The Giants were the NL's second-oldest team in 2017
March 28, 2018 02:08AM
and they lost the most games. They got older this offseason. That's not necessarily a bad thing, if the roster is actually good, and credit the front office for being bold enough to believe that. But it means they almost certainly won't be better in 2019 than they will be in 2018. Which then means that if they miss the playoffs in 2018, it might be a long time before we take the Giants seriously. So the plan depends on them actually being good or having a strong exit strategy if they're not. (To be clear, hitting the second two bullet points might narrowly count as successful, but the first two bullets are the real goal.)

The Mets are similar -- good not long ago, very bad last year, got older this winter, bottom-five farm system -- but with two distinctions that probably cancel each other out: The Mets' major leaguers are on the younger side, so they will still have something to build a future around no matter what happens this year; but the front office hasn't won three rings in the past eight years, so it has a lot less leeway to say "whoopsie."
The Royals -- well, the Royals don't really seem like they should be in this group, do they? The PECOTA projections at Baseball Prospectus see Authentic Malcolm Mitchell Jersey them as the worst team in baseball, or at least tied with the Marlins at 65 wins. But the Royals also don't look like a rebuilding team: They're old, they're around the league-average payroll, their farm system is one of the worst in baseball and their lineup looks like a team that's trying to win now -- just not trying very well. Which is all to say that while they're properly in this group, they're ... not likely to have what we'd call a successful season.
The stakes aren't as high and the recent failures aren't as ominous for the Cardinals as they are for the Giants and Mets. They missed the playoffs last year, and we still concluded it was a successful season, with three surprising breakouts in the lineup, competitive baseball deep into September and 3.4 million fans in the stands. But if they miss the postseason in 2018, it would be for the third year in a row,
the longest drought for St. Louis since the late 1990s. It could happen and they could still claim a productive season -- if a healthy Alex Reyes wins the Rookie of the Year award, if Miles Mikolas is as good in the National League as he was in Japan last season and if Kolten Wong suddenly hits 27 homers. But at this point, the Cardinals are like a hedge fund that consistently outperforms the market. What might Womens Tracy Mcgrady Jersey seem like a good year to a kitchen-table investor wouldn't to them.
To be honest, I'm not sure 90 wins without a playoff spot would do it for the Mariners, who have the longest postseason drought in baseball and haven't played past Game 162 since 2001. Their front office is led by a GM, Jerry Dipoto, who has a fantastic reputation but only one playoff appearance among three seasons in Anaheim and two in Seattle. His handpicked manager, Scott Servais, was hired without any dugout experience (he was Dipoto's assistant GM with the Angels) and hasn't reached October. The Mariners have the worst farm system in baseball by a pretty good margin. If they don't win this year, you might very well start hearing talk of wobbly chairs in that front office.
The Diamondbacks' front office is quite secure, job-wise, after an unexpectedly strong season and postseason appearance last year. Anything less than the playoffs will be moving backward, though, especially because, unlike the Mariners, the Diamondbacks project to be a playoff team right now. Windows don't stay open forever: They have a bad farm system, their second-best position player (A.J. Pollock) will be a free agent next winter and their success has been built on the world's most fragile resource, healthy starting pitchers. Their chances are probably better this year than next.
The Twins, Rockies and Brewers have a lot in common: Jim Brown Womens Jersey All are young, on upward trajectories and coming off more successful seasons than most of us expected last year. All have graduated prospects from previously standout farm systems, and all have at least one young major leaguer (e.g., the Brewers' Orlando Arcia, the Rockies' David Dahl and the Twins' Byron Buxton, among others) who could bloom into an offensive superstar this year.
All spent money or traded prospects to build up their major league rosters this offseason, acting more or less like contenders. None, though, is a sure thing the way the Cubs and Astros were coming out of their rebuilds. The Twins and Rockies could both lose their 2017 WAR leaders (Brian Dozier and Charlie Blackmon) to free agency next winter. The Brewers' WAR leader last year, Jimmy Nelson, just had shoulder surgery.
Which is to say nobody really knows what this year, or this era, will offer any of them. Just look at the Rangers, who were in a similar position last spring and dropped down to 78 wins. These teams' competitive windows are simultaneously just opening and inherently uncertain. None of these teams needs to win the World Series this year to be successful, but each must look like a team that still could.
The Angels have little in common with the rest of the teams in this group. That said, this seems like a good set of success markers for a club that hasn't won a playoff game this decade but could carry a lot of hope into next season if Shohei Ohtani turns out to be as fun/good as his press clippings have promised.
Re: The Giants were the NL's second-oldest team in 2017
April 11, 2019 06:07AM
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