We’re on the home stretch to get to the MLB Postseason, so the teams that are firmly out of it and still in it have been established.
There were some major disappointments this year, along with a few that were just a few changes away from taking the next step.

Here are the organizations that could simply make a few tweaks to their rosters headed into next year and just write off 2021 as a dismaying wash.

Washington Nationals

After the trade deadline, it understandably looks a bit bleak for the Nationals. They’ve had an underperforming year in the wonky NL East where the three leaders are barely over .500, but the inability to get anything going forced their hand into a fire sale. Max Scherzer and Trea Turner are on the Dodgers, Kyle Schwarber is on the Red Sox, Brad Hand is on the Blue Jays, Daniel Hudson is on the Padres, Yan Gomes, and Josh Harrison are on the A’s, and Jon Lester is on the Cardinals. In other words… almost the entire team.

Photo: Michael Reaves/GET

But you know who is left? Juan Soto, the 22-year old who will win one, if not multiple, MVPs in the future. Stephen Strasburg, who has dealt on and off with injuries his entire career, is locked up for big money until 2026, but when he looks right, few starting pitchers are better. Patrick Corbin is still there through 2024, and although he’s been awful the past two years, he’s a former Cy Young candidate. They have two quality starters, a 22-year-old face of the franchise, and just acquired some of the best prospects in the MLB from all of the trades they made.

The Nats will have youth and hardly anyone on the books to pay for next season. This is a team with the 5th-richest owners in the league in a sport with no salary cap. They can easily spend big on free agents to build around Soto (after he gets his extension) and their prospects and get right back into contention. The team has a coaching staff that developed a team that was 19-31 and took them to the World Series in 2019. How does Corey Seager or Trevor Story replacing Trea Turner at shortstop sound?

Minnesota Twins

The Twins simply suffered from a nightmare year- they were one of the best offensive teams in the MLB the previous two seasons with relatively the same pieces, but injuries and lack of pitching have brought the reigning back-to-back AL Central winners to being in 5th or 4th place for pretty much the entire season despite having a talented team. They dumped JA Happ to the Cardinals, traded the human fountain of youth, Nelson Cruz to the Rays, and their ace, Jose Berrios to the Blue Jays. Still, they got a prospect haul of Simeon Woods-Richardson, Austin Martin, Drew Stotman in return, and they’re regarded as some of the best young prospects.

Byron Buxton frequently looks like an MVP candidate before suffering from injuries, and while they offered him an extension that he turned down, that could just mean he wants another chance to prove himself next year to earn a bigger deal.

They’ll have their prospects in development, Buxton, Josh Donaldson, Luis Arraez, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Alex Kiriloff in the lineup and Kenta Maeda back in the rotation. If you’re the Twins, you have the offensive firepower and youth; just fix the pitching! You have the 4th-worst ERA, and the most home runs were given up. If they spend money on bullpen and starters that will be available like Marcus Stroman or Kevin Gausman, they can just write this season off as a wash and move forward.

Kansas City Royals

The Royals could have easily tanked their roster heading into the year, but because they wanted to field a competitive team for their fans, they were very active in free agency and fielded a lineup and rotation that was pretty stacked from top to bottom! They got off to a hot start to the year and now sit as one of the worst teams in the league, which forced them to deal Jorge Soler and Danny Duffy, but they decided to hold on to Whit Merrifield. The bulk of that lineup that we thought was solid, Salvador Perez, Merrifield, Andrew Benintendi, and Michael A. Taylor, will be back next year, and they’ll likely call up the #2 prospect who has dominated the minors and is seen as the future: Bobby Witt Jr. 

The real issue? The pitching, plain and simple. All starters have an ERA above 4.40, and the bullpen has the 7th-worst ERA. They made moves in free agency last season and clearly aren’t afraid to spend, so they could easily take the same route by addressing their pitching needs, call up Witt Jr., and get back in the mix in the Central that has been dominated by the White Sox only this year.

The Royals extending their veteran Salvador Perez and being aggressive in free agency proves that they’re a quality organization that WANTS to win games, unlike many other teams in a rebuild. With their developmental talent coming up, they can go for it if they want to.

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals were the ONLY team in the NL Central going into the season who went out and made a big splash with the trade for Platinum Glove Award-winning third baseman Nolan Arenado, and they were expected to

Photo: Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports

be the favorites to take the crown after already having a solid roster. Arenado hasn’t had a bad year, batting .265 with 25 homers and a .324 OBP, but the Cardinals as a whole have been a major disappointment. They’ve hovered around a .500 winning percentage all year, Jack Flaherty got injured after a hot start, and their pitching has blown countless leads by giving up the second-most walks in the league. The outfield was the biggest weakness, but Harrison Bader, Tyler O’Neill, and Dylan Carlson have all put up solid years.

So what’s the problem? Lack of pitching depth. Flaherty’s absence and reliance on 39-year-old Adam Wainwright is a huge issue. The Cardinals are a consistent organization that can get hits and runs out of platoon players and find a way to win games. They just have to address the pitching staff and the abysmal bullpen. The farm system is mediocre, ranked 23rd, so with an aging team, aggression in free agency is needed.

Los Angeles Angels

Where do you start with this team?

Mike Trout may be the best player ever to grace a baseball field. He has made the postseason once. Shohei Ohtani is the favorite to win MVP this year and is pitching and hitting at a level that no athlete has ever done before and may never be able to do again. Mike Trout has been hurt relatively all year this season, Anthony Rendon, the underperforming third baseman who they paid $245 million over 7 years, is out for the rest of the year even though he was doing nothing, their pitching has the fifth-worst ERA in the league, and they only beat teams that are worse than them.

The reason Mike Trout was not getting into the postseason before this year was the pitching. So, what did they do? They gave the massive bag to Anthony Rendon. Luckily, it feels that they’re finally getting the picture because every single draft pick they took in the MLB Draft this year was used on a pitcher.

Their organizational incompetency to get Mike Trout, and now Trout AND Shohei Ohtani, is one of the biggest sports tragedies of this generation. When Trout comes back healthy next season, they HAVE to address their pitching to get him to the postseason. It’s been proven that he can’t do it alone. If they fix the pitching, they can reach the promised land for the first time since 2014.

Be better, Angels. Get Trout and Ohtani some pitching help in free agency.

Featured Image: Michael Reaves/GET
Comments are closed.

Check Also

Building the Most Entertaining Home Run Derby Bracket

We’re just a week out of MLB All-Star Weekend and the festivities and fanfare that a…