With tomorrow the trade scenarios will cease. Rosters will be primed and ready for the stretch run, we are officially on the road to October. The 6 divisions in MLB are really starting to give us a picture of who will be in the World Series Tournament. Let us take a look at the up to the minute standings and give a lock (if possible) for each division.
Toronto, Baltimore, and Boston have been jockeying for position all summer long in the most contested division in all of baseball. All 3 squads have a legit chance of making the postseason. I cannot say any of them is a lock, as all of them are flawed teams. In other news, the Yankees have turned into bonafide sellers with the recent moves of shipping Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs and Andrew Miller to the Indians. There is a possibility that the Yanks are just bolstering the farm to sell it off in a trade for Chris Sale. It would probably take almost the entire haul that the Yankees received for both players in order to convince the White Sox to budge, but I wouldn’t rule out anything if the Yankees are involved. As for the 3 contenders, it really seems like a flavor of the week division. Whoever gets hot in September will be the champ and I expect the other 2 to be playing in a Wild Card game. Both Baltimore and Boston need pitching, I think Toronto has shown they may be just a slight tick above both the Orioles and Red Sox and they may be ready to separate themselves a bit.
Print the shirts: Cleveland Indians 2016 AL Central Champs. The Indians have acquired Andrew Miller and pending a waive of his no-trade clause Jonathan Lucroy. This division is set, the Indians have a real chance to keep the Believeland magic going and wind up in the World Series. Jobu is pleased with the moves the Tribe has made to bolster the best record in the AL. What remains to be seen is whether or not the Detroit Tigers can push for a Wild Card. Right now they are only 1 game behind the Red Sox for the second spot. One more story to keep an eye on is the firesale that is about to happen in Kansas City. After 2 years of AL supremacy the Royals have came back to earth and are apparently ready to sell off some veterans to contenders. It was good while it lasted in Kansas City wasn’t it?
Right now the Rangers have the most wins in the AL, just percentage points behind Cleveland for best overall record. They currently have a 5 game lead over second place Houston and that is the largest division lead of anyone in the AL. If they could get completely healthy they would present the biggest challenge in Cleveland’s path to a World Series appearance. The Rangers have also been in the mix for seemingly every rumored blockbuster, based on their surplus of great prospects just waiting on an opportunity to play everyday. Unless Houston acquires a front line starter to take the ace position away from Dallas Keuchel, who hasn’t been an ace this season, I think it is very safe to crown the Rangers as a lock to win this division. Wouldn’t we all like to see a Divisional rematch between Texas and Toronto?
The Mets highly touted quintet of aces have turned into injuries and subpar performance this season. The Nationals have taken full advantage of the situation and placed themselves atop the division. Recently acquiring Mark Melancon from the Pirates was a really good move. They should utilize him in the 9th with the ever polarizing Papelbon setting him up. The Nationals have turned games into 7 inning affairs and when you have a 2 headed monster of Scherzer and Strasburg you are really setup to advance in a playoff series. Not to be overlooked, even though they are 5 games behind the Nats, the Marlins appear to be coming under the radar. Does anyone remember 1997 and 2003? Overdue, the Marlins seem to be peaking this season like those two World Championship seasons and I think everyone from Chicago to Cleveland need to be worried about the fish if they get in the postseason. Right now we will say Washington is a lock to win the division, but they may not make it the farthest in the postseason.
They have been the class of MLB all season, the Warriors of the MLB. The Cubs are determined to end the World Championship drought. Acquiring Aroldis Chapman, even if it is a rental, was an outstanding move. The prospects they gave up to get him have better players on the active 25 man roster above them and it is foolish to keep hanging on to those players when you can better your chances for a title this year. The Cubs have the largest lead of any division leader and I think it is safe to say this division has been a lock for the Cubs since the first week of spring training. The St. Louis Cardinals are right in the Wild Card mix and they have been quietly been playing good baseball. There is a chance of them getting hot down the stretch but that will only be good enough to get them in a Wild Card game. This is the strongest lock of the six divisions, Cubs will win this division going away.
It is an even year, San Francisco is doing their thing again. Bumgarner and Cueto have World Series experience and the Shark behind them has improved. Hunter Pence is recovering from the DL and they just bolstered their bench by acquiring Eduardo Nunes from the Twins. They could probably use another big bat in the middle of the lineup or another high velocity arm in the pen, but really we are nitpicking. Even though the Dodgers have picked up the pace and are now withing 2 games of the division lead, I think the Giants still have the upper hand in this division. Speaking of the Dodgers, I think the entire LA metro is hoping Clayton Kershaw can come back soon. I hope he is 100% when he comes back. Kershaw is the best pitcher hands down in MLB. The Dodgers are another team that have been in every rumor, they are alot like the Yankees from the post ’94 strike to the late George Steinbrenner’s passing a few years back. They have all the capital you can ask for but in addition they have one of the strongest farm systems in all of baseball. Can they put all that together and add an impact piece to end their drought (1988) of appearing in a World Series? I’m saying the lock is the Giants, and if Kershaw comes back sooner then the Dodgers are a lock for the postseason.
If the playoffs ended today: Boston @ Baltimore with the winner getting Cleveland in the Divisional round. Toronto and Texas face off in a rematch of last years batflipping extravaganza. St. Louis and Miami are tied so there would be a play-in for the Wild Card game. The winner would travel to LA. Whoever comes out of that scrum would play the Cubs and the Giants and Nationals would rekindle their postseason matchup of two years ago when Bryce Harper really came into his own heading into last season.
Going off of who is in at the moment I am going to say that my World Series pick remains the same since I predicted Giants-Indians at the All-Star break. Bay Area vs Believeland. I don’t see a 49ers-Browns Super Bowl though. I don’t think there is a chance of them going 3 for 3. Having these two markets square off in two consecutive championship situations is fun especially since the Warriors and Cavaliers have made the last 2 NBA Finals so interesting. Follow me on twitter @originaldaveo for sports talk or just to talk about anything.