By David Everett Fisher
Up here in Portland, Oregon we had snow all last week and now it has been clear skies and 70 this weekend. We at Rabble Rabble Cheeseburger can’t help but to think about this upcoming MLB season. This week we will have the Oakland Athletics hosting the Seattle Mariners in Tokyo, Japan for the 2019 “soft” opening series, and the rest of the teams meet up the following weekend.
There is a lot of promise right now. Even teams that are slated to lose more than win have a lot of promise. We are at the point where we are just waiting to for the season to begin to see what will happen.
What are some of the things we are looking forward to this season?
Some of the things that I am always into is the Los Angeles Angels. Year after year, this team seems to add these superhero players to their roster and they keep getting beat out by the Astros, the Athletics, and sometimes even the Rangers, but seem to compete with the Mariners for the bottom of the AL West.
This year they added Jonathan Lucroy, Justin Bour, and Trevor Cahill. They still have Mike Trout, who some say is good, and Albert Pujos, a 75-year-old first baseman. Don’t forget Shohei Ohtani and Matt Harvey.
How will they perform? Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA puts them in second place in the AL West with 80 wins. PECOTA predicted that they would win 79 games and be in second in the AL WEST in 2018, and they did end up getting 80 wins, but both the Athletics and the Mariners won way more than PECOTA had predicted.
I am looking forward to the Angels to miss out on winning enough games to get them anywhere in the post season.
Keeping it on the west coast, you can’t really talk about the 2019 season without bringing up the San Diego Padres and their new guy, Manny Machado. Did San Diego get in the post season? Will they beat the Dodgers, the Rockies, and the D’Backs? Are the Giants good enough to upset any of these teams?
I have them going all the way to the World Series on the Podcast, but I kind of have this joke appreciation with the Swingin’ Friars. Manny Machado is pretty good, but is he the hero the Whale Vagina (movie reference) been waiting for since Tony Gwynn?
Baseball Prospectus has the Padres in fourth place, beating out the Giants, with a 79-83 record, but the exciting thing to look out for, and maybe this is a theme now, is Manny not producing enough to really make the Padres a serious contender.
It does make the NL West a much more exciting division than it already is, and also watching the Dodger’s make another run and see where they might fall short, and if it is in the Series again.
The opener. We have already seen this used last year, but more teams are going to try it, especially the teams that are under competitive. Last year it was employed by the Tampa Rays and the Oakland Athletics. The Milwaukee Brewers used it as well and was the most competitive team to use it.
Like a lot of baseball innovations, like the shift and using math to pick players, it was met with a lot of disapproval. My podcast mates are both adamantly against it. I, on the other hand, like to watch it become something. I am not putting all my hard earn free podcast money in on the opener pitcher, but I do like watching innovations, even if they fail.
More teams are looking at it for an option this year. The Twins, Yankees, and the San Francisco Giants are all considering it. Madison Bumgarner (drink!) is against the opener. Injuries and not as good rotations have teams looking at the opener as a way to compete.
The opener comes in the first inning like a starter, but only pitches that first inning – or less, and then a starter or long game reliever comes in and pitches. It allows a “closer” like pitcher to take care of the top three batters, which are usually the better hitters, and it lets the starter or relief pitcher pitch further into the game without seeing those batters a third or fourth time.
I am excited to see it used, and I’m excited to hear people grumble about it, which makes me want it to work more than anything else.
Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies will be so closely examined that if you are an NBA fan, you will be getting Harper fatigue just like you had LeBron fatigue. When Bryce hurt his foot, I got so many breaking news notifications that I thought Mueller arrested Trump.
Bryce Harper is such an interesting player. He has power, but other people have more. He is a very good fielder, but there are better outfielders. People who don’t like him or the team he’s on hate him. He is a villain, and the Philadelphia Phillies love being the Empire to Harper’s Darth Vader.
I am excited to see the Nationals battle it out with the Phillies. They have a point to make, and I think they have a really good team to do it. PECOTA has the two teams tied! Add the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves and you have the best division in baseball. I’m going to be trying to watch a lot of those games.
July 31st is the new trade deadline, and it is all the deadlines. One deadline to rule them all, and that will be an insane month leading up to that day, which is a Wednesday, so maybe call in sick that day. The teams will have a good understanding who is a contender and who is taking the fall off, and there is a lot of talent that could be changing uniforms.
What I’m not excited for is the impact that the owners and players relationship have on the trades and free agent signings this year. We are sniffing a labor dispute, and we will see some twenty-something dating mind games.
I also am not amused or entertained by teams (ahem Toronto) keeping their talent in the minors for some money hacks. I want to see Junior hack!
The current CBA expires in 2021, and some players are saying the S-word. Other players are signing the extensions instead of betting on the Free Agent market. Nolan Arenado decided to stay in Colorado after being offered a $260 million extension. This happened right after both Manny and Bryce signed to their contracts.
Just for Sean Power with no S’s eyes, I am excited which anonymous player or players on the Baltimore Orioles will make a big splash. Chris Davis is still on the team, and he will have to start producing something or he will become anonymous himself.
So much youth in the league this year, so I am excited to see the next generation of stars come in to their own. Atlanta will be fun to watch these young guys play, Washington have a couple in Robles and Soto, the Mets have Peter Alonso, and I hope he plays this year. I really want to see Eloy Jimenez and Danny Jansen play as well in the American League.
Lastly, I am excited to watch Madison Bumgarner (drink). Madison Bumgarner (drink again!) has continued to be the best Madison Bumgarner (shots!) Madison Bumgarner (might want to drink some water between shots) can be. Madison Bumgarner (DRINK!) is also a possible trade piece, but Madison Bumgarner (All of it!) may continue to pitch for San Francisco, but if Madison Bumgarner (chug-a-lug, chug-alug!) has to pitch after an opener, Madison Bumgarner (Oh, my God! You are using Fireball whiskey?!? You are going to black out soo…) will not like it and Madison Bumgarner (nvfidfguaehrgoaeirhg) will walk off, so Madison Bumgarner (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) will be more interesting to watch than Madison Bumgarner (If you puke you can play this game again!) was last year.
What are you guys looking forward to?