attraction to watch again.
Minnesota Twins +#
San Antonio Bandits +#
Chicago White Sox -
Kansas City Royals -
Detroit Tigers -
CWS- Like the Rays, the White Sox are caught in a crossfire of improvement and lack of recruiting power that likely leaves them out of the postseason race. That said, an improving Brant Richardson and Cleveland Bates in a pretty decent lineup is nothing to sneeze at. The only thing likely stopping the White Sox from a .500 season is a questionable backend of the bullpen.
DET- The club’s only move this season was trading away Pablo Childs for yet another DH and one of the worst hitters in baseball since his debut. This rebuild probably should not be taking this long, but that’s exactly what it’s doing...
KC- The good news? They got some veteran presence in the clubhouse and just might not finish at the bottom of the division again. The bad news...they’re still a bad team with no sense of planning for the future. (enough of the depression in the AL Central, let’s talk about the good!)
MIN- Yes, even though the roster is heading closer to AARP than their prime, make no mistake: This is still one of the elite teams in the game. Remember, Zachary White, Jadyn Fielder, and Wayne Mack alone combined for 139 homers last season, and still have the same contemporary pieces around them. Meanwhile, while the rotation and bullpen lost some key members, the elite defense that has contributed to the Twins eighth straight Cy Young Award winners should be enough to keep the pitching staff as one of the best in baseball.
SA- At this point, elite is an understatement to describe the Bandits offense. Every single projected opening day starter is an absolute threat in some capacity. Meanwhile, they have done work to improve the one thing stopping them in the pitching staff, especially the bullpen. Whether a still somewhat suspect defense will hinder their new-look rotation remain to be seen, but let it be known: this team won’t have to worry about a near collapse out of the postseason this year.
San Jose A's +#
Seattle Mariners +#
Anaheim Angels +
Texas Rangers +
Vancouver Volcanoes -
I want everyone to keep in mind that this is going to be a VERY close division race, but with the Bandits, Orioles and Blue Jays thriving this offseason, there’s a chance only one of these four teams will move on to the postseason.
ANA- On paper, the Angels have continued to look like a top tier team in baseball, but they will be stopped by a couple of things. 1) Having one of the most suspect bullpens in baseball from top to bottom, 2) the fact that the top three in the rotation have all experienced immense struggles over the past two seasons, and 3) the other teams in their division improving tremendously. Make no mistake, they’re still a postseason contender in the American League, but those three things make it that much likely that they hard luck miss out on the postseason.
SEA- The addition of Ian Rose alone makes the Mariners a better team overall, but adding Randy Jansen to what is still a lackluster offense also does a lot toward helping the team make their first postseason appearance since 2001 (!). Whether they are a better team than the Angels and Athletics (or both) hinders on success from their pitching staff, especially an underperforming rotation and the elite arm of Nurstalan Vandale.
SJ- The A’s lost Brandin Parker and Herb Andrews this offseason and immediately replaced both with Robert Mora and Kurtis Freeman (from left field). The addition of Jordan Levinson makes the A’s lineup one of the better one’s in baseball. Assuming Juan Duran and Patrick Bacon are the real deal and Glen Bates can find it for the first time in an A’s uniform, the A’s could make the AL West less of a competition.
TEX- Looming in an already competitive AL West is the Rangers, who have quietly, but tremendously improved this offseason. A below average defense suddenly looks like one of the better ones in baseball (assuming Zack Nickelson doesn’t touch the field), and with Maurice Anderson joining Randall Rosenthal, Ian Diaz, and Charlie Holt, AND Gavin Harrington and Barton Morris entering the bullpen, the Rangers have the potential to make a LOT of noise this season. In fact, don’t be surprised if they are the ones that come out on top in this division.
VAN- Meanwhile, in the same division where those four teams look to start jumping down each other’s throats for that division, the Volcanoes decided to sip tea and do absolutely nothing. Good if you’re trying to relieve stress, but not good if you’re running a Major League Baseball team.
New York Mets +#
Philadelphia Phillies +#
Atlanta Braves +
Pittsburgh Pirates -
Washington Nationals -
ATL- Could the Braves be on the rise? After two meh but underperforming seasons, the Braves come into 2034 with a much improved roster. A quietly great offseason has left them with a much improved lineup and one of the best bullpens, from top to bottom, in the game. That’s probably not going to be enough to take down the behemoths that are the Mets and Phillies, but it should be enough to eclipse that .500 mark again.
NYM- The Mets lost both Loren Whitlock and Randy Jansen this offseason to free agency, but got to replace them with literally any pitcher that is close to comparable and Kerry Crawford, respectively. Add that into the best defensive team in baseball (history?), alongside a still dangerous lineup, and you just might have the best team in the National League (assuming some other teams don’t have anything to say about that).
PHI- Never sleep on the Phillies, ever. Remember, this was a 112-win WILD CARD TEAM that made the Mets sweat just a little bit down the stretch last year. Assuming the loss of Taylor Patinó doesn’t affect them that much, they should be able to put that same amount of pressure and fear inside the National League
PIT- There’s still a lot of work to turn this team back into the destructive force that they were pre-2026. But adding Sammie Fay and Valentin Crespo to the future mix certainly helps matters. With pieces that they can move, the Pirates could easily build a future around Fay as the season moves along.
WAS- Hit the music again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TazrMjxRfl8
Houston Astros +#
Milwaukee Brewers +#
St. Louis Cardinals +
Chicago Cubs -
Cincinnati Reds -
CHC- The good news? For once, the Cubs didn’t shoot themselves in the foot in the offseason. The bad news? They didn’t get that much better this offseason, especially when the three teams ahead of them all made massive moves. A 70-win season is probably a win for the Cubs in 2034.
CIN- On the bright side, there’s nobody around to test big country breakfast body Lefteris Clark on the field!
HOU- The Astros finally did what fans, the media, and their own players have been pleading for them to do since 2031: get bold. Suddenly, the talent that the Astros were hugging for the longest time has turned into Alex Abercrombie, Candy Jenson, and Robby Bullock, and they made the splash of the offseason by signing Taylor Patino. With such an improved roster, there is no way to believe this team doesn’t win the NL Central again.
MIL- It’s funny to think that this same team has not had a winning season since 2014 and was one fiasco away from entering their own echelon of dysfunction. Suddenly, after a massive W of an offseason, the Brewers have put themselves in a position to give the fans of Milwaukee the hurrah they’ve been waiting for. The only thing stopping that from happening is a suspect offense, but as this next team can confirm, you can indeed win with a shaky offense...
STL- The Cardinals had a wild offseason, and not much of it was good. From even more trade drama to their president getting suspended for 120 games for collusion, all the Cardinals have to hang their hat on is their defense and starting rotation. Otherwise, with an offense that somehow got worse and a bullpen that might as well share one bullpen space, there’s no way you can say this team is going to somehow pitch their way to a division win again.
Arizona Diamondbacks +#
Las Vegas Gamblers +
San Francisco Giants -
San Diego Padres -
Los Angeles Dodgers -
ARI- Turns out, all the Diamondbacks needed was a change in ownership, one that went deep into their pockets and brought in numerous stars. Clearly, this is a much smarter ownership group, and if the 95-win projection by an anonymous executive BEFORE this offseason rings true, well, the NL West is in for a load of trouble.
LAD- Aside from Jaden Valez, the biggest move this team did was bring in 90 year old, cigarette smoking maestro Jim Leyland to run the dugout. That’s the bad news. The good news? They still have the option to sell off their star pieces at the deadline or, because money, try to build around that same core next offseason.
LV- It is likely that no one was happier than the Gamblers team when the Padres sold the team, followed by a massive roster blowup. Suddenly, the Gamblers are in a position to compete again with their Bandits West-like offense, but they will need a pitching staff that completely bombed in 2034 for us to completely believe they are ready to take over the NL West.
SD- With $150 million tied up to exactly 11 players coming into the offseason, the new Padres management did the unthinkable and traded nearly everyone in exchange for picks and prospects. With proper moves, the Padres could find themselves right back on top next season, but for now, the NL West has become wide open.
SF- It would be hard pressed to find anyone that believes that the Giants regressed this offseason. But let’s not forget that Buster Posey is the same manager that has started Vlad Guerrero Jr. in center field and started Ken Villanueva at third over Bruce Pitts these past two years. Assuming those managerial issues are ironed out, we could be looking at another team to look out for in the NL West.
1. Boston Red Sox
2. Minnesota Twins
3. San Jose A’s
WC #1: San Antonio Bandits
WC #2: Seattle Mariners
1. Houston Astros
2. New York Mets
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
WC #1: Philadelphia Phillies
WC #2: Milwaukee Brewers
World Series: NYM@BOS→NYM
(Okay, it’s been 126 years for Cubs fans, SOMEONE BRING THIS TEAM A CHAMPIONSHIP ALREADY!)