As the postseason is upon us, will Californians be cheering for their home teams?
California is home to five MLB teams whose ultimate goal is winning a World Series Championship. Out of the five teams, two have been eliminated, one has officially made it into the divisional series, and the last two are still in the heat of battle pushing for a golden opportunity to win it all.
Los Angeles Dodgers
With 98 wins and 61 losses, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the only team, so far, that is guaranteed October baseball. Leading the National League West division, the Dodgers will return to the postseason in the divisional series where they choked last year against the Padres who won three out of four games played. The LA team is always pretty consistent in the regular season so it isn’t a shocker that they are returning.
Manager Dave Roberts said “The club will spend more time drilling specific situations; including hitting with runners in scoring position…” which was a main issue in the 2022 NLDS.
No matter who they play going into the divisional series, as always it will be an entertaining one to watch.
In regards to the off-season, five pitchers and seven players who are in their usual lineups will be going into free agency after the postseason. Many fan favorites including Clayton Kershaw, Max Muncy, J.D. Martinez, Julio Urias, and Jason Hayward may not appear on the usual lineup come the 2024 season. Urias is a different story however it’s hard to say who they should resign. Without these starting players and pitchers will the Dodgers still be the same old Dodgers we were used to seeing?
Los Angeles Angels
While one Los Angeles team succeeds, the other team has a completely different story. With Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout’s 2022 season taking off, the Angels were expected to do better than they did. With three games left in the season and a game record of 71 wins and 88 losses, the Anaheim Angels have officially been eliminated from playoff contention as of Sept. 16th. In the coming off-season there are many moves the organization should be making but they for sure need to make some player contracts and extensions.
As their star pitcher and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani tests free agency waters, they should think about resigning him for a few years. CBS polled that his new contract would be worth at least $500 million, however keeping in mind that he went through a recent elbow surgery it is estimated that his contract would be a minimum of $303.5 million. However, if the Angels decide to deal with Ohtani, they will still need someone as backup just in case they can’t re-sign him or if they can re-sign him and he has to start on the injury list. Eduardo Escobar, Randal Grichuk and Mike Moustakas will also be going into free agency come October, but they all have big parts in the starting lineups so letting them go will cause the Angels to either call up players in the minor league or work with players moving them around the field.
San Diego Padres
Heading down south, the San Diego Padres were battling it out with the San Francisco Giants for the middle slot in the National League West but have officially finished third with a record of 82-80. While the “friar faithful” still had hope after an eight-game winning streak and dedication the team brought in the final series of the season they have officially been eliminated as of September 29th despite San Diego “[w]wishing on a prayer,” says first baseman Garrett Cooper.
Because the Padres’ wishes didn’t come true, they do have quite a few players going into free agency and need to resign. There are circulating rumors that the Padres are trying to extend Juan Soto’s contract so that they don’t lose him when he becomes a free agent in 2024. On the other hand, eight pitchers will be going off into free agency. With the way Blake Snell and Michael Wacha pitched this year and a potential Cy Young award, these players would be extremely beneficial to the Padres in the coming seasons along with closer Josh Hader and Nick Martinez.
As for positional players, San Diego may lose five great positional players but if the Padres could only keep one, they should consider keeping catcher Gary Sanchez because he was an excellent catcher who worked well with pitchers and did a phenomenal job in his at-bats.
San Francisco Giants
While Giants fans were extremely hopeful about ending the four-year postseason curse, they will have to hold on a little longer. After the 4-0 loss to the Padres, the Giants were eliminated, unofficially, from making it into the Wild Card series. The Giants currently have a 78-81 record and with three games left against the Dodgers, it is mathematically impossible for them to make their way into the Wild Card series.
In the off-season, the moves the Giants need to make are to actually sign players. While the Giants have quite a few pitchers, three starting pitchers and three relievers will be going into free agency followed by six positional players. Last off-season, San Francisco could have been home to Carlos Correa and Aaron Judge but last-minute deals were dropped and the Giants didn’t sign any big names to help change their game. With the Giants manager Gabe Kapler being dismissed on Sept. 29, these plans may be put off to find a new manager.
Right-hander Logan Webb said Monday, “[w]e’ve got to make some big changes in here to create that winning culture that we want to show up every single year and try to win the whole thing.”
Last but certainly not least, the Oakland Athletics. The A’s had quite the season dealing with fans coming out to games not to support players but in support of relocating and selling the team. There has been a lot of talk about moving the team to Las Vegas for a fresh start and since it worked for the Raiders, fans are hopeful for the end of a dry spell. The A’s currently have a 49-110 record, which is their worst record as an organization but not in MLB history. Trevor May and Tony Kemp are the only players looking to leave Oakland. Looking at the roster, there aren’t many additions that need to happen but the A’s might want to change the way they approach the game to have a better season.