Breaking down local MLB team's 2019 chances
The offseason has seemed to fly by, just two short weeks the 2019 Major League Baseball season is set to begin.
As we approach Opening Day, let's take a look at the local teams and how they figure to fare this regular season.
There's nowhere better to start than with the World Champions.
The Boston Red Sox are coming off their best season in franchise history, setting their all-time win mark.
The Red Sox had a very quiet offseason, opting to let some key players walk in free agency, while only bringing a few back.
The only notable moves Boston made were re-signing Nathan Eovaldi and re-signing first baseman Steve Pearce.
Other than those, it was a whole lot of nothing.
One can make the argument, that when you're coming off a title, it's just about bringing the gang back together, and yes, that can be valid.
In the Red Sox's situation though, a few upgrades were needed.
The bullpen, which was already a shaky group last year, only got weaker with the departure of Joe Kelly to the Dodgers and Craig Kimbrel to free agency.
Boston will almost certainly rely on either Matt Barnes or Ryan Brasier as its closer in 2019. While both guys have shown to be strong late-relief options, neither has much experience pitching in the ninth. For a championship team, that's quite the gamble.
Boston has three catchers on its roster and one has to figure there will be an odd man out. Maybe, they could entice a rebuilding team to shed a proven reliever for one of their catchers and a prospect or two, just a thought.
This isn't a death sentence for the Red Sox though. Boston will still be one of the best teams in the American League.
The loaded lineup from last year, led by Mookie Betts and JD Martinez, is fully back intact and should mash once again.
The starting rotation, headed by Chris Sale, still figures to be one of the better in the league.
All signs point to another great summer for the Sox, just not as great as last year's run. The Yankees seem to be stronger and don't count out those pesky Rays.
Prediction: 94-68, second place in AL East, wild card berth
When you talk about the Red Sox, a conversation about their arch rivals, the New York Yankees, will surely follow.
The Yankees are coming off a 100-win season, and dare I say, the Bronx Bombers may be stronger this year.
While Boston was content to stick with the status quo, New York legitimately made some moves.
While the big prizes of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper won't be donning the navy pinstripes, the Yankees made a bunch of smart moves to fill holes and bolster strengths.
New York added an insurance policy for injured shortstop Didi Gregorius by signing Troy Tulowitzki. They added some more infield depth with the signing of DJ LeMahieu, a three-time Gold Glove winner who can play second base and third.
They re-signed JA Happ and traded for James Paxton to bolster their rotation and made one of the best bullpens in the league even stronger with the re-signing of Zack Britton and signing of Adam Ottavino.
Truth be told, there isn't many holes to poke in the Yankees roster.
The only thing I could find where they could improve would be their starting rotation. When healthy, Luis Severino has ace-like potential, but the fact that he's already starting the year with arm trouble doesn't bode well. Paxton, Happ and Masahiro Tanaka are all strong pitchers, but all three are just a tad below elite.
If the Yankees really want to stamp themselves as the AL favorites, a late signing of a starting pitcher like Dallas Keuchel might do the trick.
Otherwise, New York seems stacked. Aaron Judge continues to prove he's elite, Gleyber Torres will only get better in year two and one has to think Giancarlo Stanton will be a lot more comfortable and play better in his second season wearing pinstripes.
Prediction: 96-66, first place in AL East, division winner
The New York Mets are such an interesting case.
By all measures, the Mets have gotten much better this offseason, yet it might not make a difference in terms of their spot in the standings.
This all comes down to the fact that the National League East will be the best division in baseball.
Other than the lowly Miami Marlins, every team in the NL East will have a chance to lay claim to the NL East crown.
The Mets' candidacy for that crown is quite strong and their offseason work has a lot to do with that.
They brought in a legitimate catcher, Wilson Ramos, who can not only hit, but field his position at a high level.
They added Robinson Cano to play second base, giving them power at that position that they haven't seen since Daniel Murphy a few years back.
The Mets bolstered their bullpen with the addition of Edwin Diaz and the signing of Jeurys Familia.
Oh yeah, and their starting rotation is still one of, if not, the best in the league with Jacob deGrom leading the charge
Add in other additions like Jed Lowrie and Keon Broxton and the Mets are a team bound to make a jump from their 77-win effort in 2018.
The problem for the Mets lies in the teams around them in the East.
Despite losing Bryce Harper, the Nationals seem to be better than before with the addition of Patrick Corbin to their rotation and the expected emergence of Juan Soto and Victor Robles.
The Phillies were the winners of the Harper sweepstakes and added multiple other key players to bolster their roster.
The Braves are the defending division champions, and with another year of experience, will only get better.
The NL East is a guantlet and that's pretty hard to dispute.
Expect a very strong year from the Mets, but one that sees them on the outside looking in once again.
Prediction: 86-76, fourth place in NL East, misses playoffs
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