In honor of Opening Day across the country here are some of my predictions for the upcoming Major League Baseball season:
Disclaimer: I do not actually expect any of these predictions to come true because baseball is an evil sport that never makes sense.
The New York Yankees will finish in last place for the first time since 1990.
The Yankees are starting to resemble that other “Evil Empire,” the Soviet Union of the late 1980’s. Old and banged-up, but still capable of winning the whole thing. Unfortunately, too many injuries (Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Phil Hughes, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez all on the DL) and too many old guys (Ichiro Suzuki, Lyle Overbay, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Kevin Youkilis) mean the Yankees will continue breaking down as the season progresses and finish in the cellar of the American League East.
The first manager fired will be Terry Collins.
Collins has only been the manager of the New York Mets for two seasons. Two awful seasons where the team only won 151 games total and saw its roster dismantled after owner Frank Wilpon was duped by Bernie Madoff and needed loans from the league to pay bills. This season is not going to be much better. The only thing keeping the Mets from finishing last in the National League East will be a AAAA team called the Miami Marlins. Collins may keep his job due to this being the final year of his contract, but being a loser in the country’s biggest media market means the pressure will definitely be on.
The Miami Marlins will not be the worst team in baseball.
That honor will fall to the Houston Astros. When your team payroll is only $25 million TOTAL, and your highest paid player makes $3 million (Bud Norris), you are in for a long season. The Astros do have some talented, young players like Jose Altuve and Matt Dominguez, but they also have Rick Ankiel, Carlos Pena and Erik Bedard. Add to the team’s inexperience a new place in the American League West, and you have a recipe for at least 100 if not 110 losses.
The Kansas City Royals will finish above .500 and make the playoffs.
The Royals last had a winning record in 2003, and last made the postseason in 1985. 1985! It is currently the longest postseason drought not only in MLB, but also in American professional sports. The Royals have quietly built a young, talented team with the likes of Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez. The rotation will be completely re-tooled by off-season trades for James Shields, Ervin Santana, and Wade Davis, and we will have to wait and see if former starters Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen accept their new roles in the bullpen. Every year has an unlikely playoff team, and this year it will be the Royals.
Another superstar will be busted for PEDs.
Last season saw Melky Cabrera win the All-Star Game MVP, and a month later receive a 50 games suspension for testing positive for high levels of testosterone. During this past off-season The Miami New Times reported that a clinic in Miami, Biogenesis, known to distribute PEDs also had records linking the clinic to Cabrera, Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, and Jhonny Peralta. The 2013 season will be the first with in-season testing for HGH, and a new test for testosterone. The new testing will snag someone the only question is who?
AL East: Toronto Blue Jays
AL Central: Detroit Tigers
AL West: Los Angeles Angels
Wild Cards: Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals
AL Champ: Tigers over Blue Jays
NL East: Washington Nationals
NL Central: Cincinnati Reds
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers
Wild Cards: Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants
NL Champ: Dodgers over Nationals
World Series: Tigers over Dodgers