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Sports Reasonable end-of-season reactions for every AL team

16:35  31 october  2020
16:35  31 october  2020 Source:   thescore.com

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The most chaotic season in Major League Baseball history is, against some odds, complete. Let's take a look at some reasonable reactions - as reasonable as one can get over a 60-game season - for every American League team:

a baseball player holding a bat on a field © Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Baltimore Orioles: There are more growth assets here than previously thought. It seemed there was little reason to watch the Orioles when it was announced Trey Mancini would miss 2020 to undergo treatment for colon cancer. However, Anthony Santander appears to be a legitimate piece. The 26-year-old hit .261/.315/.575 with 11 homers over 37 games before going down with an injury.

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a man wearing a baseball hat: Todd Kirkland / Getty Images Sport / Getty © Provided by theScore Todd Kirkland / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Boston Red Sox: The real work begins for Chaim Bloom. Sure, it took some work to find the best trade package for Mookie Betts, but building a sustained winner made possible by the 'financial flexibility' of shipping away a franchise player is the tough stuff. To his credit, Alex Verdugo seems like the real deal, hitting .308/.367/.478 with six homers and four steals.

Chicago White Sox: Trading Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, losing 100 games ... it's all been worth it. While it wasn't a 108-year championship drought, the White Sox rebuild felt never-ending for a little bit there. Now, general manager Rick Hahn's vision has hit the field. Rookie outfielder Luis Robert was elite through the first half of last season. Slugger Eloy Jimenez took a step forward. Tim Anderson looked like an MVP candidate. Even Adam Engel was quietly elite. And Jose Abreu had his best year ever. The pitching needs work, but adding Michael Kopech next year is huge for this legitimate World Series contender.

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Cleveland Indians: This could be the last we've seen of Francisco Lindor in Cleveland. The four-time All-Star shortstop is the star most likely to be dealt this winter. Lindor is under team control for one more year and is coming off his worst season. The silver lining here is contention isn't out of the question, depending on what the Indians get back for Lindor. With Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco, and Zach Plesac atop the rotation, scoring runs will be extremely difficult for opponents.

Detroit Tigers: Bad teams can be a bit exciting. It would've been perfectly acceptable for the Tigers to get beat all season in hopes of securing the top selection in back-to-back drafts. Instead, they started the service-time clocks on two of their most exciting young arms: Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal. Did they immediately shove? No, but it sure beats having your top prospects play intrasquad games at the alternate training site all year. Competing at the major-league level represents development.

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a baseball player holding a bat: Alex Trautwig / Major League Baseball / Getty © Provided by theScore Alex Trautwig / Major League Baseball / Getty

Houston Astros: Most of the hatred around the league should subside. It seems like fans could be allowed into stadiums in a limited capacity for 2021, and certain Astros players will hear their fair share of boos. People won't forget, but time does heal some wounds. The Dodgers won a title, so it's not like Joe Kelly will continue throwing at Houston players. No, there are bigger fish to fry for the Astros, like maintaining a competitive roster without Justin Verlander and potentially losing George Springer to free agency.

Kansas City Royals: You can't win if everything about your team screams mediocre, with the noted exception of Salvador Perez - whose comeback was nothing short of incredible. No player with at least 100 plate appearances on the Royals roster posted a wRC+ over 110 - Jorge Soler: 108; Whit Merrifield: 106; Maikel Franco: 106; Hunter Dozier: 104; Adalberto Mondesi: 89. It feels like Kansas City is actively trying to reconstruct the 2015 team, and it just isn't going to bear any fruit. On the plus side, Brady Singer's debut season was relatively promising despite some middling results and a small problem surrendering the longball.

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Los Angeles Angels: Hopefully, the new regime puts more emphasis on building a pitching staff. Former general manager Billy Eppler, who was fired at the end of the season, wasn't the problem in Anaheim. Far from it. Landing Anthony Rendon and Shohei Ohtani were coups. But it seems almost insulting to this fanbase to have Mike Trout on the offensive side and then a pitching staff led by Dylan Bundy, Julio Teheran, and Andrew Heaney. It's time - and has been time - to stop playing Albert Pujols and invest in any form of run prevention.

Minnesota Twins: This one hurts. There's no way around it. Minnesota was arguably the AL's second-best team and looked like a legitimate World Series threat. And, this time, they didn't have to face the Yankees. However, the Twins still fell flat on their faces in spectacular fashion, unable to score runs against a pretty weak Astros pitching staff to extend their unfathomable playoff losing streak to 18 games. Nelson Cruz, one of their best players at creating runs, could depart via free agency, and the White Sox look like the AL Central's club on the rise. There's work to do for the Twins.

a person in a baseball game: Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty © Provided by theScore Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

New York Yankees: The Yankees are almost definitely the hardest team to evaluate after a 60-game season. On the one hand, they should be better than this, and staying healthy is a tired excuse for their struggles. On the other hand, no other team could've weathered prolonged absences from Luis Severino, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Judge before going on to thump the Indians and take the eventual AL pennant winners to a do-or-die Game 5 in the ALDS. This has to stop at some point, though. New York can't continue as the team that underperforms because of injuries. This is the Yankees. Invest in more depth.

Reasonable end-of-season reactions for every NL team

  Reasonable end-of-season reactions for every NL team The most chaotic season in Major League Baseball history is, against some odds, complete. Let's take a look at some reasonable reactions - as reasonable as one can get over a 60-game season - for every National League team: Arizona Diamondbacks: There's a bit of an identity crisis going on. Is this the team that acquired Starling Marte in the offseason, or is it the team that traded him away midseason? Is this the organization that forked over $85 million to land Madison Bumgarner - who posted a horrendous 6.

Oakland Athletics: Staying relevant is going to be difficult. It's somewhat annoying that a team coming off a division win would seem to have 'relevance' as their goal, but that's status quo for the A's. Losing Liam Hendriks and Marcus Semien - which is an eventuality if they continue to conduct business the way they always do - will lower them a peg. Maybe Oakland comes out of this looking like contenders, but it seems like 2021 will be about continuing to rely on Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, and Mark Canha while hoping Jesus Luzardo and Frankie Montas progress.

Seattle Mariners: Something is happening here. It isn't exactly clear, but it starts with Kyle Lewis and Justus Sheffield taking huge steps forward and showing the front office there are pieces to build around. With Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez in the system, this team could quickly enter wild-card contention. An ace would help, but Marco Gonzales has proven to be a very reliable No. 2.

a group of baseball players standing on top of a field: Cooper Neill / Major League Baseball / Getty © Provided by theScore Cooper Neill / Major League Baseball / Getty

Tampa Bay Rays: This season was a colossal victory. People are going to say otherwise for a myriad of reasons: Losing the last games of the year, Kevin Cash lifting Blake Snell in the decisive Game 6 of the World Series, and there's no proof fan attendance would've increased. But they're wrong, and that's short-sighted. The fact is, it's the Rays - not the Dodgers - who are changing baseball. Executives and managers around the league have already been hand-picked from the Rays organization - Chaim Bloom in Boston, Rocco Baldelli in Minnesota, Charlie Montoyo in Toronto, heck, even Andrew Friedman in L.A. Now, after Tampa thumped the AL en route to a World Series berth, every single team is going to try to emulate them.

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Texas Rangers: How did the Rangers get this terrible? Honestly. The offense was historically bad. Accumulating a minus-2.4 WAR, according to FanGraphs, the Rangers were pretty much as bad as the 2019 Tigers, who played a full season instead of an abridged 60-game version. Detroit had the lowest team wRC+ since 1947 - when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Compounding matters, the team wasn't good at suppressing runs, either, with the Corey Kluber trade imploding and pretty much everyone - save for Lance Lynn - underperforming. The Rangers allowed the fourth-most runs in the AL despite playing in a pitcher haven. It's back to the drawing board.

Toronto Blue Jays: It's time for the next step. Making it to the postseason in 2020 was like finding money in your couch cushions for the Jays. No one really expected it, it might not even be yours to keep, but it's a nice surprise. There are still growing pains ahead. Can Vladimir Guerrero Jr. become elite? Who can fill out the rotation behind Hyun Jin Ryu? The expectations are there to repeat as at least a fringe contender. The Jays' winning percentage this year pro-rated over 162 games would equate to an 86-76 record, and that seems like a good place to start.

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