Posted in Sports

2017 MLB Season Preview

We look at the big offseason moves and predict the playoff teams

Left-handed pitcher Chris Sale was traded from the Chicago White Sox to the Boston Red Sox in a blockbuster deal.
Left-handed pitcher Chris Sale was traded from the Chicago White Sox to the Boston Red Sox in a blockbuster deal.

Major Transactions from around the league:

Off-season Trades:

Chicago Cubs traded LF Jorge Soler to Kansas City Royals for RHP Wade Davis

Chicago Cubs:  

You remember trading snacks at lunch in elementary school? The Cubs’ acquisition of Davis is the kid that snuck four packs of Fruit Gushers into his lunch kit and traded one for a Cheesestring. Are Fruit Gushers way better than Cheesestrings? Obviously. But not even the coolest kid needs four packs of Fruit Gushers and everybody needs a source of calcium (saves).

Grade: B+

Kansas City:

Do I even need to explain? You just got Fruit Gushers for a Cheesestring. When your mom also packed you a yogurt tube (Kelvin Herrera), you’re laughing.

Grade: A

Seattle Mariners traded SS Ketel Marte and RHP Taijuan Walker to the Arizona Diamondbacks for SS Jean Segura, LHP Zac Curtis, and CF Mitch Haniger.

Arizona:

This is a big downgrade in the middle infield for the Diamondbacks. Could Ketel Marte eventually be as good as Jean Segura? Absolutely. But you know who’s as good as Jean Segura? Jean Segura.

Grade: C+

Seattle:

This is also a puzzling move by the Mariners. An upgrade in the middle infield was not the most necessary off-season acquisition that they could have made. That being said, however, in trades like this, I always tend to favour the team that got the best player, as long as they didn’t give up too much.

Grade: B

Chicago White Sox traded RF Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals for RHP Lucas Giolito, RHP Reynaldo Lopez, and RHP Dane Dunning.

Washington:

Adam Eaton is a good baseball player, very good, if you ask some people. But Washington essentially paid $35 for a nice piece of chicken when they were hoping to spend $40 and get a steak (Chris Sale, Andrew McCutchen). Chicken is a solid addition to any meal, but it isn’t steak.

Grade: B-

Chicago:

You know those features that every restaurant has? They look like a really good deal on the board, but when it gets to you, you realize you overpaid for cold meat and french fries. The White Sox is the owner laughing in the back every time they sell the feature.

Grade: A

Chicago White Sox traded LHP Chris Sale to Boston Red Sox for CF Luis Alexander Basabe, RHP Michael Kopech, RHP Victor Diaz, and 3B Yoan Moncada.

Boston:

In what was a relatively boring off-season, this was certainly the most exciting transaction. While the Red Sox didn’t need Sale one year after the acquisition of LHP David Price, this trade solidifies them as the best team in the AL East. Arguably the best in the American League. Five years from now, we may look at the prospects they gave up and gasp, but this is the type of win-now move World Series contenders make.

Grade: A-

Chicago:

Yoan Moncada is probably the best prospect in baseball, and the prize for the White Sox in the deal. Michael Kopech is another intriguing prospect, who famously threw a fastball 105mph in 2016. With two more decent prospects in the deal, Chicago certainly sold high on Sale (there’s a pun in there somewhere).

Grade: A

Free Agent Signings:

New York Yankees sign Aroldis Chapman for 5 years / $86 million

The Yankees signing Chapman is the boyfriend who buys the most expensive dessert when him and his partner are both really full. Sure, your partner (Yankee fans) is impressed for the two bites they actually enjoyed, but when you get the bill you realize you paid $86 million for something you didn’t even need. The Yankees should’ve been more worried about covering the bases, like buying condoms.

Grade: C-

Cleveland Indians sign Edwin Encarnacion for 3 years / $60 million + fourth-year club option

While it saddens me to see Encarnacion leave the Blue Jays, this was a fantastic deal for both sides. After reportedly dismissing a four-year offer from the Jays for $80 million, this contract looks like a steal for the Indians. The American League champions are replacing Mike Napoli with Encarnacion. That’s scary, and I just watched It Follows.

Grade: A+

Predicting division winners:

AL East: Boston Red Sox

This is probably the easiest division winner for me to predict. If you follow baseball, you shouldn’t need any explanation.

AL Central: Cleveland Indians

Cleveland blew a 3–1 lead. What they will not blow, among other things, is their division.

AL West: Houston Astros

This will probably be the closest division in baseball, with the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners both looking like they could be 90-plus wins teams this year. I’m going with the Astros because I think they have the best middle infield in baseball (Carlos Correa and José Altuve), and they should bounce back from last year.

Wildcards: Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays

Originally, I had the Mariners winning their division, but picture this: Seattle takes the first wild card spot and Toronto the second. The Blue Jays play a one-game series against the Mariners in Seattle. 50% of the stadium is Blue Jays fans, 50% Mariners fans. We drink beer, they drink beer. Due to the peacefulness of sporting events, the game ends in a tie with a 50,000 person group hug. My predictions are probably not gonna be right — might as well hope for world peace.

NL East: Washington Nationals

Something good has to happen in Washington this year.

NL Central: Chicago Cubs

The Cubs haven’t won a world series in zero years! You could make the argument that they are better than last year. The young guys might still be hungover, but they’re young! They don’t get hungover.

NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers

Ugh. I hate this team. If they could clone Clayton Kershaw, they could win 162 games. Barring that, they’ll have to settle for buying their way to another division title. Boooooooooo.

Wildcards: St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets

Admittedly, I had the San Francisco Giants playing the New York Mets, but something has to change from last year! Also, it’s an odd-number year, which automatically dismisses the Giants. Oh, and the Cardinals and Mets both have really good baseball players.

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