MLB in 2013
A preseason overview


And here we go… the 2013 preview summary. I’ve released the six divisional columns. Now it’s time to bring it all together and make some predictions.

Playoff teams: American League first -- I have Tampa, Detroit and California winning their divisions, and then Chicago and Texas as the wild cards.

In the National League – Washington, Cincinnati and San Francisco will take their divisions, with Atlanta and Los Angeles as wild cards.

Now… I have problems deciding on which American League club advances for a shot at the championship. Can Detroit repeat? Will Tampa get any offensive support? Will California get any playoff pitching?

In the National League, I have no such doubts. There is one superb team on a mission.

World Series: Washington against Tampa, with the Nationals winning the title in 6 games.

Surprises: The big ones for me would be Toronto and Kansas City… the idea being either an extreme surge beyond expectations, or having them outside the playoffs and they make it… although both are getting some support right now.

My problem with being impressed with Toronto is two-fold. First up… I heard about “mega” teams recently with regard to Boston and Florida. Both of those missions crashed and burned. And let’s not forget, many of the pieces in Toronto’s 2013 quest have been brought in from that Florida experiment. And second… I wonder if all of the players are thrilled to be with the Blue Jays. I know… I know… these are professionals that are used to heavy travel and trying to manage concerns from home. And Toronto is a great city. Still… many of them were told they wouldn’t be traded when they signed with Florida… Mark Buehrle couldn’t bring his dog north of the border… and there are financial considerations involved with playing in Canada.

So I think the Blue Jays will be good. Second in the division and bordering on the playoffs good. Right now though… I do wonder if they can crack 90-wins and make the playoffs, talent or not. So for me… potential surprise, even if it isn’t a surprise at all.

I like some of the moves Kansas City has made to get to respectability this year. Deeper rotation than they’ve had in recent years, and some young talent you will be hearing about. Still… not enough to crack the top tier of the division.

(There… and I didn’t pick Boston at all.)

In the National League, Pittsburgh could hit a winning record for the first time in what seems like forever. And San Diego could play the role of Kansas City. I’ll bet you didn’t know San Diego and Kansas City had records from last year that involved 70-plus wins, and I would guess you don’t expect either of them to threaten 80 wins. I think Kansas City could definitely do it.

Most Valuable Player: I think the AL sends someone from the Angels to this award. I’m going to pick Albert Pujols, because something tells me that he is about to turn in the very best year he will have out of any of those played or to-be-played with California. Plus, if Hamilton misses any time… and Trout doesn’t match or improve on his 2012 debut… a monster Pujols season is tough to top.

National League? Joey Votto from the Reds will be my pick. I’m tempted to go with someone from Washington… Harper or even Strasburg… but I think that’s just an incredibly well-balanced club and no single player will get all of the headlines (or votes), even with those two in particular likely to deliver amazing years.

Cy Young: Verlander and Price are my best guesses in the AL… Strasburg is where I go in the National league, though I would be wrong if I didn’t mention Kershaw from LA or a pitcher out of San Francisco (Matt Cain).

I’ll take Verlander and Strasburg.

Rookie of the Year: I am so tempted to laugh while typing “Jackie Bradley, Jr.” here, but I won’t.

The Rays are going to need some special seasons to move into the playoffs and find success there, and I think Wil Myers will provide just such a season.

I’m not so sure in the National League. I guess opportunity will bring Travis d’Arnaud up in New York, and then Oscar Traveras is getting a lot of attention in St. Louis. Let’s go with d’Arnaud.

Trade predictions: I included this section here because I am absolutely fascinated with the Boston Red Sox and Jacoby Ellsbury.

Let’s face the facts… Ellsbury will be with any of the 29 other teams in 2014 before he’s back with Boston. There’s just no way he returns. If for no other reason than his agent.

And Boston actually has their next centerfielder already in Jackie Bradley, Jr.

So the question becomes… where is the most value to be found in getting rid of him.

The “before the season starts” idea is almost gone. And I find that very interesting since a trade during the season means the team that gets him cannot get compensation when he leaves them after the season is over.

Of course… the watch is on since he hurt his ankle/heel and does have a way of finding the disabled list. (Whether his fault or not… a fluke or not… 145 in 2008, 153 in 2009, 18, 158, 74… he has had troubles staying on the field. Yeah. That matters.) So now the “during the season” concept is up in the air.

Seriously… Boston may get the most from him by letting him stay all year, offering him a contract as he leaves, and pocketing the draft pick when he signs someplace else. (Of course… typical of Boston’s results (and Boras’s take the most money no matter where it leads his player attitude), just watch Ellsbury wind up with a club that has a protected first round selection.)

Ok… some more…

Philadelphia – When they fall way behind Washington and Atlanta, there is a good chance they try to move Cliff Lee.

Milwaukee – Kyle Loshe… watch Kyle Loshe. There were likely a lot of teams interested in Loshe this offseason that simply didn’t want to pay the dollars and also have their draft hit. A trade though… well, that’s different. Both California and Texas will need pitching this season. Milwaukee is not likely to hit July in contention. Two plus two equals… watch Kyle Loshe.

San Francisco – I don’t expect it to happen, but the Giants could listen to offers on Tim Lincecum. Kyle Loshe is my stunner trade thought… Lincecum is my sleeper.

Boston – Ellsbury is a possibility, and we know that one. But watch Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino. If either one is playing well, and a team needs a bat, Boston isn’t likely to have either in their uniform the next time they make a run at winning the division. So if they can turn one into a decent prospect or two… yeah.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at