Somehow, our damned species arrived until 2019, surviving another trip around the sun in spite of it, well … … vaguely gestures the whole world *.
And while the last 12 months were not particularly positive for the human race, the arrival of January 1 offers us the opportunity to wipe the blackboard cleanly. We can start all over again. We can solve credibly, at least, do better, a to be better.
And of course, every Major League Baseball club should be motivated to improve this year, so we've identified a year-long resolution that every club should do for 2019 while the rest of us are striving to be kinder, use minus the phone, eat more consciously, or anything else.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Trade Zack Greinke
The Diamondbacks did not necessarily start a real reconstruction when they sent Paul Goldschmidt to St. Louis before this offseason – the six-time All-Star has only one year on his contract – but the trade was still a tacit recognition that will not be contested in 2019. The probability, therefore, of Zack Greinke to still be effective when Arizona is ready to compete again is very low. Greinke turned 35 in October and began to show subtle signs of decline during a terrifying 2018 campaign. His speed continued to fall, while his strikeout rate, landlord rate and expected weighted average stood all in the wrong direction. He is still appealing to a competitor, as Greinke managed an ERA 3.21 (135 ERA +) on 33 departures. So the Diamondbacks should be willing to eat a considerable amount of $ 104.5 million left over on their agreement to get a solid perspective that is, ideally, ready for the Major League.
Atlanta Braves: win the pennant
After returning to relevance in 2018 after a four-year reconstruction, the Braves are now officially contending. The team has a solid core of young talent that Atlanta has recently started expanding with veterans who can really do things like Josh Donaldson and Brian McCann. In fact, the Braves could also be the best team in the National League (except for an agreement between the Dodgers and Bryce Harper), which is why they have to aim higher than a second consecutive title. The Braves may not be able to hang themselves, at this point, with the American League juggernauts. But another postseason exit in the first round will not fly for a team that is now in the rubbery center of its competitive window.
Baltimore Orioles – Draft a stud
The recent draft of the Orioles story is almost as doubtful as the management of the Buck Showalter bullpen in the wild card game of the American League 2016. The last eight club selections for the first round – which date back to 2013 – have accumulated a total of 0, 5 WAR at the great championship level, all coming from DJ Stewart. For the sake of their reconstruction, it is imperative for Baltimore to reverse this trend this year and land a stud with their first selection in the amateur draft of 2019. Or, you know, someone good at least. They also have a decent shot, wielding the first overall pick for the first time since 1989. It was then that the Orioles were the coup de grace to the state of Louisiana Ben McDonald, who spent seven seasons in Baltimore and managed an ERA of 3.91 (115 ERA +) during his nine year career in Serie A.
Boston Red Sox – Re-signing Craig Kimbrel
If it's not broken, right? Except Joe Kelly, the Red Sox are ready to virtually bring back all the key members of last year's championship roster. And since the luxury tax will not be a deterrent, as Dave Dombrowski admitted in December, Boston has no reason not to sign Craig Kimbrel. He is still a close elite – Kimbrel is fourth among WAR breeders in the last three seasons – and can re-establish a bullpen that, if the season started today, would be anchored by Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier and Heath Hembree.
Chicago Cubs – Release Addison Russell
The Cubs have not shown aversion in recent years to hire men of dubious character, from Aroldis Chapman, the first player suspended under the new domestic violence policy of the league, to Daniel Murphy, a recognized homophobe, but enough is enough. If they actually worry about "taking the issue of domestic violence seriously," as baseball president Theo Epstein first professed this offseason, and want to make their baseball field an inclusive environment for victims of domestic abuse, they will cut bait with Addison Russell. The interbase opted not to appeal to the 40-game suspension it received in October after his ex-wife accused him of physical and emotional abuse.
Chicago White Sox – Re-evaluate Lucas Giolito
The reconstruction of the South Side has lost momentum in recent times, mainly due to the problems at the elbows of Michael Kopech, the contact problems of Yoan Moncada and the massive step back that Lucas Giolito made last season. Right now, that last issue seems the most worrying. Considering the best prospect of launching the game until 2016, the twenty-five right has imploded in its first full season at the level of the big league, finishing last among the lawyers qualified in WAR (-0.2), ERA (6.13), FIP (5.56) and WHIP (1.48). Increasingly, it seems that Giolito will never be the starting scout to think about it he could be in the first few years after his operation by Tommy John in 2012, but the White Sox must take this season – another non-competitive – to determine if the former first round is even recoverable.
Cincinnati Reds – Finish fourth in NL Central
Mired in seemingly endless reconstruction, the Reds ended up dead in National League Central for four consecutive years, winning no more than 68 games in a season in that period. Clearly, they are determined to be a bit more competitive in 2019, having been exchanged in recent weeks for Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, Matt Kemp and Tanner Roark, but do not put them in the shoes of a wild-card contender yet. on a dark horse. Instead, the reds should aspire to be better than one team in their division, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Considering how it was held in the last half of the decade in Cincinnati, a fourth place would not be a small business. Little steps.
Cleveland Indians – Stop selling off
In 2019 everyone secured another title in the Central American League, the Indians cut the paycheck significantly this offseason, cutting their total outlay to about $ 112 million – their opening portfolio in 2018 was almost $ 135 million – without really compromising their chances of winning the division. And while this is an accusation of both the state of division and the larger epidemic affecting Major League Baseball, it does not reflect well on Indians. After all, if the teams with legitimate aspirations of the World Series will not spend money, who is it?
Colorado Rockies – Hit
The Rockies shut out the top-five of the majors in runs per game last year for the first time since 2013, as even the boundaries of Coors Field could not make their coaches seem competent. After adapting to the park effects, the Rockies were the fifth worst offensive team among the majors (87 wRC +), dragged by unscrupulous regular customers, Ian Desmond, DJ LeMahieu, Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra. Fortunately, everyone, apart from Desmond, is gone, and actually there is some positive aspect in their training thanks to David Dahl and the newly signed Daniel Murphy. This bodes well for the Rockies, because they will have to hit if they hope to make the postseason for a second consecutive year in 2019. As good as their pitching staff was last season, it's still, you know, Colorado.
Detroit Tigers – Convert run-scoring opportunities
To put it simply, the Tigers will have difficulty in scoring in bunches this season – Jeimer Candelario and Christin Stewart, to illustrate, will probably occupy the first two places of their training – and that is why it is absolutely necessary to capitalize on how much more run- mark the opportunities as much as possible Last year, the Tigers struggled to do so, driving in a third runner with less than two outs, for example, only 47% of the time, the fifth worst result in the majors. As happened, they also finished the fifth time in the championship in the match (3.89). If they want to avoid another campaign of 98 losses this year, the Tigers can not afford to leave the jokes on the table as often as they did in 2018.
Houston Astros: shoot down the double games
It's hard to find fault with a team that ended up with an operating differential of +263, but if there's one thing Astros is supposed to be working on in 2019, you'll avoid doubling the comedies. While it did not stop them from deploying an élite offensive, the Astros took root in more doubles (156) than any other team, bouncing into twin killings on an alloy that was 13 percent worse than their runner- on-first, less-two-out opportunities.
Kansas City Royals – Trade Whit Merrifield
The Royals are so far from being good or funny there's really no reason to keep Merrifield. It is at the height of its value after a season of 5.2 WAR: it hit 304 / .367 / .438 (121 OPS +) and led the American League in stolen hits and bases – and left another four years club control. Their agricultural system is devoid of impact talent, and like a small-market club, they will need a myriad of good prospects if they expect to have a period of prosperity as high as they enjoyed a few years earlier.
Angels of Los Angeles – Make the postseason
With only two years before Mike Trout hits the free agency, the window of the Angels to capitalize the unprecedented excellence of their superstars is rapidly closing. The injuries, the underperformance, the misfortune and the continued presence of Albert Pujols in the clean-spot have all contributed to sink the Angels in recent seasons – they have not played in October since 2014. The Halos simply no longer have time for an apology if they hope to get a World Series title from the illustrious possession of Trout in Anaheim. The angels need to recharge this winter – the additions of Trevor Cahill, Matt Harvey and Jonathan Lucroy are a decent start – and they already do the postseason.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Clutch up
Based on their race differential, the Dodgers should have won 102 games in 2018. In fact, they won 92. This discrepancy can largely be attributed to their inability to score big points; according to the FanGraphs clutch metric, they were by far the least opportunistic team in the majors. This trend continued in the postseason, where the Dodgers hit .192 with a 34% strikeout rate with the runners in the scoring position, and earned an OPS of 0.635 in late and closed situations. Taking their drought in the World Series in 2019 will require a more timely blow.
Miami Marlins – Get a big loot for J.T. Realmuto
The loss of payrolls was clearly the top priority of the Marlins last offseason, and that is why the best prospect they received in exchange for Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna was the outfielder Lewis Brinson, a former first round that hit .199 / .240 /.338 as a debutant in 2018. Now, with so much money out of the books, Marlin must change their approach while weighing commercial offers for JT Realmuto, which could be the best catcher of the game and still has two years of control remaining. Realmuto offers the Marlin an opportunity to rejuvenate their agricultural system, which is among the worst in the game, and it is better not to waste it.
Milwaukee Brewers: let Josh Hader start
Dominant as Josh Hader in 2018, the left-handed left-handed player has accumulated less WAR than those like Kyle Gibson and Marco Gonzales. In other words, even if used liberally, the most effective painkillers are not as valuable as intermediate starters. Given Milwaukee's spin status, then, the Brewers should at least give Hader the chance to start in 2019 as they attempt to repeat as division champs. If it stinks, they can always bring it back to a prominent role. But if you are able to get closer to the numbers of the last year – 2.44 ERA with a WHIP of 0.81 and a strikeout rate of 46.7% out of 55 appearances – it could be the best appetizer of the Brewers this season.
Minnesota Twins – Strike more homers
The Twins did not bring much pop into their training last year, finishing eighth-last in the big in home games (166). In fact, the twins were one of six clubs that did not have a single player to reach 25 homers, which is pretty crazy, because Stephen Piscotty went into the garden 27 times in 2018. That's also a problem, because you're kind of need to hit homer to win the ball games: eight of the 11 teams that crushed more than 200 homers last year made the postseason. It is auspicious, therefore, that the twins have captured Nelson Cruz, who has gone deeper than any other player in the last five seasons. Also the return of Miguel Sano, who spent much of 2018 in minors, should help.
New York Mets: close it
Brodie Van Wagenen was right to give priority to the bullpen of this offseason because the Mets would not be able to fight without a more reliable rescue corps. Last year, as they stumbled to a second consecutive place in fourth place in the NL East, New York relievers finished fifth in the majors in almost all significant statistics, including the likelihood of winning added (-4.37) , collapses (97), and hereditary-runner filament rate (66 percent). Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia should help in that department.
New York Yankees: win the division
It's hard to believe – they're a fully operational "Black Death", after all – but the Yankees are currently mired in their longest drought in the division title in a quarter century. They have not finished first in the American East League since 2012, and have not won a pennant since they hoisted the Commissioner's trophy a decade ago. And while they did the playoffs three times in the last six seasons – and they had a good excuse for not winning the division last year against the Boston Red Sox, winners of 108 victories, are the damned Yankees. With so many talents already in their roster, an infinite bankroll and two generational talents still available in free agency, they have no excuse to finish second in the division in 2019.
Oakland Athletics – Give Jesus Luzardo a chance
With Sean Manaea expecting to lose all of 2019 after undergoing shoulder surgery, the rotation of Athletics is definitely sad at six weeks from spring training. Mike Fiers is their de facto ace. And even if they plan to use the opening strategy this season, as they did during the stroke (and in the wild card game) last year, the A will need more than they can reasonably get from Daniel Mengden, Frankie Montas, Chris Bassitt and Aaron Brooks. As such, the A should not hesitate to give Jesus Luzardo the chance to start at the big-league level, since the twenty-nine left could legitimately be their first peak this year if they had the chance. In 2018, his first professional season, Luzardo climbed all the way from High-A to Triple-A, creating an ERA at 2.88 and silencing 129 strikeouts to 109 1/3 of innings.
Philadelphia Phillies – Defend yourself better
Despite significant overall gains in 2018, the Phillies still ranked among the worst defensive teams in the majors, finishing last in saved defensive saves (-146) and defensive triplets above the average (-49.9), with the fifth lowest evaluation of defensive efficiency (.697), too. Getting Rhys Hoskins from the field on the left will help – he will move to the first base in 2019, replacing Carlos Santana – but the Phillies will need improvements also from the third baseman Maikel Franco and outuberters Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams if they want to be an average defensive team this season .
Pittsburgh Pirates – Strength
At the moment, FanGraphs projects the New York Mets to earn the second place from the National League wild card in 2019 with 85 victories. Their model projects the Pirates to finish with 81 wins. It is not almost an insurmountable disaster. And, despite their famous frugality, the Pirates should have the means to fill this gap through the free agency, having already cut their $ 20 million payrolls compared to last year. (Even their financial commitments beyond 2019 are negligible, with only $ 18 million on books for the 2020 campaign right now.) With a discreet core of talents between Starling Mars, Gregory Polanco, Corey Dickerson, Francisco Cervelli, Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer, Trevor Williams and Felipe Vasquez, the Pirates can increase that group with a couple of additions in the mid-market in the coming weeks and make a serious effort for a wild card post in 2019.
San Diego Padres – Lose less than 90 games
Apparently perpetual reconstruction, the Padres were not able to make giant leaps in the big-league last year, managing their worst record in a decade (66-96) despite signing Eric Hosmer to a gigantic agreement and entrusting some apparently gifted young men with regular playing time. But while you've heard this schpiel many times before, the Padres seem legitimately ready to take a step forward in 2019 thanks to the elite perspectives that will join the club this year. From Fernando Tatis Jr., to Francisco Mejia, to Luis Urias, to Cal Quantrill, to Michel Baez, everyone was included in the ranking of the 50 best prospects of MLB Pipeline in 2018. They have no intention of competing for a division title, but the Padres may be something other than terrible in 2019, and this is it something, given their history.
San Francisco Giants – Do nothing
The additions of Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria last winter were not successful, they ended up exchanging the first ones in July en route for a 73-89, and it is not clear how the Giants intend to proceed under the new general manager Farhan Zaidi because they have a shelter done nothing as a result this offseason. To date, their biggest move could be the ambassador's ambidextrous signature Pat Venditte to a one-year deal. They are not really doing it, nor are they rebuilding. Zaidi must take one direction, even if it means getting rid of some longtime favorite fans in Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Belt or Brandon Crawford.
Seattle Mariners – Let Ichiro play
After failing, once again, to squeeze a postseason anchor from their veteran core in 2018, the Mariners began to rebuild this offseason – Robinson Cano, James Paxton and Edwin Diaz have already been swapped, and Nelson Cruz is in Minnesota – eliminating any plausible justification for not keeping Ichiro Suzuki on the roster beyond the season's opening series in Tokyo. Of course, he can not really hit anymore – Ichiro has cut 0.25 / .255 / .205 in 15 games last season before being turned into a warm, vaguely called "special assistant", but the Mariners do not really have anything to lose allowing the legend of 45 years will be their fourth outdoor player in 2019. After all, victories do not count, the manager of the exclusive positions Scott Servias to leave to Ichiro the spell of Jay Bruce once or twice a week, or a pinch, or even a throw. Tanking sucks, but the miserable Mariners' 2019 season would suck much less with him.
St. Louis Cardinals – Platoon more
No team enjoyed a platoon advantage in the pot less frequently in 2018 compared to the Cardinals, whose hitters faced pitchers with opposing hands only 41.4% of the time, almost 13% below the league average. They still scored several tracks, ranking fifth in the National League in attack regulated by the park, but the roster of the Cardinals was still too heavy to be constantly optimized. As such, general manager John Mozeliak needs to add another southpaw batter (or two) to this offseason so Mike Shildt can play matchups more aggressively in 2019.
Tampa Bay Rays – Complete the transfer plans
How many stadium proposals need to make kibosh before everyone accepts that Tampa Bay is not a viable market for a MLB franchise? (Tommy Pham certainly has.) The Rays have finished the last or second-last place in the American League for eight consecutive seasons, and their average night audience last season (14.259) was the minimum since 2005. The team was actually half decent. 39; last year, too, winning 90 games for the first time in half decade. Twenty years are not an insufficient champion. Baseball will not work at Tampa Bay, and it's time for the championship to recognize it and start accelerating the relocation of the franchise.
Texas Rangers: check the running game
Next to a carousel of ineffective starters, the problems of prevention of the Rangers race in 2018 were eventually exacerbated by the inacious incapacity of preventing the opposing teams from stealing the bases at will. All in all, the Rangers backstops (mainly Robinson Chirinos and Isiah Kiner-Falefa) threw out only 18 potential thieves in 94 attempts, or 19.1% of attempted base thieves, easily the worst sign in baseball. This should improve this year, and with Kiner-Falefa ready to take over the daily capture duties, it should. Of course, doing a better job controlling the game in the race will not solve everything that Texas suffered in 2018, but it's something, at least.
Toronto Blue Jays – Stop manipulating service time
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. did everything humanly possible to get a call-up in September 2018, hitting .381 / .437 / .636 in 95 games divided mainly between Double-A and Triple-A, but the Blue Jays denied the 19-year -good prodigy – and their fans – a promotion of the end of the season, a decision covered in layers of excuse. In reality, however, they did not call Guerrero Jr. to delay his major-league service clock, ensuring a seventh year of control over their high-priced prospects. Unfortunately this practice became common practice in Major League Baseball – the Chicago Cubs did it with Kris Bryant; the Philadelphia Phillies did it with Maikel Franco – and they will not be uprooted until the current CBA expires soon. Furthermore, the Blue Jays can find at least a fragment of redemption including Guerrero Jr. in their opening roster of the day, thus renouncing a guaranteed seventh year of control – the club is always free to sign it for an extension, after all.
Citizens of Washington – Extend Anthony Rendon
While citizens were unable – or inclined – to block Bryce Harper, they could actually have one better internal option to build around the third baseman Anthony Rendon, who owns a 0.923 OPS (138 OPS +) in the last two seasons and was, from fWAR, the sixth most valuable position player in the majors. (Harper is 26th, apart). He's a little older than Harper, and his track record as an elite elite player is not as large, but Rendon – currently ready to hit the agency free next winter – it is however a talented superstar level that can serve as a pivot of training for the foreseeable future. Clearly, the Nationals do not plan to press the reset button at any time, having just signed Patrick Corbin for a six-year contract to support a rotation that already includes Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, so extending Rendon seems like a logical move for a team which intends to be competitive indefinitely and will increasingly rely on cheap labor (ish) in the near future.
Jonah Birenbaum is theScore senior MLB writer for theScore. He emits a good ham. You can find it on Twitter @birenball.