Verlander’s resurgence over the past few years has made him as valuable as any starting pitcher in the game. A $66 million deal over two years is a fair risk for the team and a good amount of money for the 36 year-old.
Following the off-season trend, Chris Sale chooses to lock in a long term deal and not test the free agency market. The World Series hero signed a 5-year, $145-million extension which ensures that the Red Sox ace will be in Boston until his mid-30’s.
Mike Trout signs a 12-year, $430 million dollar agreement, eclipsing Bryce’s deal from a few days earlier. Trout will become the richest player in the history of the game, in what is actually a team-friendly agreement.
After months of speculation, Bryce Harper finally signed a surprising, 13-year, 330 million dollar contract with no trade and no opt-out clauses. His mammoth contract means that he will be in Philly until he’s 39 years old.
Manny Machado was the first to sign this off-season’s mega deals, going to the Padres for 10-years, at $300 million dollars. After much speculation, he landed with what at first seemed like a dark horse team in the race.
When Vladimir Guerrero Jr. finally makes his major league debut in April, all eyes will be watching to see if he can live up to the hype. The son of a Hall of Fame player, he has extremely high shoes to fill.
With over 50 free agents unsigned two weeks before the start of the season, the owners and players union are on a path to a severe showdown. While throwing around the word collusion sounds dramatic, teams seem to be valuing ageing players very differently than usual.
National League Predictions
🔨 Atlanta Braves [1st]: Adding Josh Donaldson could be a major coup for this young team if he stays healthy.
🔔 Philadelphia Phillies [2nd]: With major acquisitions like Realmuto, Robertson and Harper, the Phillies will reach 90 wins.
🏛 Washington Nationals [3rd]: Having the best top three rotation doesn’t hurt, but there are too many holes in their batting order.
🍎 New York Mets [4th]: They added a lot of depth to their lineup, but that depth is a bit too old and some of them will falter.
🐟 Miami Marlins [5th]: If they don’t lose 100 games, I will be very surprised. This is a team built to lose.
🍺 Milwaukee Brewers [1st]: I really enjoyed their playoff run last year so I may be a bit biased but they are going to win the division by a hair.
🐦 St. Louis Cardinals [2nd]: The Cards are about to surge back to their rightful position of vying for the division title.
🐻 Chicago Cubs [3rd]: While still extremely deep on paper, if this team doesn’t leap out of the gate in April, expect a tear-down mid-season.
🔴 Cincinnati Reds [4th]: With some solid off offseason moves the Reds have improved a lot but only to become a .500 team.
☠ Pittsburgh Pirates [5th]: Great ballpark, great city but with a baseball team that isn’t built to win in the short-term.
🚂 Los Angeles Dodgers [1st]: The Dodgers will yet again win the division again in 2019 even if they are on a downswing.
⛰ Colorado Rockies [2nd]: Adding in the off-season and locking in Arenado means they have a recipe for success.
⛪ San Diego Padres [3rd]: Adding Machado won’t make them more than a .500 team but expect them to be stronger in 2019.
🐍 Arizona Diamondbacks [4th]: Will regress this year after losing a few key players to trades and free agency.
👹 San Francisco Giants [5th]: This looks like the last year before a full rebuild sets in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
American League Predictions
🗽 New York Yankees [1st]: With added rotation depth, the Evil Empire seems to be the team to beat in the AL East this season.
🧦 Boston Red Sox [2nd]: Built to win 100 games, the Red Sox may suffer from losing their closer or the usual post-WS win swoon.
😈 Tampa Bay Rays [3rd]: They exceeded expectations last year and still have a team ready to battle it out for a Wild Card spot.
🐣 Toronto Blue Jays [4th]: In rebuild mode, they won’t compete for a few years, so expect a third losing season in a row.
🐦 Baltimore Orioles [5th]: They were terrible in 2018 and have a weaker team this year. Let’s hope they aren’t historically bad.
👳 Cleveland Indians [1st]: While not as deep a team as they have been for the past few seasons, they still have a core that is better than anyone else in this division.
👯 Minnesota Twins [2nd]: With some major upgrades to their lineup they should keep the Indians on their toes.
🧦 Chicago White Sox [3rd]: Here’s hoping that while they may not have scored Machado, that their rebuild may be ending sooner than later.
🐅 Detroit Tigers [4th]: With no stars other than an ageing Miggy they aren’t going to break .500 this year.
👑 Kansas City Royals [5th]: They haven’t embraced a rebuild but they don’t have any depth to pull them out of the cellar
🚀 Houston Astros [1st]: Destined to win 100 games, they could easily make it back to the World Series.
🐘 Oakland Athletics [2nd]: Their 2018 record was a surprise but if they come close to 2018, they are Wild Card bound.
😇 Los Angeles Angels [3rd]: They will need to make some trades to compliment their current roster to win.
🧭 Seattle Mariners [4th]: While not a complete teardown, it’s clear that they will be battling Texas for the cellar.
🤠 Texas Rangers [5th]: I don’t see much for Rangers fans to be hopeful about. I’m not clear where this team is headed exactly.