Some good news: The Indians aren’t likely to finish in fourth place once again. The bad news: This team appears headed for last place in the AL Central — one spot below the seemingly always-rebuilding Royals.
The Orioles never got out of the gate last season, starting out 2–16 and going through three managers. They’ve suffered 13 straight losing seasons, and attendance continues to fall at Camden Yards. However, optimism arrived along with Buck Showalter, who led the team to a 34–23 finish. He brought instant credibility and an injection of energy.
There are two major fantasy baseball leagues inside the walls of Athlon Sports. There is a long-running, big boy league with minor league systems, permanent keepers, traded draft picks, compensatory rounds and free agency walk years. The winter meetings for that league will not take place until next Thursday.
If the goal of the offseason is to make bold moves that attract attention, the Nationals certainly succeeded. They grabbed headlines around the baseball world by signing former Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million contract.
As much as the club and Albert Pujols assert that the impasse in contract negotiations will not be a distraction, rest assured it will be. Fans and the media will keep the subject of Pujols’ future on the front burner all season. Just how deeply that permeates the clubhouse is in question, but the front office, manager and players cannot escape the subject.