By: Darrell Owens
Headline Graphic Credit: Darrell Owens-LMS Network
The MLB season starts tomorrow and we are super excited to get sports back in our lives! Due to COVID-19, the MLB has had to make many adjustments to make this season happen, including shortening the season to 60 games. The biggest obstacle that the MLB had to face was the issue of money. They had a battle with the MLBPA in order to see if the players would get their full salary or partial salary, thank goodness both sides were able to come to a conclusion and now we will get the baseball. Truly hope you’ve been able to follow our network previews of this year’s MLB teams and now I will give you the four teams next on the list. Let’s get this party started.
In 2001, The Seattle Mariners finished 116-46 The most wins in the regular season in major league history. Unfortunately, the team would lose in the American League Championship Series to the Yankees and that was the last time the Mariners have sniffed the playoffs. It’s been 19 years since the Mariners have made the playoffs and if you listen to most experts it will be 20 years after this season.
This Mariners team is young and rebuilding. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto said two years ago his plan would have the Mariners competing in 2021-22. Dipoto has been rebuilding the farm system for the Mariners during this time and has done a great job. According to Joel Reuter of Bleachers Report, Dipoto has the Mariners Farm System ranked #2 In Major League Baseball behind the Tampa Bay Rays. If you’re a Mariners fan watch out for these names over the next couple years…Jarred Kelenic, Jonatan Chase, Julio Rodriguez, Evan White, and last but not least six overall pick in the 2020 draft, Emerson Hancock. As for the current roster, you can look for Taijuan Walker, Kyle Seager & Dee Gordon will be leaders on this team this season. With a short season, anything happens but most people expect the Mariners to finish towards the bottom of the league.
The Cincinnati Reds are another team I considered to be in the “stuck” column. Reds haven’t made the playoffs since 2013 when they lost to the Pirates in the Wild Card. round. The Reds have some solid pieces on this season’s squad. With Trevor Bauer & Sonny Gray leading that pitching staff, along with Joey Votto (2010 MVP & 6-Time All-Star) & Mike Moustakas (2015 World Series Champ & 3-time All-Star) this Reds team could make some noise this season. I quietly expect the Reds to be in contention for the playoffs this season.
“On The Edge”
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals seem to always be in contention to make the playoffs and win the World Series. Since 2000, the Cards have only missed the playoffs six times & in that timeframe, they have won 2 World Series (2006 & 2011) Last season, St. Louis would lose to eventual World Series champion the Washington Nationals in the National League Championship Series.
I fully expect manager Mike Matheny & his Cardinals to make another push at the playoffs this season. The talent on this team can never be overlooked especially with players like Paul Goldschmidt, Adam Wainwright, Matt Carpenter, Dexter Fowler, Jack Flaherty & of course future Hall of Famer Yadier Molina…The Cardinals will be ready to make another World Series run.
Will this be the last season we see the Cleveland Indians? With everything going on in our country and racial tension being at an all-time high, this season may as well be it for Cleveland. One major sports team the Washington Redskins have already been pressured to change their name by some of their major sponsors due to the insensitivity of the “Redskins” name to Native Americans. The Indians announced not too long after Washington that they would be looking into changing the ”Indians” name. With that situation lingering over their heads, could this be the year Cleveland wins the World Series?
In the last 4 seasons, Cleveland has made the playoffs 3 times including a World Series appearance in 2016. Terry Francona has been the Indians manager since 2013 and has compiled a record of 638-494. Francona has won at least 81 games each season as the Indians leading man. Francona’s Indians are another team “On The Edge” this season. Francisco Lindor (If not traded), Carlos Santana, Jose Ramirez and the returning Carlos Carrasco will give this Cleveland team another chance to get back to the World Series.