Handicapping MLB Teams Already Out of Contention
Baseball teams have played less than 40 games - a quarter of the season. There is still a whole lot of baseball left to play. But for several teams in the league, it's all over already. They are just going through the motions, and if they were being honest, I'm sure some of them would choose not to play the rest of the season if they didn't have to. These are the walking dead of the league - teams that have nothing resembling hope left for this season. These squads are just walking sorrow. Truly pathetic. But hopefully bad enough that they can continue to generate real profits for bettors who bet against them regularly.
Baltimore Orioles (13-24): The fall of the Orioles is remarkable. It was only a couple of years ago that the team was a real threat to do damage in the playoffs. They had a roster full of strong players, and they were a lot of fun to watch. Now, all of that talent is gone, and they seem to have no idea how to replace it. Their pitching staff is a laughable mess - when Dylan Bundy is your ace, you don't have a pitching staff. The only one of their former stars who is still around is the grossly-overpaid Chris Davis, and his incompetence at the plate makes the pitching staff look like Cy Young and four of his clones. The farm system is better than what they have in the pros, but it isn't nearly as good as it needs to be to get them out of this mess in any hurry. They are awful, and they are in trouble, and everyone who watches the team, and probably everyone who works for them, knows it. What a mess. The funniest thing about this team right now, though, is that despite being so horrible right now, they are actually very slightly profitable. That means that people actually expected this team to be even worse than they are. With a .351 win percentage, they are overachieving. Ouch.
Toronto Blue Jays (15-22): Heading into the season, I believed that this team was going to be a bit of a surprise. I wasn't dumb enough to think that they were going to contend or anything, but I thought they had a decent chance to go over their season win total by a decent margin. But it sure appears that I missed that boat. They have had some decent pitching, but that isn't likely to last, either. Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez are at the top of the rotation, but the team has all but guaranteed through statement and action that those two will be dealt sooner rather than later - along with veteran first baseman Justin Smoak. Things are pretty bad now and will only get worse without those two starting 40 percent of games. The one point of hope for the team was the arrival of Vlad Guerrero Jr., the top prospect in baseball. He's done well selling tickets at home but has so far been next to useless at the plate. And so has the rest of the team. They lost a three-game series against the Twins this week by a combined 20-1 score, and it was quite possibly the worst series a team has ever played. The team is not in a good place right now at all, and it is going to get worse before it gets better.
Kansas City Royals (13-25): The Orioles should look at the Royals with a great deal of fear. Kansas City lost the World Series in 2014 and won it the next year. But they didn't have the pieces or the ability to keep it rolling. They went downhill right away, and now are just plain lousy. And like the Orioles, it is going to take a long while for them to get from here to a good place. Ned Yost has been managing this team since 2010. And though his highs have been very high, the lows have outnumbered them - he is well under .500 for his time with the team and seems to be out of answers right now. Right now, this team is Whit Merrifield and a bunch of guys. The team is very hesitant to trade away Merrifield, and at this point it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The assets they would get in return wouldn't solve everything by any means, but neither will keeping last year's AL hits leader, and Merrifield is 30 already.
Miami Marlins (10-27): I was never a Derek Jeter guy when he was a Yankee. I have never liked the team, I was too often bored by him, and I just didn't find him at all likeable. But Yankee Jeter seemed like a saint compared to Marlin Jeter. As an owner and manager, he is a total and utter farce. A disgrace. The latest chapter of the ugliness is the reports this week that when Christian Yelich, last year's MVP for the Brewers, was traded away last year for what could wind up being spare parts, Jeter didn't once talk to him before trading him. Not once between buying the deal and trading the asset. That's just impossibly stupid. And so are so many of the other things that this team has does. It's not just that this team is so lousy now. It's that Jeter seems like the leader best suited to draw this team even further into the depths. The best that they can hope for now is that Jeter gets bored with playing house in Miami and gets on with trying to spend all the money he has. He doesn't need a job, and the sooner he remembers that the better for this team.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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