While You Were Hibernating: A Recap of MLBs Off Season

Ian Scott McCormick

Ian Scott McCormick

Ian is a New Yorker, a father, a husband, a sports fan. He covers a variety of subjects but really only appreciates burgers and cola.
Ian Scott McCormick

Hey, baseball is back. Well, not really. Spring Training is back. Sort of. Do you care about Spring Training? I don’t. We’re about two weeks away from the start of meaningless games in pajamas, so really baseball stretching is back. Do you want to watch your favorite pitchers and catchers slow tossing baseballs in shorts? Well Feliz Navidad, you humps. But it does mean that we’re getting closer and closer to the start of real, actual baseball, which is cool.

Hey, a bunch of stuff happened since the World Series wrapped. Let’s talk about them. I’ll start with

Team Updates

Arizona Diamondbacks

2018 Record: 82-80, 3rd in NL West, tied for 7th with Washington in overall NL Standings.

Major Transactions: Traded Paul Goldschmidt to St. Louis for…not Paul Goldschmidt. Why did they trade their best player? Because he is 31 and due to either be extended or hit free agency in a year. 31 is a funny age and they were obviously afraid of the contract they were going to offer to keep him in the desert. Of course they made this deal in December, and as we found out in January, teams aren’t exactly throwing money at just as good players who happen to be five years younger, so who the hell knows what it would have taken to keep him?

Are they trying? I don’t think so. One year ago they let J.D. Martinez sign as a DH for the Red Sox, I guess under the pretense that they were being forced to choose between resigning him or Goldy. And now they’ve traded Goldy. So they once had two of the best sluggers in the game and now have zero. Go figure.

Atlanta Braves

2018 Record: 90-72, won the NL East, 5th best record in overall NL standings. Lost NLDS series with the Dodgers 3-1.

Major Transactions: Signed Josh Donaldson. That’s something. He didn’t have the best season. His elbow was destroyed early in the year, and he was shipped out for Vlad Guererro Jr as soon as they could find a taker. And he put up a little over 1 WAR. But his wOBA was good, his wRC+ was good. So he still hit fairly well when he played.

Are they trying? They’re trying. The Braves are young, and their window is open for a few years. I’m not sure signing Josh Donaldson puts you over the top, but it’s something.

Baltimore Orioles

2018 Record: 47-118, worst team in MLB, 11 games worse than Kansas City.

They have done nothing and they are not trying. So far their biggest move is not resigning Adam Jones after failing to trade him when he exercised his 10-5 rights, and refused a midseason move, because moving in the middle of the year is a hassle. Seriously. He did that. The Phillies, a team that finished 33 wins better than Baltimore, said they wanted him and worked out a deal with his employers, and Adam Jones just said, nah. He’s good with the 47 win squad. Other than that they got rid of Manny Machado and Zach Britton, the two other players who could have possibly improved things. They’re not trying. They suck. Whatever. Chris Davis sure as hell doesn’t care as long as the checks clear.

Boston Red Sox

2018 Record: Fuck Boston

Major Transactions: They resigned Nathan Eovaldi. Eo was pretty solid at the end of the year, and he managed to shut down the Yankees. Of course the Yankees steadfastly refuse to employ left handed hitters, so a righty can do that if he’s throwing his best stuff. He’s also had Tommy John surgery twice, and his elbow is being held together with chewing gum and fishing line.

Are they trying? They can try to shove the thick end of their bats up their assholes for all I’m concerned.

Chicago Cubs

2018 Record: 95-68, 2nd place in the NL Central, and 2nd in the overall NL Standings. Lost in the Wildcard game to the Rockies. Jesus. Anyway, nice season, hope you had fun in your do or die game when you were a game away from winning your division and getting home field advantage through the NLCS.

Major Transactions: Nothing yet.

Are they trying? Half heartedly. You guys are aware that Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are available? Hey, fun fact, Bryce Harper is good buddies with Kris Bryant. He’s also younger than he is. And they have more money than King Croesus. But they did execute a trade for Ronald Torreyes. Hey, I liked Toe. I just don’t think he’s swinging the balance of power in your favor, Chicago. Especially since he’s no longer on the team.

Chicago White Sox

2018 Record: 62-100, 4th place in AL Central, 13th in overall AL standings.

Major Transactions: Major? Nothing yet. But they’ve attempted to surround Manny Machado by signing all his friends.

Are they trying? Well, they’re trying to sign Manny Machado. Are they trying to win games? Who knows. I could try to dunk on a 13 foot rim and would have roughly the same odds of making good as the White Sox would have should they be trying to win.

Cincinnati Reds

2018 Record: 67-95, last in NL Central, 13th in overall NL standings.

Major Transactions: They traded for Yasiel Puig. They traded for Tanner Rourke. They traded for Sonny Gray.

Are they trying? I have no idea. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the belief that trading for Sonny Gray is the move of a team that is trying.

Cleveland Indians

2018 Record: 91-71, won the AL Central, 5th best record in the American League. It sure is fun to watch a team flay four garbage teams all year, finish nine and six games behind the two Wildcard teams, and get a free pass to the ALDS purely because of geography. Anybody want to fix that? No? Cool.

Major Transactions: Effectively traded Edwin Encarnacion for Carlos Santana.

Are they trying? Sort of. They did say they want to slash payroll, and once indicated that and Corey Kluber well documented bad person Trevor Bauer are available. They lost Michael Brantley to free agency. These do not sound like the actions of a team that is trying, but it’s important to remember that the Cleveland Indians play in the AL Central, and could fill center field with a guy screaming into a megaphone that Chief Wahoo isn’t racist, and still finish 3 games ahead of Minnesota.

Colorado Rockies

2018 Record: 91-72, 2nd in NL West, 4th in overall NL standings, beat the Cubs in the Wildcard game, and then got swept by the Brewers in the NLDS.

Major Transactions: All of their old players are on the Yankees now.

Are they trying? They are trying. Not “signing Manny Machado/Bryce Harper or any other free agents of note” trying, but once the season starts I trust them to not try to intentionally lose. They got Daniel Murphy. That’s okay.

Detroit Tigers

2018 Record: 64-98, 3rd in the AL Central, 12th in overall AL standings.

They aren’t trying. Mike Ilitch gave Miguel Cabrera a classic Anna Nicole Smith deal, then promptly died, and now Cabrera is 100 years old and due three times the net worth of the entire city of Detroit. If there are any Detroit city workers who are wondering why they don’t have a pension anymore, you can thank Miguel Cabrera.

Houston Astros

2018 Record: 103-59, won the AL West, finished 2nd in overall AL standings, lost to the fuckface Red Sox in the ALCS.

Major Transactions: They got Michael Brantley from Cleveland, and on a 2 year/$32MM contract, which is pretty solid for a still really good 31 year old. They have not resigned Dallas Keuchel, but Dallas Keuchel has been hemorrhaging velocity and didn’t strike anybody out as is, and is demanding a huge contract, so that might actually be for the best.

Are they trying? Of course they are. They’re still really young, and really scary. They won 103 games. They won the World Series the year before that. They’re going to try.

Kansas City Royals

2018 Record: 58-104, last place in NL Central, 14th in overall AL standings.

They’re not trying.

Los Angeles Angels

2018 Record: 80-82, 4th place in AL West, 8th in overall AL standings.

Major Transactions: Does Matt Harvey count?

Are they trying? Trying to waste the prime of Mike Trout’s career. It’s astonishing. This team features Mike Trout and Shohei Othani and from what I understand, they are a complete afterthought in the greater Los Angeles area. Anyway Othani the pitcher is going to be out for a minute while he recovers from Tommy John surgery, while Othani the DH should be ready to rock and roll. Here’s a hot take: He should just DH. Pitching and hitting is really hard. The first thing people are going to say is that only Babe Ruth really did it. What they don’t realize is that as soon as Babe Ruth started hitting on his off days, he kind of became a shitty pitcher. Othani is already adjusting to much better competition in the states, and as a pitcher has to adapt to a 5 man rotation from their 6 man system. If you’d asked me last year, I would have guessed that he would have been a better pitcher than hitter, but I was wrong. In fairness, he’s pretty great at both, but he’s had surgery on the elbow, and he’s absolutely legit as a hitter, so I’d just tell him to hit. Either way, the Angels are still pretty mediocre.

Los Angeles Dodgers

2018 Record: 92-71, won the NL West, 3rd in overall NL Standings, lost World Series.

Major Transactions: They kept Kershaw. Other than that, no.

Are they trying? Probably. Maybe this year they’ll mix it up and lose the World Series to the Yankees. That’d be cool.

Miami Marlins

2018 Record: 63-98, last in overall NL standings.

This team is only trying to save money, because their owner didn’t actually afford the team he bought. They had JT Realmuto, who is a really good catcher, and somebody that they were dying to send 1,200 miles away from their stadium as quickly as they could. If it weren’t for the fact that their stadium is going to cost taxpayers a billion dollars (oddly enough, not a hyperbole) they would have been relocated years ago. They’ve won two World Series and their greatest achievement is in having become too big to fail.

Milwaukee Brewers

2018 Record: 96-67, best overall record in NL, lost to the Dodgers in the NLCS.

Major Transactions: They signed Yasmani Grandal, who is a very good catcher.

Are they trying? Honest to God, they are trying. They were the darling World Series team for those who are worried about rooting for teams that do not typically do the big thing. Manny Machado stepped on their first baseman’s ankle and the world decided to murder him for it. I have no idea when the murder will take place, but people are mad. Anyway, I don’t root for Milwaukee, so I don’t care if they ever win a World Series, but if you are looking for a team to root for, Milwaukee is not a bad place to start.

Minnesota Twins

2018 Record: 78-84, 2nd in AL Central, 9th in overall AL standings

Major Transactions: Pass

Are they trying? Probably. They could try harder, but nobody wants to play for Minnesota because they built a new stadium with no roof, and still intend to play outside games in April. Do you want to hang out in Minnesota in April? I don’t. Anyway, remember when I said that Chicago got Ronald Torreyes? Well, it was the Twins who actually won that Yankee Swap. Best of luck, Minny.

New York Mets

2018 Record: 77-85, 4th place in NL East, 11th in overall NL standings.

Major Transactions: This team got weird. Really weird. First they made an agent their GM. An agent who represented their best players. If I were a player, this would represent an incredibly fucked up development, as this guy has gone from representing me, and thusly knowing damn near everything about me, to representing ownership, completely free to now work against my own interests. But whatever man. If one team was going to try that, it was probably always going to be the Mets. Then they signed Wilson Ramos, and resigned Jeurys Familia. And then they traded for Robinson Cano and Edwin Dias. Edwin Dias makes total sense, as one of the game’s elite closers. Robinson Cano on the other hand is risky as hell. The guy is 36 years old, and the National League does not have a DH. And he’s coming off a PED suspension. And he’s still owed so much goddamn money. And by so much goddamn money, I mean $120MM over the next five years. If you had told me that Robinson Cano was a 36 year old free agent and just signed a $120MM contract, I would have assumed that Bryce Harper and Manny Machado would be finalizing their own $600MM deals right now. And yet that absolutely has not played out that way. It’s a funny world.

Are they trying? They’d better be trying.

New York Yankees

2018 Record: 100-62, 2nd in AL East, 3rd in overall AL standings. Won Wildcard game. Lost in ALDS.

Major Transactions: This team got busy. They’re pretty much the only team that got busy, so this is going to be the biggest section in this here article. Of course they made every move except for the ones that I personally wanted them to make. In my mind they signed Patrick Corbin, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and whoever else they felt like. Afterall, that’s the Yankee way. They’d built a great team organically, they’d reset the luxury tax penalty, there is no salary cap, and in the case of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, there were two 26 year old future Hall of Fame players that could be had for nothing more than money. The Yankees have money! Spend your money, bitches. They went another route. Instead they quickly resigned CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner, which is fine, I guess. Brett Gardner can’t play in the second half of the season anymore, and CC Sabathia is going to require at least one and probably two stints on the DL to have surgery on his knee, but whatever. They were fairly cheap and they’re good locker room guys. Then they traded for James Paxton which is awesome, except he’s 30 and last year was far and away the most he’s ever pitched in a season, going a whopping 160 innings. A season where you pitch 160 innings would typically be described as “a little light for an ace,” but these are his innings pitched tallies in years past:

2013- 24

2014- 74

2015- 67

2016- 121

2017- 136

Whoa, slow down Sisyphus. You can’t be the Cal Ripken Jr of pitching every year, buddy. The single most annoying thing was listening to Yankee fans say “Yeah, but Patrick Corbin’s only been good for one year” while also insisting “Hey, James Paxton might very well be healthy for a full season.” Guys, James Paxton has literally only been good for one year. I’m not saying don’t make the trade. I’m down with the Big Maple. But don’t act like your work is done. They could have traded for him and signed Patrick Corbin.

After that they opened a time capsule from 2014 and signed Troy Tulowitzki, because that’s the middle infielder that everybody was clamoring for. Troy hasn’t been healthy in forever, and he hasn’t been good in even longer. I’m rooting for him (I’m a Yankee fan. No, fuck you), but I’m not crazy. There’s a very strong possibility that he’s going to suck. “Yeah, but he doesn’t cost you anything.” Yes he does. He costs us by the Yankees saying they’re good and ignoring the fact that Manny Machado is literally chilling with nothing to do, you numb nuts. Then they signed DJ LeMahieu, who is a really solid defensive 2B that happens to maybe suck as a hitter. I don’t know. He hits 1,000 ground balls a year and absolutely refused to hit the ball in the air despite playing in Colorado, so I’m nto sure he’s going to barrel up in the Bronx. Also he’s yet another righty in a stadium hand crafted for lefty sluggers. Hey, do you know who is a lefty slugger? Bryce Harper. Bryce would probably hit 75 homeruns a year with that short porch, but what-the-fuck-ever, am I right guys?

In fairness, their bullpen remains elite. They let David Robertson go, and they let Zach Britton go, but they did manage to land Zack Britton, and got Adam Ottavino. Adam Ottavino made noise this offseason by insisting that he would shut Babe Ruth down, which…calm down. I know everybody likes to say that Babe Ruth happened a long time ago and therefore would have gotten his shit wrecked, but the man hit 714 Home Runs while riding a train from town to town. Clone him and give him a proper workout regiment, equipment, and whatever players currently have at their disposal (PEDs) and he doesn’t get a 30 hit tool grade. That said, Ottavino’s slider is essentially gif porn

Yikes. Looks tricky to hit. So their bullpen is elite, however their bullpen was elite last year and that didn’t stop Aaron Boone from falling asleep and then letting their starters run them out of the game in the ALDS against their most hated rivals. Or having him turn to Lance fucking Lynn when they absolutely, positively needed a strikeout (Lance Lynn, for those of you who do not know baseball the way I know baseball, is not good at getting strikouts), while having strikeout machines straight up chilling in the bullpen during the highest of leverage situations. During the press conference Aaron Boone said he did nothing wrong. No. I need you to admit that you fucked this one up, Booney. Take the loss so that I know you’re at least aware of it. Don’t Alternative Facts me, bro.

Also they traded Sonny Gray for a draft pick and a player who definitely won’t help them this year. Fine.

Are they trying? Yeah, but they could have tried harder, IMO. They’re going to make the playoffs, but their rotation is all injury risks, and Boston didn’t get much worse. They had better fucking win the goddamn World Series, is what I’m saying.

Oakland Athletics

2018 Record: 97-65, 2nd in the AL West, 4th in overall AL standings, lost in Wildcard Game. Ouch. Look, I don’t like this format either, Oakland. You got screwed so that Cleveland could live.

Major Transactions: Nothing. They should probably do something, but I’m going to cut them some slack, because nobody wants to sign for Oakland because they play in an absolute dump. Let’s be honest, the one transaction these guys should make is coming up with a new place to play baseball. The irony is that while other teams are demolishing perfectly good stadiums for new ones in a taxpayer funded grift, the A’s have been playing in a trashcan for decades and simply cannot get a new home. O.co Stadium is just not an optimal place to play or watch a baseball game. Their foul line seats are roughly three counties away from the field of play and the whole thing is a concrete dump.

This is what it looks like today

Barf. That is just a mess, and I don’t know why anybody would willfully choose to play there when they have other options. But the story of the old Oakland Coliseum is a tragedy, because it didn’t always look this way. This was the original OACC

That’s actually kind of beautiful. I’ll grant you, those seats are nowhere near the foul line, and the amenities would undoubtedly need to be updated, but it has a simple charm. The view of the mountains is pretty, the dimensions are cookie cutter, but having been the last one left standing the A’s would have served as fossil preserved in time. I would happily take in a ball game at that stadium. So what happened? Football happened. The Raiders moved back and Al Davis wanted his own mountain to blot out the picturesque beauty seen above. Al Davis is dead and the Raiders have put all of their stuff in boxes, and this stadium is that much older, and sadder, permanently scarred. We hold our noses at O.co, but we should remember that it was once beautiful.

Are they trying? Yeah, but Houston isn’t going anywhere, and they still don’t have a front line ace for when they inevitably get sent to the Wildcard Game again, so they’re going to have a tough time beating the Yankees or Red Sox.

Philadelphia Phillies

2018 Record: 80-82, 3rd place in NL East, 10th in overall NL standings

Major Transactions: They appear to be taking on the players the Yankees have let go, having signed Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson. That’s kind of a bummer. I liked both those guys. Sure, we barely had Andrew McCutchen and we made him shave his face (The Yankees hair policies are so fucking stupid), but while he was here he managed to do things like pimp routine walks.

Damn it that’s really cool. Has anybody on your favorite team ever flipped the bat on ball four? That’s what I thought. I’ll miss you, Andrew. And they just got JT Realmuto. It cost them a really good prospect in Sixto Sanchez, but they seem like they want to at least win that division. The Phillies owner said he’s ready to spend “stupid money” on the premier free agents. Considering that the Phillies once extended Ryan Howard to an insane degree, the phrase stupid money could mean anything. Well, he’s already lost out on Patrick Corbin, and as of the time I write this, has not signed Harper or Machado. Let’s see how stupid they’re really willing to get.

Are they trying? I think so. They don’t appear to be tanking.

Pittsburgh Pirates

2018 Record: 82-79, 4th in the NL Central, Technically 6th overall in the NL but only because they only played 161 games.

Are they trying? No. Fuck no. Did you not read what I just wrote? They didn’t even bother playing the full 162 game season last year. Besides which this team is run by poop eating chimpanzees. Last year they basically decided to give the Astros Gerrit Cole for nothing (rumor was the Yankees package was better), and then gave away the farm to score Chris Archer. Would you be surprised if I told you that Gerrit Cole was great and Chris Archer absolutely shit his pants last year? You shouldn’t be. Fuck these morons.

San Diego Padres

2018 Record: 66-96, last in the NL West, 14th in the overall NL standings

Major Transactions: Would you believe me if I told you these guys were suddenly players for Manny Machado? My God. I guess they…aren’t tanking? Honestly, I’m really confused. Maybe they’re finally coming around. They’ve been really bad for a while, but Fernando Tatis Jr is genuinely considered to be an absolute jewel of a prospect, so perhaps it’s all happening in San Diego.

Are they trying? Look, they’re not making the playoffs this year, I don’t care if they get Machado and Harper. But they might be trying. It’s hypocritical for me, a Nets fan, to bash a team trying to make the best of what they have when they almost definitely can’t win the title. That said, I don’t know how many points I award you for sucking for year after year. Eventually once you get the prospects you have to try at least a little.

They probably won’t actually get Machado anyway.

San Francisco Giants

2018 Record: 73-89, 4th in the NL West, 12th in overall NL standings

Major Transactions: Nothing major yet.

Are they trying? Look, this is the one team that probably should not have tried last year. They are old where they need to be young, and have no foundation for the future. Last year they picked up Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria. Four years earlier, those would have been really solid additions. In 2018 they were only enough to keep them just close enough to a playoff position to hold off on trading Madison Bumgarner. Madison Bumgarner would have commanded a very nice package from somebody. He’s still under 30, and I’ve seen what he can do in the playoffs. Sign me up for MadBum. Of course he’s also been injured a lot, and now his stuff is moderately diminished and hoo boy, you are not going to get what you would have gotten last year, San Francisco.

Seattle Mariners

2018 Record: 89-73, 3rd in AL West, 7th in overall AL standings

Major Transactions: They traded away James Paxton for prospect Justus Sheffield and some other guys. They signed Yusei Kikuchi. Is Yusei Kikuchi good? Remains to be seen. Is saying “Kikuchi” fun? Sure is. Also they traded away both their best closer (Edwin Diaz) and their biggest albatross of a contract (Robinson Cano).

Are they trying? It’s hard to say they’re trying when they’ve traded away their best players for financial flexibility. I don’t think they’re going into this season with the idea that they’re winning the AL West, but maybe they think they can make the playoffs. Maybe they believe in Kikuchi. That said, I think this team will sell everything if they fall five games out of the second Wildcard spot. Other GM’s will be circling Safeco Field like buzzards if they stumble even the slightest.

St. Louis Cardinals

2018 Record: 88-74, 3rd in NL Central, 7th in overall NL Standings

Major Transactions: They got Paul Goldschmidt. He’s a good player. Kris Bryant also took a dump on their city, because St. Louis sucks. Last year Giancarlo Stanton refused to play for them and refused a trade out of Miami, primarily because St. Louis sucks. Albert Pujols couldn’t wait to sprint to Anaheim in spite of the fact that he was considered a God. Did that last one work out for the Cardinals? Absolutely, but you don’t get to pretend that your guys are any smarter than the Angels. You were ready to pay way too much money to a player everybody knew was statistically due for regression. Congrats, your trash fire of a city worked out to your advantage for once. Stop defending Darren Wilson, you racists.

Are they trying? Sure are. Look, say what you will about St. Louis as a city or how smarmy the writers who cover the Cardinals can be, but the team legitimately tries. In the words of every reality show ever, they’re here for the right reasons. Getting Paul Goldschmit was a really solid addition, and frankly I would be really scared if the Cardinals ever fully adopted the Tank philosophy. The Cardinals are good for baseball.

Tampa Bay Rays

2018 Record: 90-72, 3rd in AL East, 6th in overall AL standings.

Major Transactions: They signed Charlie Morton. Hey, nothing fishy at all about a guy who suddenly discovered so much more velocity in his mid 30’s.

Are they trying? Yeah. I don’t know how they’re doing it, but they really did give it their best shot in 2018. They invented the idea of the “Opener” which is a legitimate strategy that will probably be with us forever now. For those who don’t follow baseball, the opener is the idea that you use a relief pitcher in the first inning, simply because it is the only inning where you know for sure you will be facing the other team’s first three hitters with no outs. It’s automatically one of the highest leverage situations, and if you don’t have a true ace, might be the inning where your team suffers early on. It’s a really good idea, and it’s shocking that it took until now for somebody to go ahead and try it. That team was the Tampa Bay Rays, and they should get credit for that.

Texas Rangers

2018 Record: 67-95, last in the AL West, 11th in the overall AL standings

Major Transactions: Adrian Beltre retired.

Are they trying? Nope. Don’t watch this team. They literally had one reason to watch- Adrian Beltre- and he’s gone forever. You should have appreciated him more, and now you can’t.

Toronto Blue Jays

2018 Record: 73-89, 4th in the AL East, 10th in the overall AL standings.

Major Transactions: Nothing major so far. Vlad Jr is coming up, so that’s pretty exciting.

Are they trying? Not really.

Washington Nationals

2018 Record: 80-82, 3rd in the NL East, 10th in overall NL standings

Major Transactions: They signed Patrick Corbin to the tune of $140MM over six years. Six years is a long time to commit for any pitcher, and especially one who has had Tommy John Surgery and throws a million sliders. But it helps to be the best pitcher on the market, and they apparently feel like they’re close. Their pitching staff should be legit. They also attempted to tamper with Bryce Harper’s free agency by setting the market and telling everybody that they offered $300MM over 10 years and it was a non starter.

Are they trying? Yeah.

New Shit

MLB is teasing a new logo to commemorate their 150th anniversary

That certainly is a logo. You’ve taken the league logo and added numbers to the side. You really get a sense that you’re reliving a century and a half worth of history. Babe Ruth, breaking down the color barrier, Vin Scully. It’s all there in those three numbers. A logo that was quite obviously thrown together by an intern in five minutes. And they say owners are cheap.

The Miami Marlins have a new uniform.

I kind of like it, but uh, Miami, maybe don’t use Starlin Castro’s uniform in Miami. Read the room, guys. Any other versions?

 

That’s not bad. I see you’re back peddling away from that orange you’d used. That’s fine. There are better teams already using orange, so you don’t need it. Hey, did your PR department come up with any long winded explanations on the jersey?

Miami’s new colors are: Caliente Red, Miami Blue, Midnight Black, and Slate Grey.

So…red, blue, black and grey. Also, you gave red top billing? There’s not that much red in there.

Our Colores can be seen throughout the culture of Miami, on the vibrant streets and metropolitan landscape of South Florida, and are representative of the shades of colors found in the large variety of cultural flags flown throughout the community’s many neighborhoods.

Hey, you misspelled co- ohhh. I see what you’re doing. Muy bien, mis amigos. Your colors represent the landscape though? One of your four colors is grey. You sure about this, guys?

The logo and colors aim to capture the rich baseball history, diversity, and energy of the area.

Your logo is an M and a fish. It’s meant to represent “Miami” and “Marlins.” Maybe settle down on the representation, Dali.

The pairing of Miami Blue and Caliente Red pop off of the base color of Midnight Black, energizing the script and giving the logo an electric and vibrant look — emblematic of the Miami energy and nightlife.

Not true. A true representation of Miami nightlife would include white lines, and a picture of young and attractive people not going to a Marlins game.

The styling of the modern script “M” and curved tapered serif font is a classic approach influenced by the typography commonly found among the Latin-American culture. The look has as much to do with the infusion of the local Hispanic culture as it does with the history of baseball in Miami as the font style and accent colors are a throwback to the Miami Marlins and the Havana Sugar Kings of the 1950s.

It’s an M. Settle down, PR hack.

That’s the biggest change. I’m not going to get too deep into the smaller ones. Cleveland sent Chief Wahoo on his own little trail of tears. I’m sure that went down without any of the locals saying things their grandchildren will regret. This deal was of course contingent with their hosting the All Star Game. Here’s the logo:

It’s a guitar. Cleveland fancies themselves as the Rock and Roll city. Why? Fuck if I know. There’s probably some history about a radio guy accepting payola to play something for the kids on some now defunct AM station, which is why they got the Hard Rock Cafe to end all Hard Rock Cafes: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Truly there is no greater honor than for the day a past his expiration date rock star will get to share the stage with a past his expiration date R&B singer, a past their expiration date punk band, a past their expiration date pop singer, and a past their expiration date alt country act. Now you get a shitty little trophy and generations of music lovers can bitch about when music was good. And Cleveland has ridden this for all it’s worth. Congrats, nobody thinks of you as the Rock City, but keep on trying to make that happen.

Other than that, there aren’t a ton of significant changes. The Padres thought about returning to their piss and shit color scheme, but said they’re going to wait until at least 2020 for that, and will in the meantime wear their incomprehensibly boring uniforms.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Oh, also MLB The Show hilariously decided to get Bryce Harper to be their cover boy. Why is that funny?

Oh right. Because he doesn’t have a team yet. That’s right, kids. With MLB The Show 19, you can be Bryce Harper. Not suiting up. Not swinging the lumber. Not electrifying the fans. Hey look, I’m being Bryce Harper right now.

What Isn’t New Shit

Hey did you hear about those proposed rule changes? They’re not coming this year. Okay, maybe the more boring ones like the three batter minimum rule are going to happen, but pitch clocks? Universal DH? No my friend, this is not how these things happen. No sport humps it’s own history like baseball, and when you say “Yeah, but why are the leagues different” MLB will smile and say “That’s part of the charm.” And when you ask why they think that’s charming, they’re already tsk tsking a corner outfielder for admiring his own home run. Come on man. These changes will be long and protracted. Have you heard the mandated 2,000 hours of talking heads debating the DH actually being made mandatory this year? You have not. Have you read the minimum 500 blog posts about adding a clock- THE VERY NOTION OF TIME ITSELF- to a baseball game? The rules may be unwritten but they are crystal clear: MLB will not implement any radical changes until each and every one of their fans wants to kill themselves. I’m all for making the DH universal, but it sure as hell isn’t going to happen now, a few weeks from Spring Training games, when 90% of the rosters have already been established. It’s going to happen at the next CBA, and we’re going to hear people screaming about how awesome it is when a pitcher manages to get on base. Sure, one out of every 10 times, it is awesome. Of course that means it’s shitty and predictable 9 out of every 10 times, but since when has baseball ever concerned itself with statistics? (This is where some idiot who doesn’t get hyperbole tries to ‘well actually…’ me with the lifetime on base percentages of pitchers. I look forward to your excellent work, douchebag.) We still have to hear Madison Bumgarner go on TV and fart out “Durrr, I’ve hit a dinger before, so I think I’m a pretty good hitter.”  He isn’t. His .183/.228/.313 slash line might be the stuff of legend as far as non Shohei Ohtani pitchers go, but for position players that’s a one way ticket to AA baseball. You think we’re just going to get rid of hitting pitchers like that? Good lord, no. This is MLB saying we’re going to talk about getting rid of hitting pitchers. Get ready to hate yourself.

Old Shit

The Hall of Fame will induct a bunch of players. Many of which absolutely deserve to be there. One of which absolutely does not. A few other people do deserve to be there, but will not get to until 2020 at the earliest. I’ve already gone over all of this stuff before in my Hader’s Guide, but that was before everybody was voted on and decided. Let’s talk about the notables who did get in.

Mariano Rivera- He’s the greatest closer of all time, and one of my favorites. There’s no question that he should get in. The real question was should he have gotten in unanimously. This has always seemed like a stupid question, because what actually changes if he is unanimous? Nothing. He doesn’t get to lord over Ken Griffey Junior for the rest of time. Nobody is going to care about this, but there were several people who were itching to get mad that somebody cast an edgy ballot. Anyway, he’s the first unanimous Hall of Famer. Wonderful?

Roy Halladay- He won’t wear a Blue Jay or a P on his cap, because he’s dead and his wife doesn’t know what to do. Bullshit. You have to pick a side, lady. Blue Jay or P? What’s it gonna be? I need to know this. I swear to god if you don’t come up with something, I’ll bring a box cutter and etch a Montreal Expos M just to fuck with you. Stop being so precious.

Mike Mussina- He got in! But he’s also going no logo. What the fuck, nerd? I don’t care if you pick the Orioles over the Yankees. I know who you played for. There are plenty of guys with a Yankees cap. Pick the damn bird for all I care.

Edgar Martinez- I guess it’s good that a DH is in the Hall of Fame, but I can’t help but think that this means they’re going to let that fatass David Ortiz in there. Watch everybody suddenly get over both PEDs and the designated hitter as soon as he becomes eligible. It’ll be a fucking miracle.

Those are the real Hall of Fame guys. But there was also another committee that for some reason gets to put other people in the Hall of Fame. It’s the Today’s Era Committee. And it’s trash. It let two players in this year. I’m fine with 50% of their selections.

Lee Smith- A lot of people are going to give ol’ Lee a hard time, but hell, he was one of the best relievers of all time. I’m cool with it.

Harold Baines- Fuuuuuuck this selection. Congratulations Harold, you get to be the worst Hall of Fame player of my lifetime. Look at this guy.

He knows he doesn’t belong in the damn Hall of Fame. Here’s the deal, WAR isn’t a perfect stat, but it helps sort out the types of players who belong and the ones who don’t. Generally speaking, I believe that we can have a discussion about your eligibility once you hit 60. This doesn’t apply to relief pitchers, because they don’t see enough action to get that high, but in terms of everybody else? Yeah, 60 is a fine place to start. Some guys will get in with a little less. Some guys will go way higher.

Harold Baines has a bWAR 38.7 of and an fWAR of 38.4. And now he’s a Hall of Famer. Well that’s just great. And now he’s opened up the dreaded “Here’s my entire argument for ________ getting into the Hall of Fame: Harold Baines” hot take. He effectively ruins the Hall of Fame saying they have any bottom line, because so, so many players are better than Harold Baines. Let’s take a look at all of the current MLB players who have a lifetime bWAR higher than 38.7

That is 31 different position players and pitchers who are better right now. David Price and Corey Kluber will probably cruise past that by the trade deadline. Same story for Josh Donaldson, Mookie Betts, Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado, possibly Brett Gardner. There is no building big enough to house all of the former players who will have eclipsed Harold Baines’ 38.7 WAR career, and it’s ridiculous that he’s being immortalized.

Who should get in?

Larry Walker- Larry Walker is legitimately great, and it’s criminal that he isn’t in yet. His 72.7 WAR is almost double Harold Baines, for what that’s worth. His advanced stats that account for park effects easily throw the notion that he’s a product of Coors Field into the trash. Next year is his last on the Writer’s ballot and I really hope they’ll do the right thing here. But they probably won’t. He got less than 55% of the vote, so he needs a gigantic leap to do it next year. Sucks.

Curt Schilling- Look, Curt is wretched. He’s an asshole. He cost the taxpayers of Rhode Island $55MM, and his memes are atrocious. But he’s also a Hall of Fame pitcher, and you probably can’t tell the story of baseball without his piece of shit self. I’ve heard people say the Hall should invoke the Character Clause, but that Character Clause has traditionally been reserved for sins against baseball. The Black Sox scandal where they threw the 1919 World Series. Pete Rose gambling as a manager. PED usage. I don’t think it’s ever been invoked for just being a douchebag. And that kind of thinking goes down a very dangerous path. Like it or not, we probably have to accept that the people we root for might not be very good guys. This is in some ways a business transaction. You do a job for a team that I watch, and I pay money to the owner, that makes it’s way into your bank account. You will never find 25 great guys on any team. Nobody gets their number retired for helping wayward travelers or regularly donating their time at a food pantry. God damn it, Aroldis Chapman pulled a gun on his girlfriend, and Yankee fans love to watch him do his work. Curt didn’t break any laws (well, I’d have to brush up on his Rhode Island stuff, but you get what I mean), and it doesn’t appear that he cheated the game. You should probably put him in the Hall.

That said, fuck Curt Schilling. It would be pretty damn funny to keep him out.

Who Hasn’t Signed Yet

Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrell.

So a 26 year old who has won an MVP, a guy who to this point in his career has equaled Barry Bonds in WAR, a former Cy Young, and one of the best closers in the baseball. This is fine and great for the game, I’m sure.

The Talk of the Off Season

Are the owners colluding?

Yes.

Is That It? Would You Like To Add Anything?

Not particularly. Know what’s been especially enlightening? Reading thousands of posts where people regurgitate the same talking points over and over again. Do you feel like the players make enough as is, and this is all good business? Fine. Get fucked.

You want the absolute truth? I don’t really care if Manny Machado gets $100MM or $400MM. Not really. We’re all using this as a proxy battle for some larger war about labor in America, which is probably why the debate is so goddamn insufferable. Yes, it’s absolutely aggravating for bootlickers to insist that ownership should get to keep as much money as they want, but whatever. There are bigger problems. And that’s the real madness with how Americans view sports. You think the draft is important? You think it’s important that teams pool their money together so that the strong keep the weak afloat? Cool. That’s a form of socialism. We can have socialism in sports, but when we…

Jesus Christ, I swore I wasn’t going to do this. I am nowhere near qualified enough to talk about the finer points of socialism, but is that going to stop me from spouting off like I’m an economics professor? Hell no. That’s the real national past time. Not watching baseball or football or even getting super dorky with your fantasy team. Nope. It’s spouting off and trying to unload on strangers who will not be convinced to abandon their own shaky philosophical ground. All I know is I’ve wasted a hell of a lot more time doing that than watching any game.

I’m so fucking sick of this offseason. I don’t even care anymore. Give Bryce Harper forty bucks and make him play in a dress for all the good it’ll do for me personally.

Predictions for 2019

Predictions are stupid and I suck at them. You want a prediction? Fine. The Brooklyn Dodgers over the Seattle Pilots in 6 games. Book it.

 

 

 

 

 

Ian Scott McCormick
Ian Scott McCormick
Ian is a New Yorker, a father, a husband, a sports fan. He covers a variety of subjects but really only appreciates burgers and cola.
https://ianscottmccormick.com/
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King Hippo

I love that the Mets pick shows a pouty Herr Fuhrer (pre-Fuhrer days) watching el beisbol God Yadier Molina celebrate Waino striking out Beltran to win the WS.

I saw that from the hospital (can’t recall why I was there), and it’s a glorious memory.

Game Time Decision

This write up almost makes me interested in baseball. And then I remember that I have the attention span of a nat and baseball games last forever and go Nets

yeah right

This is incredibly detailed, excellent work.

On that note Milwaukee can get fucked.

Great write-up.

BrettFavresColonoscopy

I’m going to spring training this year for the first time in my life. I wish I still had the sense of wonder I had as a kid because I am going to be cynical af.

Mr. Ayo
Mr. Ayo

Do you have a day job? Or is this it? Because I’ve spent almost a full work day reading your posts these past two days.

Sharkbait

Baseball games are fun to go to, but boring as shit to watch on TV

blaxabbath

I just want Bonds to be kept out of the Hall. It won’t happen because Brady but, still, one can hope.

ballsofsteelandfury

I’m actually looking forward to getting back into baseball!

SonOfSpam

This is great and wonderful, but I’m not sure the Pilots have what it takes to win a protracted series.

Angels have Matt Harvey now. Look out, (mediocre team who finishes 3 games under .500)!