Once the season concludes, it is the responsibility of each team to try and find ways to improve. For those betting baseball and fans of certain teams, it's time to be optimistic.
Yet not all teams have the same agenda. Some are content and make few moves believing they can get better with the players on hand or others are in rebuilding mode which is a lengthier process. Others have limited resources and cannot make many productive moves. However, that should not preclude them from trying and we will look at teams which did little or nothing to improve themselves this off-season, which could very well reflect in the standings this year, making them less appealing for MLB picks.
Cleveland Indians - Trending Negatively and Doing Little to Improve
The move to bring in Terry Francona as manager was a stroke of genius by Cleveland three years ago and it paid immediate dividends winning 92 games after only reaching 68 the year prior. No real shocker the Indians fell back to 85 the next season, however, after finishing 81-80 in 2015, a downward trend is in play. As mentioned, Cleveland is not a franchise that can spend the big bucks, but when you're supposed upgrade is adding Mike Napoli, Rajai Davis and Joba Chamberlain, not exactly adding impact players to make you playoff contenders again. While we like the pitching staff, offense is still an issue and sportsbooks and preseason magazines have the Tribe finishing fourth or last in the AL Central.
Los Angeles Dodgers - Lack of Action Puzzling
When the Chicago Cubs brought in Theo Epstein to run the organization, he had a recognizable goal that demanded patience and now his worked is now unfolding. The same was supposed to be true of Andrew Friedman coming over from Tampa Bay, except he already had a team that was winning, and his job was sort of like Gary Kubiak's of Denver, brought in to take Los Angeles over the hump. Despite three straight 90+ winning seasons, the honeymoon is over for Friedman and the Dodgers off-season has only brought bemusement. After being unable to resign Zack Greinke, Friedman should have been able to convince any number of available starting pitchers to wear Dodger Blue, but instead ended up with Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda. With two pitchers from last year returning from surgery to go along with oft-injured Brett Anderson and Alex Wood, L.A. is still among the favorites to win the NL, but the pitching has to come together, the middle infield has to mesh and Yasiel Puig has to return to previous form. A lot to expect for a team that could win 95 games or finish at 85 W's.
Dishonorable Mention - Beltway Partners
After being the most disappointing team in baseball, Washington rightly fired Matt Williams as manager, as he was not very good for in-game strategy and he lost the clubhouse last year. With enough talent still on hand to win the NL East with a few upgrades to the roster, the Nationals with the right skipper could bounce back. What do the Nats do, they bring in 66-year old Dusty Baker, who looked old and lost with Cincinnati before being fired in 2014. The big acquisition was postseason star Daniel Murphy, who never in his career had come close to those numbers. Not exactly inspiring versus the MLB odds.
Up the road on I-95, a .500 Baltimore squad outbid themselves for home run hitter Chris Davis, kept setup man Darren O'Day and did not resign their most consistent starter Wei-Yin Chen. With Toronto and the Yankees already better and Boston almost certainly to improve, it looks like a battle for last place in the AL East between the Orioles and Tampa Bay.