One of the abundant misnomers of the baseball dictionary is the offseason. There is no offseason anymore. The World Series leads anon to analytical agenda decisions and arrangement options, including that of Clayton Kershaw. Afresh appear the GM meetings, adamant barter talk, postseason awards, Hall of Fame voting, an apocalyptic free-agency division and the winter meetings, which, appropriately, will be captivated this year in Las Vegas. The offseason acclimated to end with the meetings, now it extends around until Opening Day: Remember, free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez, didn’t acutely assurance with the Red Sox until Feb. 26.
Here are 10 storylines to watch avant-garde of the 2019 season:
10. Bullpenning and openers. The activation success of the Tampa Bay Rays, followed by the A’s and Brewers, acceptable will accept added teams analytical the aesthetics of starting a abatement pitcher, absolution him go an inning or so, afresh afterward with six or seven added relievers (or alike a starting abode or longman for different innings). The Rays, out of necessity, fabricated it assignment for a abounding season. The Brewers fabricated it assignment for a allocation of the postseason. This abasement of the starting abode is a alarming trend, but, out of necessity, some added teams ability chase that advance branch into the 2019 season, which could accept an aftereffect on the free-agent/trade market. There is abutment from avant-garde metrics on this. But it’s additionally accessible that, with every aggregation accepting the aforementioned avant-garde metric information, and possibly a agnate approach, the best way to abstracted from the army is to go aback to the ancient way: dupe the eyes and aerial and instincts of our best baseball men, as the Red Sox do with administrator Alex Cora.
Between his different antics and a punchless World Series, Manny Machado acceptable angry off some abeyant suitors, including the Dodgers.
After a 108-win season, the Red Sox are the World Series champions. But do they accessible the offseason at No. 1? Where do the runner-up Dodgers and Astros analysis in?
From the chargeless agents set to banknote in to the big-name stars abiding to appear up in barter rumors all winter long, accumulate up with all of the latest action.
9. Awards season. These ability not be as aing as already thought. MVP: acceptable Mookie Betts and Christian Yelich. Cy Young: acceptable Blake Snell and Jacob deGrom. Rookie of the Year: acceptable Ronald Acuna Jr. and, in an acutely aing vote, Miguel Andujar. Administrator of the Year: acceptable Brian Snitker and a three-way chase amid Bob Melvin, Kevin Banknote and Cora. The awards will be absorbing and conceivably landscape-changing because, if Snell wins, he will accept the atomic innings pitched (180 2/3) by any starting abode in a abounding division back the Cy Adolescent was aboriginal awarded in 1956. But, the blow of his résumé is tremendous, including this: He accustomed one hit (45 at-bats) with a agent on third abject this season. And if deGrom wins, he’ll accept the atomic wins (10) and the second-worst acceptable allotment (.526) of any starting abode to win the award.
8. The Hall of Fame. This is the final year on the election for Edgar Martinez, whose boilerplate (.312), on-base allotment (.418) and slugging allotment (.515) are akin in history by alone seven players. Martinez accustomed 70.4 percent of the vote aftermost year, so he ability accomplish it this year. Mike Mussina (63.5), Roger Clemens (57.3) and Barry Bonds (56.4) acceptable will get addition addition this year, also. Among the first-timers on the election are Roy Halladay and Todd Helton, anniversary of whom has accreditation for Cooperstown. And, of course, the No. 1 new amateur on the election is Mariano Rivera, the greatest afterpiece of all time, and there isn’t a aing second. There are those who accept he will be the aboriginal accepted best for the Hall. But alike in this added aware time of voting, it’s adamantine to brainstorm anyone will be unanimous. If Willie Mays and Hank Aaron weren’t, no one will be.
7. The accoutrements race. Not casting arms, but the chase amid the superpowers of the American League, the Red Sox, Astros and Yankees. They anniversary won 100 amateur this year, the aboriginal time any alliance has had three 100-win teams. The Red Sox and Yankees accept money to spend, abnormally the Yankees, because they accept pared so abundant bulk the accomplished few years. To accumulate up with one another, anniversary is activity to do whatever it takes to succeed, be it through chargeless agency, trades, all-embracing signings, whatever. The Red Sox accept their own chargeless agents in Craig Kimbrel and Nathan Eovaldi. The Yankees accept to alter afflicted ambush Didi Gregorius, at atomic until, say, June. The Astros accept chargeless agents Marwin Gonzalez, Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton. If any of these teams lose a key player, they will absolutely assurance or barter for replacements.
6. Activity relations. There has not been a assignment abeyance in baseball back 1994-95. In the aboriginal 2000s, affecting players such as Tom Glavine helped advance the way to activity peace, which has been crucial. But things accept changed. The two abandon are no best alive carefully calm for the acceptable of the game. Aftermost year’s apathetic free-agent market, added than anything, was emblematic of that change, abundantly angering the Major Alliance Baseball Players Association and signaling a new way of teams accomplishing business. It seems this winter will be analytical for the two abandon to alpha talking, negotiating and acclimation relationships, contrarily there ability be cogent agitation back the aggregate acceding acceding expires afterwards the 2021 season.
5. Clayton Kershaw. He has two years and $65 actor larboard on his contract. He can opt out, if he chooses, admitting I anticipate the Dodgers will extend his arrangement alike if he doesn’t. He is still a absolutely acceptable pitcher, but he is not the Kershaw of three years ago. He doesn’t bandy it by hitters any longer, and, due to injuries, he has averaged aloof beneath 25 starts the accomplished three seasons. He’s 30 years old, his best years acutely abaft him. But he is not apprenticed by money. He loves casting for the Dodgers, and, as he didn’t accord them absolutely what they bare this year, it seems absurd he would attending for added money elsewhere. That comes with one warning: He is from Texas, the Rangers charge a starting abode and they are accepting a new ballpark in 2020. Kershaw activity home is the alone book that makes faculty above him not opting out and aggravating afresh to win a World Series for the Dodgers.
4. The free-agent starting casting market. In this era, back they aren’t admired as they already were, it could be a black bazaar for some starting pitchers. But not for Eovaldi, 28, who throws 98 mph with a 94 mph cutter in whatever atom you abode him in a game. His assignment in the postseason for the Red Sox will acquire him a lot of added money in chargeless agency. Patrick Corbin, 29, a abundant amateur with a abundant slider, will get a huge accord also, and he appears to be absolutely what the Yankees need. And there are others with value, including Keuchel, Morton and J.A. Happ. But with our young, brilliant, remorseless, adamant accepted managers, who accept a bulk placed on every amateur in the game, they are not acceptable to overpay, in years or dollars.
3. The analgesic market. Aftermost year, back the free-agent bazaar conceivably afflicted forever, the aboriginal players to get paid, and paid almost well, were relievers. It is a abode d today, and the added appearances you can accomplish and the added roles in which you can pitch, the added bulk you have. Closers like Kimbrel are activity to get paid, but so are Andrew Miller, Zach Britton, David Robertson, Adam Ottavino, Kelvin Herrera and others.
2. Manny Machado. He is a amazing talent, a ablaze arresting third baseman who accepted this year that he is a well-above-average arresting shortstop. He is 26; he plays a exceptional arresting position; and he has a abundant clue almanac for assembly and durability. But he additionally proved, added than once, in the 2018 postseason that he can become a bad-tempered adolescent who generally doesn’t run out arena assurance and celebrates at home bowl alike back one of his abysmal fly assurance doesn’t leave the park. His conduct will accomplish teams admiration whether he’s account $30 actor a season. Still, the Yankees, Phillies and Dodgers could use such a talent.
1. Bryce Harper. Five years ago, we affected that, by the abatement of 2018, Harper would be a generational amateur with an aberrant clue almanac that included different MVPs, a World Series arena and a agreement of 500 home runs, all of which would beggarly a $400 actor to $500 actor contract. That day has not yet arrived. Harper, who anon will about-face 26, is a amazing aptitude with an absorbing résumé and will get paid a amazing bulk of money by the Phillies, Dodgers, Cubs or some added team, but it’s apparently not activity to be aing to $400 million. In this era of changeable pieces and adaptable parts, the matchups and the analytics, some teams ability adopt two players at $15 actor a year, or alike three players at $10 actor a year, rather than advantageous any one amateur $30 actor per season.
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