Allow me to quote an iconic scene from Spongebob Squarepants in which Patrick Star is shopping at Mr. Krabs’s yard sale:
Mr. Krabs: That’ll be 5 bucks.
Patrick: I only have $7.
Outside of a few teams this offseason, the MLB owners are operating like Patrick in their negotiations and crying “poor.” Free agents are either getting dealt or are told they aren’t worth the money at the moment after the billionaires believe they had a lost year last season with only 60 games and no fans in the stands to buy concessions.
There are teams like the Pirates, who traded away Josh Bell and Joe Musgrove, the Cubs, who let go of Yu Darvish, Kyle Schwarber, and Jon Lester and might not be done cutting costs, and the Cleveland Indians, who traded away the face of their franchise, Francisco Lindor for pennies on the dollar.
While they’re cutting costs, the teams that are willing to spend money and make moves for assets during this stalemate (the Padres, White Sox, Mets, Nationals, Yankees, and Blue Jays) are cashing in and still have their eyes on building competitive rosters in the upcoming season. They’re fielding teams that the fans can get behind and be appreciative of their commitment to success.
The refusal to spend money on big names may be responsible if you’re far away from contending and need to focus on youth, but this scenario is an atrocity when you have teams WITH the money who have needs that can be met if they just decided to go for it and open up their wallets. There are still superstar names out there to be had between now and opening day on April 21st.
If we’re at a yard sale like Patrick, this is me, the spoiled child, urging his parent to buy something.
These are just a few teams who SHOULD be making moves for the good of the fans, the free agents, and the sport.
The Braves were a heartbreaking collapse to the Dodgers away from making the World Series when they were up 3-1 in the NLCS last year. Ironically, their postseason run was successful because of their successful pitching while throughout the regular season they had to put up a hitting clinic each game to have a chance at all. Imagine if both got hot at the same time! Mike Soroka will be coming back from tearing his Achilles and all of the youthful superstars will be one year older with more postseason experience.
This is a team made to contend now, but with their NL East competitors, the Nats and Mets, adding pieces, they need to spend and improve to keep pace as the favorite. Go out and re-sign Marcell Ozuna. Make a move for another pitcher. Atlanta can still easily be the favorite out of the East.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels are owned by Arturo Moreno, who has a net worth of $3.4 billion from his billboard advertising companies.
The city of Anaheim needs to place a billboard right outside his office that reads, “SPEND SOME MONEY TO GET MIKE TROUT TO THE PLAYOFFS.”
It is an absolute atrocity that the Angels have the best player potentially to ever play the game of baseball signed for the next decade and he’s only been to the playoffs once; their incompetence to field a good team around him should make Trout demand a trade, but he’s stayed committed despite deserving better. In the past, they’ve added a few bats, including Anthony Rendon last offseason, but the Angels still managed to finish with the 5th-worst record in the American League and gave up the 4th-most runs.
With the Astros potentially rebuilding and the A’s refusal to spend money thus far, the AL West is up for grabs. Spend money, Anaheim. Go get some pitching in guys like Trevor Bauer or Masahiro Tanaka. Trout deserves it. We don’t want Moreno eventually with billboards outside his office reading, “SELL THE TEAM.”
This is essentially the same situation with Trout, except with Bryce Harper. He signed a 13-year deal in the prime of his career with a no-trade clause to be committed to the franchise and was told by management that they would field a competitive roster around him. Well, it’s been two years, Philly hasn’t made the postseason yet, they haven’t paid stud catcher J.T. Realmuto despite Harper’s constant pleas, and last year they had possibly the worst bullpen in baseball history at certain points of the year. For the sake of one of our great superstars, give J.T. the bag. Improve the bullpen.
Maybe make a trade for another bat in a guy like Kris Bryant, who is one of Harper’s closest friends. The NL East is arguably the strongest division in baseball now, and the Phillies could easily be at the bottom of it if something doesn’t change quickly.
While the White Sox are looking like potential World Series contenders in their division next year, the Twins should still strike while the iron is hot with this roster. Donaldson is already 35 and Nelson Cruz will be 41; there’s no excuse to not go make some moves to try and win now given how electric their offensive firepower was last year.
The White Sox may top the division, but with potentially another expanded playoffs in a weak American League, the Twins could easily feast on the Royals and Tigers again, and now the Indians, who traded away Lindor and Carrasco. They ran into a hot team last year in Houston; if they run it back with more pitching and re-sign a team leader in Cruz, they’ll be right back where they need to be.
St. Louis Cardinals/Milwaukee Brewers/Cincinnati Reds
Attention all teams in the NL Central not named “Chicago Cubs” or “Pittsburgh Pirates”: go all in and get yourself a pennant this year! Chicago and Pittsburgh are mailing it in to rebuild/retool to eliminate cap space, so the Cardinals, Brewers, and Reds are all teams that made the postseason last year that are pretty much dead even at average right now; 85 wins could easily take the division it’s that lackluster. That’s why if one of these teams were to make just one big splash this offseason to improve the team from last year, it might easily make them the favorite. Even if the Reds aren’t able to re-sign Bauer, that lineup with Castellanos, Votto, and Suarez would still be a powerhouse, and Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo would still headline the rotation. The improved bullpen and another bat would push them to the next level.
The Cardinals play this game of complacency where they win without flashy players who sign massive contracts, but it’s been detrimental in the postseason in recent history. They need to sign a big name who is going to provide juice and some heart to the team; maybe they trade for Trevor Story or Nolan Arenado out of Colorado. They’re an organization that just needs some life.
As for the Brewers, you have Christian Yelich signed long-term and in his prime! The man was an injury away from winning back-to-back MVP’s! He had an off-year in last year’s COVID season coming off of that injury and will look to bounce back. With strong pitching depth, the Brewers just need to score more. Replace Ryan Braun with Joc Pederson! Do something to build around Yelich. You’re closer to contention than you think.
Becoming a contender could just be a dip in the wallet away, billionaires.
The ball is in your court.
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