Seattle's Felix Hernandez pitches perfect game

Felix Hernandez pitched the Seattle Mariners’ first perfect game and the 23rd in baseball history, overpowering the Tampa Bay Rays in a brilliant 1-0 victory Wednesday.

This is a 2018 photo of Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners baseball team. This image reflects the Mariners active roster as of Feb. 21, 2018 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
This is a 2018 photo of Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners baseball team. This image reflects the Mariners active roster as of Feb. 21, 2018 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
This is a 2018 photo of Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners baseball team. This image reflects the Mariners active roster as of Feb. 21, 2018 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez watches a drill during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez watches a drill during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez watches a drill during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez catches the ball during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez catches the ball during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez catches the ball during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez catches the ball during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez catches the ball during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez catches the ball during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez watches a drill during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez watches a drill during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez watches a drill during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma, left, and Felix Hernandez, right, watch a drill during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma, left, and Felix Hernandez, right, watch a drill during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma, left, and Felix Hernandez, right, watch a drill during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez takes part in a drill during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez takes part in a drill during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez takes part in a drill during a baseball spring training workout, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
<p><em>This is Part 3 of SI MLB&#39;s &quot;Spend to Contend&quot; series, identifying which teams should open up their pocketbooks and make a run at a playoff spot.</em></p><p>Every year, a team (or two) arrives in the playoffs that spent the previous one losing a lot and playing before shrinking crowds in early August. Last year, that team was the Diamondbacks, who palindromed their 2016 record not by overhauling their entire team but instead by identifying their immediate weaknesses. As the free agent freeze continues into February, over 100 free agents remain unsigned. With so few teams having substantially improved this winter and so many apparently consigning themselves to rebuilding or also-ran status, our “Spend to Contend” series examines those teams, whom like last year’s Diamondbacks, could best benefit from a significant dip into the market rather than a complete teardown.</p><p>Part 1 on the New York Mets <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2018/02/05/new-york-mets-playoff-contender" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:can be read here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">can be read here</a>. Find Part 2 on the Twins <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2018/02/06/minnesota-twins-free-agency-yu-darvish" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:over here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">over here</a>.</p><p>Next up? The Seattle Mariners</p><p>****</p><p>It&#39;s not exactly an occasion that calls for champagne, but the Mariners can finally claim a title. They’re the owners of the longest active postseason drought in American professional sports, because the Buffalo Bills made the NFL playoffs <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/07/bill-jaguars-nfl-wild-card-buffalo-fans" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:for the first time in 18 years" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">for the first time in 18 years</a>. The Mariners have been absent from the postseason scene since 2001, when their 116-win squad bowed to the Yankees in the ALCS. Intermittently, they’ve fielded some pretty good teams, but haven&#39;t found joy even with the addition of a second wild card spot, missing by one game in 2014 (87 wins) and three in &#39;16 (86). Despite backsliding to 78 wins last year, they have a nucleus that, with a few smart additions and a bit of luck, could finally break that dubious streak.</p><p>Not that general manager Jerry Dipoto hasn&#39;t tried already. Since replacing Jack Zduriencik—who produced just one season above .500 out of his final six (that 2014 one) before <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2015/08/28/seattle-mariners-fire-gm-jack-zduriencik" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:being canned" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">being canned</a> in late August 2015—Dipoto has churned Seattle&#39;s roster so relentlessly that one wag compared him to a shark in our <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/12/08/winter-meetings-preview-giancarlo-stanton-shohei-ohtani-yu-darvish" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Winter Meetings preview" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Winter Meetings preview</a>: &quot;If he stops wheeling and dealing, he may die.&quot; At one point last May, beat writer <a href="https://twitter.com/ByBobDutton/status/867461982169047040" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Bob Dutton" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Bob Dutton</a> calculated that Dipoto had averaged one 40-man roster-related transaction every 14 hours and 52 minutes since Opening Day. Last month, MLB.com&#39;s <a href="http://m.mlb.com/cutfour/2018/01/12/264526070/trader-jerry-visualizing-the-many-trades-of-mariners-gm-jerry-dipoto" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Jordan Shusterman" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Jordan Shusterman</a> tallied 62 trades made by Dipoto since taking the reins on September 28, 2015, 16 more than the next most active team in that span, the Braves. That&#39;s an average of one trade every 14 days.</p><p>Save for the typically small moves every team makes in mid-January—signing free agents to minor league deals, issuing non-roster invitations and claiming random relievers off waivers (the parents of Gordon Beckham, Chasen Bradford, Tuffy Gosewich and Kirk Nieuwenhuis can breathe easily now)—Dipoto&#39;s been atypically inactive since the calendar flipped to 2018. That has something to do both with the general free agent freeze and the Mariners&#39; payroll already projecting to be a club record $157 million according to <a href="http://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/al-west/seattle-mariners/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cot&#39;s Contracts" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cot&#39;s Contracts</a>. But there&#39;s no point in spending so big merely to stay in the middle, and not a whole lot of help to come from a farm system that both <em>Baseball America</em> and ESPN call the worst in the game, so Dipoto may have to continue to work the phones.</p><p>Via the free agent market, the best bang for the Mariners&#39; limited remaining bucks is either Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb, the two second-tier starting pitchers below Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, both of whom are prohibitively expensive given this payroll. Sadly, the Mariners can no longer count on Felix Hernandez to be one of the AL&#39;s top pitchers, or even a 200-inning cog given that he&#39;s made just 41 starts with a 4.01 ERA and 4.77 FIP over the past two seasons. James Paxton, their best starter now, has made just 44 turns over the past two years. Summer acquisitions Mike Leake and Erasmo Ramirez are solid back-end guys, and the rest—youngsters Marco Gonzales and Chase De Jong, old and fragile Hisashi Iwakuma, gopher prone Ariel Miranda, and so on—is a grab bag. More help is needed.</p><p>Of the two free agents in question, Lynn had the higher strikeout rate and lower ERA, and he&#39;s also the one with the longer track record of durability, with five seasons of at least 175 innings out of the last six (he missed 2016 due to Tommy John surgery). Cobb had the higher groundball rate and lower FIP of the pair, but has generally had more trouble staying healthy. MLB Trade Rumors estimated Cobb would get a contract of four years in the $52–56 million range, or perhaps a three-year deal with an opt-out, with Lynn coming in at four years, $60 million. Either one would be a solid addition. Either one would be a solid addition; while both rejected qualifying offers and will thus cost the Mariners a draft pick, <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/11/07/mlb-free-agency-compensation-rules-draft-picks-qualifying-offer" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:it’s only their third-highest pick at stake" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">it’s only their third-highest pick at stake</a>, not their first-rounder as was the case in the previous CBA. </p><p>Dipoto&#39;s most audacious move this winter was the acquisition of Dee Gordon from the Marlins in exchange for three minor leaguers, none of whom made any prospect lists. Robinson Cano is a fixture at second base, so the plan is for the going-on-30-year-old Gordon, who rebounded from a dreadful, suspension-marred 2016 to hit .308/.341/.375 with a league-high 60 steals and 3.1 WAR, to shift to centerfield. Tasked with replacing speedy flychaser Jarrod Dyson, Gordon could provide similar overall production, albeit tilted more toward offense than the defense-first Dyson. Still, it would behoove Dipoto to find an alternative in case Gordon&#39;s transition to the middle pasture is rough, and given the unremarkable production of Ben Gamel in leftfield (98 OPS+, 1.0 WAR in 134 games), it wouldn&#39;t hurt to have another option, either.</p><p>Given that both Gordon and Gamel swing the bat lefty, righty Carlos Gomez (whom I also suggested as a potential fit for the Twins) is one potential free agent option. The 32-year-old Gomez hit .255/.340/.462 with 17 homers in 105 games with the Rangers. Though he&#39;s no longer an elite defender in centerfield, and has averaged just 113 games over the past three seasons due to injuries, he&#39;d be a useful insurance policy/platoon piece/fourth outfielder. Cameron Maybin and Rajai Davis are out there as lesser right-handed alternatives, better hitters but probably not better defenders than incumbent fourth outfielder Guillermo Heredia, a 27-year-old Cuban defector who&#39;s slugged .333 though his first 533 MLB plate appearances. </p><p>The other big hole in the lineup is at first base, a position the Mariners haven&#39;t solved since Richie Sexson reached his sell-by date in 2007. Between 26-year-old righty Ryon Healy (acquired from the A&#39;s in November) and 25-year-old lefties Mike Ford (a Rule 5 pick from the Yankees) and Dan Vogelbach (a Quad-A holdover), what they have is a patchwork at best. A platoon with Healy (.314/.343/.534 in 213 carer PA versus southpaws) as the short half has some promise, but it&#39;s hardly clear that either lefties can hold up his end. With free agents Adam Lind and Logan Morrison having failed to thrive during previous Seattle stints, Lucas Duda may be a better alternative. The 32-year-old slugger’s batting average in 2017 wasn&#39;t pretty, but that whole .217/.322/.496 line (113 wRC+) would be a major upgrade on the .245/.308/.389 (92 wRC+) that Mariners first basemen actually hit last year. FanGraphs&#39; <a href="https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2018-top-50-free-agents/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Dave Cameron" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Dave Cameron</a> estimated that Duda would wind up with a one-year, $10 million deal this winter, while <a href="https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/11/2017-18-top-50-mlb-free-agents-with-predictions.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:MLB Trade Rumors" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">MLB Trade Rumors</a> estimated one year, $6 million. Suffice it to say, he&#39;s not going to break the bank</p><p>On an even smaller scale, by definition there has to be a better utilityman available than Andrew Romine, who went down in history by playing all nine positions in the season&#39;s penultimate game but finished the year with -1.1 WAR. Cliff Pennington&#39;s just waiting by the phone, and <a href="https://www.mlb.com/news/cliff-pennington-makes-history-in-alcs-game-4/c-155078664" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:he can pitch" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">he can pitch</a>, too!</p><p>Barring some extremely good luck on their end and bad luck on that of the Astros, the Mariners aren&#39;t going to win the AL West, and they have virtually no hope of a wild card spot unless they can outpace the improved Angels (who have added Shohei Ohtani, Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart), not to mention the Rangers and A&#39;s. They probably can’t spend so lavishly as to fill all of the above needs, particularly since the only big salary coming off the books after this season is that of Nelson Cruz ($14.25 million). It’s not too hard to imagine Dipoto facing the option of upgrading either the lineup <em>or</em> the rotation on a scale such as this, but not both. Regardless, it seems clear that every additional dollar Dipoto spends should improve this team’s chances of ending a drought that has gone on for far too long.</p><p>****</p><p>By my count, this is the 1,862nd article I&#39;ve published at SI.com. It&#39;s also the final one of a tenure that began on <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/strike-zone/2012/05/29/off-and-hitting-and-running" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:May 29, 2012" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">May 29, 2012</a>; you don&#39;t need to be <a href="https://twitter.com/ByBobDutton/status/867461982169047040" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Bob Dutton" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Bob Dutton</a> to calculate that the total equates to one piece every 26 hours and 51 minutes. When Paul Fichtenbaum and Ted Keith hired me to write about baseball on a daily basis for the company whose standard-setting magazine I grew up reading from the time I was eight years old, it felt like destiny.</p><p>The opportunity to bring the type of sabermetric analysis I had been doing at Baseball Prospectus (where I had been writing since 2004) to a larger audience was one I couldn’t pass up. Recall that back then, it was still controversial to introduce WAR into an MVP discussion; that year’s Cabrera-versus-Trout debate <a href="https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-cooperstown-casebook-excerpt-the-war-on-war/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reignited" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reignited</a> the <a href="https://www.si.com/vault/2004/03/01/363830/out-of-their-tree-the-author-wrote-a-book-moneyball-that-drove-baseballs-clubby-traditionalists-crazy-they-fought-back-now-he-does-too" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Moneyball holy war" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>Moneyball</em> holy war</a> all over again. Beyond breaking down countless trades, free agent signings, injuries, hirings, firings and playoff races, over time, I got to do a whole lot of other cool things: cover postseason games in <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/10/04/twins-yankees-al-wild-card-bullpen-chad-green-david-robertson-aroldis-chapman" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:New York" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">New York</a> and <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2015/10/24/alcs-game-6-royals-blue-jays-lorenzo-cain" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:elsewhere" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">elsewhere</a> around the country (even a <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2015/11/02/world-series-royals-defeat-mets-first-title-1985" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:World Series" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">World Series</a>); interview <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/01/25/tim-raines-hall-fame-journey-expos" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a childhood favorite" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a childhood favorite</a>; dig up some <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/04/14/jackie-robinson-day-first-ten-days" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:cool" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">cool</a> <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/09/15/cleveland-indians-new-york-giants-winning-streak" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:history" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">history</a>; and write <a href="https://www.si.com/vault/2016/02/11/case-chase-cooperstown" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:occasionally" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">occasionally</a> for the <a href="https://www.si.com/vault/2017/11/29/letter-intent" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:magazine" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">magazine</a> (and <a href="https://backissues.si.com/storefront/2016/special-retirement-tribute-david-ortiz/prodSI20160825SPEC.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:several" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">several</a> <a href="http://sportsmockery.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/cvr.png" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:cool" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">cool</a> <a href="https://backissues.si.com/storefront/2015/si-special-tribute-issue-ernie-banks-1931-2015/prodSI20150219SPEC.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:commemorative" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">commemorative</a> <a href="https://backissues.si.com/storefront/2014/si-presents-the-giants-dynasty-by-the-bay/prodSI20141107SPEC.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:issues" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">issues</a>).</p><p>Nothing from my run at SI.com was quite as personally satisfying as being given such a grand platform to present my annual Hall of Fame series, going in-depth on <a href="https://cooperstowncasebook.com/2017/12/16/2018-bbwaa-ballot-si-com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:each candidate" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">each candidate</a> and breaking down the <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/12/29/hall-fame-virtual-ballot-2018" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:history" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">history</a> and the <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/strike-zone/2013/12/30/jaws-and-the-2014-hall-of-fame-ballot-why-theres-a-backlog-and-how-to-fix-it/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:trends" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">trends</a> that underlie the voting. Hand in hand with the addition of <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/11/27/hall-fame-jaws-intro-2018-ballot" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:my Jaffe Wins Above Replacement Score" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">my Jaffe Wins Above Replacement Score</a> (JAWS) system to <a href="https://www.baseball-reference.com/about/jaws.shtml" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Baseball-Reference" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Baseball-Reference</a>, the series allowed me to present a point of view that has won considerable acceptance among voters and has opened new doors, such as the one that made the 2017 publication of <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/07/25/hall-fame-cooperstown-casebook-ron-santo" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Cooperstown Casebook" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>The Cooperstown Casebook</em></a> possible.</p><p>Now it&#39;s time for a new destination: I am joining <a href="https://www.fangraphs.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:FanGraph" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">FanGraph</a><a href="https://www.fangraphs.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:s" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">s</a>—a site whose metrics and analysis has fueled many a post here, most notably my <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2018/01/11/yu-darvish-free-agency-value" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:What&#39;s He Really Worth" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">What&#39;s He Really Worth</a> series—as a senior writer. I&#39;ll still be covering baseball on a more or less daily basis, still ranting about the Hall of Fame year-round, and still pouring my blend of sense and nonsense via <a href="https://twitter.com/jay_jaffe" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:@jay_jaffe" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">@jay_jaffe</a> on Twitter (and <a href="https://untappd.com/user/jay_jaffe" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Untappd" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Untappd</a>). A warm thank you to everybody who has made my time at SI such a thrill. Special thanks to the aforementioned Fictenbaum and Keith, Chris Stone, Stephen Cannella, Ryan Hunt, Emma Span, Cliff Corcoran, Jon Tayler and Gabriel Baumgaertner for helping my words reach this audience, and to you, dear readers, for following along. My time at Sports Illustrated will forever remain one of the highlights of my career.</p>
Why the Mariners Should Spend Now to Contend ... And the Author's Goodbye to SI

This is Part 3 of SI MLB's "Spend to Contend" series, identifying which teams should open up their pocketbooks and make a run at a playoff spot.

Every year, a team (or two) arrives in the playoffs that spent the previous one losing a lot and playing before shrinking crowds in early August. Last year, that team was the Diamondbacks, who palindromed their 2016 record not by overhauling their entire team but instead by identifying their immediate weaknesses. As the free agent freeze continues into February, over 100 free agents remain unsigned. With so few teams having substantially improved this winter and so many apparently consigning themselves to rebuilding or also-ran status, our “Spend to Contend” series examines those teams, whom like last year’s Diamondbacks, could best benefit from a significant dip into the market rather than a complete teardown.

Part 1 on the New York Mets can be read here. Find Part 2 on the Twins over here.

Next up? The Seattle Mariners

****

It's not exactly an occasion that calls for champagne, but the Mariners can finally claim a title. They’re the owners of the longest active postseason drought in American professional sports, because the Buffalo Bills made the NFL playoffs for the first time in 18 years. The Mariners have been absent from the postseason scene since 2001, when their 116-win squad bowed to the Yankees in the ALCS. Intermittently, they’ve fielded some pretty good teams, but haven't found joy even with the addition of a second wild card spot, missing by one game in 2014 (87 wins) and three in '16 (86). Despite backsliding to 78 wins last year, they have a nucleus that, with a few smart additions and a bit of luck, could finally break that dubious streak.

Not that general manager Jerry Dipoto hasn't tried already. Since replacing Jack Zduriencik—who produced just one season above .500 out of his final six (that 2014 one) before being canned in late August 2015—Dipoto has churned Seattle's roster so relentlessly that one wag compared him to a shark in our Winter Meetings preview: "If he stops wheeling and dealing, he may die." At one point last May, beat writer Bob Dutton calculated that Dipoto had averaged one 40-man roster-related transaction every 14 hours and 52 minutes since Opening Day. Last month, MLB.com's Jordan Shusterman tallied 62 trades made by Dipoto since taking the reins on September 28, 2015, 16 more than the next most active team in that span, the Braves. That's an average of one trade every 14 days.

Save for the typically small moves every team makes in mid-January—signing free agents to minor league deals, issuing non-roster invitations and claiming random relievers off waivers (the parents of Gordon Beckham, Chasen Bradford, Tuffy Gosewich and Kirk Nieuwenhuis can breathe easily now)—Dipoto's been atypically inactive since the calendar flipped to 2018. That has something to do both with the general free agent freeze and the Mariners' payroll already projecting to be a club record $157 million according to Cot's Contracts. But there's no point in spending so big merely to stay in the middle, and not a whole lot of help to come from a farm system that both Baseball America and ESPN call the worst in the game, so Dipoto may have to continue to work the phones.

Via the free agent market, the best bang for the Mariners' limited remaining bucks is either Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb, the two second-tier starting pitchers below Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, both of whom are prohibitively expensive given this payroll. Sadly, the Mariners can no longer count on Felix Hernandez to be one of the AL's top pitchers, or even a 200-inning cog given that he's made just 41 starts with a 4.01 ERA and 4.77 FIP over the past two seasons. James Paxton, their best starter now, has made just 44 turns over the past two years. Summer acquisitions Mike Leake and Erasmo Ramirez are solid back-end guys, and the rest—youngsters Marco Gonzales and Chase De Jong, old and fragile Hisashi Iwakuma, gopher prone Ariel Miranda, and so on—is a grab bag. More help is needed.

Of the two free agents in question, Lynn had the higher strikeout rate and lower ERA, and he's also the one with the longer track record of durability, with five seasons of at least 175 innings out of the last six (he missed 2016 due to Tommy John surgery). Cobb had the higher groundball rate and lower FIP of the pair, but has generally had more trouble staying healthy. MLB Trade Rumors estimated Cobb would get a contract of four years in the $52–56 million range, or perhaps a three-year deal with an opt-out, with Lynn coming in at four years, $60 million. Either one would be a solid addition. Either one would be a solid addition; while both rejected qualifying offers and will thus cost the Mariners a draft pick, it’s only their third-highest pick at stake, not their first-rounder as was the case in the previous CBA.

Dipoto's most audacious move this winter was the acquisition of Dee Gordon from the Marlins in exchange for three minor leaguers, none of whom made any prospect lists. Robinson Cano is a fixture at second base, so the plan is for the going-on-30-year-old Gordon, who rebounded from a dreadful, suspension-marred 2016 to hit .308/.341/.375 with a league-high 60 steals and 3.1 WAR, to shift to centerfield. Tasked with replacing speedy flychaser Jarrod Dyson, Gordon could provide similar overall production, albeit tilted more toward offense than the defense-first Dyson. Still, it would behoove Dipoto to find an alternative in case Gordon's transition to the middle pasture is rough, and given the unremarkable production of Ben Gamel in leftfield (98 OPS+, 1.0 WAR in 134 games), it wouldn't hurt to have another option, either.

Given that both Gordon and Gamel swing the bat lefty, righty Carlos Gomez (whom I also suggested as a potential fit for the Twins) is one potential free agent option. The 32-year-old Gomez hit .255/.340/.462 with 17 homers in 105 games with the Rangers. Though he's no longer an elite defender in centerfield, and has averaged just 113 games over the past three seasons due to injuries, he'd be a useful insurance policy/platoon piece/fourth outfielder. Cameron Maybin and Rajai Davis are out there as lesser right-handed alternatives, better hitters but probably not better defenders than incumbent fourth outfielder Guillermo Heredia, a 27-year-old Cuban defector who's slugged .333 though his first 533 MLB plate appearances.

The other big hole in the lineup is at first base, a position the Mariners haven't solved since Richie Sexson reached his sell-by date in 2007. Between 26-year-old righty Ryon Healy (acquired from the A's in November) and 25-year-old lefties Mike Ford (a Rule 5 pick from the Yankees) and Dan Vogelbach (a Quad-A holdover), what they have is a patchwork at best. A platoon with Healy (.314/.343/.534 in 213 carer PA versus southpaws) as the short half has some promise, but it's hardly clear that either lefties can hold up his end. With free agents Adam Lind and Logan Morrison having failed to thrive during previous Seattle stints, Lucas Duda may be a better alternative. The 32-year-old slugger’s batting average in 2017 wasn't pretty, but that whole .217/.322/.496 line (113 wRC+) would be a major upgrade on the .245/.308/.389 (92 wRC+) that Mariners first basemen actually hit last year. FanGraphs' Dave Cameron estimated that Duda would wind up with a one-year, $10 million deal this winter, while MLB Trade Rumors estimated one year, $6 million. Suffice it to say, he's not going to break the bank

On an even smaller scale, by definition there has to be a better utilityman available than Andrew Romine, who went down in history by playing all nine positions in the season's penultimate game but finished the year with -1.1 WAR. Cliff Pennington's just waiting by the phone, and he can pitch, too!

Barring some extremely good luck on their end and bad luck on that of the Astros, the Mariners aren't going to win the AL West, and they have virtually no hope of a wild card spot unless they can outpace the improved Angels (who have added Shohei Ohtani, Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart), not to mention the Rangers and A's. They probably can’t spend so lavishly as to fill all of the above needs, particularly since the only big salary coming off the books after this season is that of Nelson Cruz ($14.25 million). It’s not too hard to imagine Dipoto facing the option of upgrading either the lineup or the rotation on a scale such as this, but not both. Regardless, it seems clear that every additional dollar Dipoto spends should improve this team’s chances of ending a drought that has gone on for far too long.

****

By my count, this is the 1,862nd article I've published at SI.com. It's also the final one of a tenure that began on May 29, 2012; you don't need to be Bob Dutton to calculate that the total equates to one piece every 26 hours and 51 minutes. When Paul Fichtenbaum and Ted Keith hired me to write about baseball on a daily basis for the company whose standard-setting magazine I grew up reading from the time I was eight years old, it felt like destiny.

The opportunity to bring the type of sabermetric analysis I had been doing at Baseball Prospectus (where I had been writing since 2004) to a larger audience was one I couldn’t pass up. Recall that back then, it was still controversial to introduce WAR into an MVP discussion; that year’s Cabrera-versus-Trout debate reignited the Moneyball holy war all over again. Beyond breaking down countless trades, free agent signings, injuries, hirings, firings and playoff races, over time, I got to do a whole lot of other cool things: cover postseason games in New York and elsewhere around the country (even a World Series); interview a childhood favorite; dig up some cool history; and write occasionally for the magazine (and several cool commemorative issues).

Nothing from my run at SI.com was quite as personally satisfying as being given such a grand platform to present my annual Hall of Fame series, going in-depth on each candidate and breaking down the history and the trends that underlie the voting. Hand in hand with the addition of my Jaffe Wins Above Replacement Score (JAWS) system to Baseball-Reference, the series allowed me to present a point of view that has won considerable acceptance among voters and has opened new doors, such as the one that made the 2017 publication of The Cooperstown Casebook possible.

Now it's time for a new destination: I am joining FanGraphs—a site whose metrics and analysis has fueled many a post here, most notably my What's He Really Worth series—as a senior writer. I'll still be covering baseball on a more or less daily basis, still ranting about the Hall of Fame year-round, and still pouring my blend of sense and nonsense via @jay_jaffe on Twitter (and Untappd). A warm thank you to everybody who has made my time at SI such a thrill. Special thanks to the aforementioned Fictenbaum and Keith, Chris Stone, Stephen Cannella, Ryan Hunt, Emma Span, Cliff Corcoran, Jon Tayler and Gabriel Baumgaertner for helping my words reach this audience, and to you, dear readers, for following along. My time at Sports Illustrated will forever remain one of the highlights of my career.

<p>It’s 2018, which means it’s time for folks all around the globe to take stock and make resolutions for how to do better in the year to come. The same can be said for all 30 MLB teams, even in an offseason that has seen frightfully little action. From the strongest contender to the dedicated rebuilder, every club has something to strive for over the rest of the winter. But what moves need to be made to make sure the 2018 season is the best it can possibly be? Here are my picks for what each American League team should do before the offseason is out so that, come Dec. 31, they’re not looking back at the year that was and wishing they’d taken a different course.</p><p><strong>Baltimore Orioles: Trade Manny Machado</strong></p><p>For a brief few weeks in December, the moribund Orioles were the center of the baseball world as the team’s front office weighed a question that could reshape the playoff race in either league: Should Baltimore deal away Manny Machado? The cons are stark. No Machado, who will be a free agent at season’s end, effectively means no chance of competing in the AL East for the O’s, and it will not be met well by the fans. But the hard choice here is the right one. Baltimore already has no shot in the division thanks to its horrible starting rotation and uneven lineup, and the team has equally little chance to bring Machado back as a free agent. Move him now and get the most you can for him in prospects. It’ll hurt, but that’s the pain of being pragmatic.</p><p><strong>Boston Red Sox: Sign J.D. Martinez</strong></p><p>At the risk of sounding like a broken record on this, there is no better match between team and player this winter than Boston and Martinez. The former desperately needs power in the lineup and at the designated hitter spot; the latter is a home run machine whose glove is best left at home. The Red Sox reportedly have a five-year offer on the table to Martinez, who is said to be looking for a seven-season commitment, but that feels like a gap that can be bridged—and one that should be in Boston’s case, as the team needs to try to close the enormous power deficit between it and the Yankees.</p><p><strong>Chicago White Sox: Stay the course</strong></p><p>As Machado’s name floated on the trade market, the White Sox—this time last year stripping their roster down to the screws—were frequently and surprisingly mentioned as a contender for his services. How real that interest was is unknown, as the Machado talk has died down in the last few weeks. But it’s a move that Chicago should avoid. Yes, Machado would provide a sorely needed big bat in the lineup, but even at his best, he takes the South Siders from rebuilding team to the fringes of contention. Is that worth the top prospects he would cost? Maybe general manager Rick Hahn figures he can flip Machado at the deadline if things go sour, but that’s a risky bet. Better to stay out of it and keep banking on internal improvement via a superb farm system, or use that prospect stash to improve a weak rotation or bullpen instead.</p><p><strong>Cleveland Indians: Spend like a contender</strong></p><p>The Indians’ biggest move of the winter has been to let Carlos Santana walk, as the burly first baseman signed a three-year, $60 million pact with the Phillies. That’s not exactly breaking the bank, and while Santana has his downsides (namely his age), it’s odd that a 102-win team wouldn’t shell out reasonable dollars to keep an important high-floor bat. Instead, Cleveland replaced him with a discount option, signing Yonder Alonso to a one-year deal. He’s a fine player, but for a team with real World Series hopes, it’s a disappointing choice. The Indians aren’t the Dodgers, but they’re still worlds away from the luxury tax limit and have barely any big long-term deals on the books. Now is the time to spend and bolster a championship-caliber core.</p><p><strong>Detroit Tigers: Find a way to trade Miguel Cabrera</strong></p><p>There’s just about no reason to tune in to Tigers baseball in 2018, as the team set about tearing down the roster in the second half as part of a long-delayed rebuild. But while Detroit has successfully dealt away J.D. Martinez, Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera remains, sucking up a gigantic chunk of the Tigers’ payroll as a veteran bat on a team of nobodies. Given the money he’s owed (another $184 million guaranteed over the next six years) and age (35 in April), there’s zero chance the Tigers will get anything of value for him in a trade. But should that matter? There are no half-measures in rebuilds. Get what you can, eat what money you have to, and finish the job. And it would be a gift to Cabrera to let him play his sunset years for a team that won’t be bottoming out for the next few seasons.</p><p><strong>Houston Astros: Start handing out extensions</strong></p><p>As the defending World Series champions, there’s not a whole lot—if anything—the Astros need to do before next season begins; their roster is already strong and secure across the board. Instead, it would behoove Houston to take the windfall of cash that comes with winning a title and invest it into long-term deals for the team’s young core. In particular, buying out the arbitration years of Carlos Correa and George Springer would be a good start. The former won’t get expensive for some time, but it would be both economically prudent and a show of good faith to get him locked up to bigger dollars at the first chance.</p><p><strong>Kansas City Royals: Resist the reunion temptation</strong></p><p>The frozen free-agent market has left dozens of stars in the cold, including the Royals’ title-winning trio of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain. They looked set to cash in this winter after strong 2017 seasons, but with teams refusing to open their checkbooks, each is looking at a weaker-than-expected market (except perhaps Hosmer, who reportedly has been offered a seven-year deal by the Padres). For the small-market Royals, who looked set to lose all three, the lack of interest elsewhere could be a chance to bring one or more of them back; rumors abound that they <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2018/01/03/kansas-city-royals-eric-hosmer-offer" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:have a seven-year offer of their own out for Hosmer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">have a seven-year offer of their own out for Hosmer</a>. But it seems smarter for Kansas City to make a clean break and get started on building the next great Royals team instead of investing lots of years and money in trying to recapture the past.</p><p><strong>Los Angeles Angels: Keep adding to the haul</strong></p><p>Few teams have been busier than the Angels, who have signed Shohei Ohtani and Zack Cozart and traded for Ian Kinsler, at once acquiring a new ace and improving a terrible infield. But Los Angeles can’t stop there. A team that was destroyed by pitcher injuries last year should keep building rotation depth, and the bullpen also needs attention. If the Angels are finally serious about building around Mike Trout, then they need to do everything they can to shore up their weak spots instead of hoping for the best from what they already have.</p><p><strong>Minnesota Twins: Get an ace</strong></p><p>Minnesota surprised everyone last year with its unlikely wild-card berth, and the team is poised for perhaps better in 2018 as its young stars develop. But what is currently separating the Twins from being real contenders is the state of their rotation, which is full of question marks and mediocre arms. Luckily for them, the market has plenty of good options who may be willing to sign below-market deals given the league-wide reluctance to spend. Minnesota should take its chance to make a real splash.</p><p><strong>New York Yankees: Dump Jacoby Ellsbury</strong></p><p>It’s been a magical offseason for Brian Cashman, who landed Giancarlo Stanton for a song, brought back CC Sabathia on a reasonable one-year pact, and got out from under the $13 million owed to the declining Chase Headley. Now, he has two months or so left to pull off his greatest trick yet: convincing an outfielder-needy team to take Ellsbury—and the $68 million still owed to him over the next four seasons—off his hands. That won’t be easy in a day and age when every franchise is tightening its belt, but getting rid of as much of Ellsbury’s salary as possible would be a huge boost to the Yankees in their quest to get under the luxury tax limit and set themselves up even better for next year’s free-agent spending spree. And while Ellsbury is a marginal hitter, his speed and defense can still help the right squad. If Cashman can make that move happen, his winter will have been a total success.</p><p><strong>Oakland Athletics: Find a direction (?)</strong></p><p>Squint hard enough at the Athletics’ roster, and you can see the faint outline of a .500 team with a small chance at being a dark horse contender. But that takes a lot of wishcasting and optimism, particularly with a rotation and bullpen that don’t have much high-upside talent. The A’s are a perpetual enigma, seemingly always rebuilding with an eye on a future that refuses to arrive, but the team as it exists now doesn’t seem to have any purpose. Not every franchise has to be either a contender or a bottom-feeder, but what Oakland has is amorphous at best. An 80-win team isn’t worth much these days, so why not make a move in either direction of that?</p><p><strong>Seattle Mariners: Fix the rotation</strong></p><p>A healthy James Paxton would go a long way toward making the Mariners a better bet for 2018, but Seattle should still aim for adding arms behind him if contention is what it seeks. The old Felix Hernandez is gone and likely never coming back, and the rest of the rotation is a fright. If Jerry Dipoto can tear himself away from trading a minor leaguer every hour, his attention should go toward one of the better pitchers still available in free agency, like Yu Darvish or Alex Cobb.</p><p><strong>Tampa Bay Rays: Continue the rebuild</strong></p><p>Evan Longoria is gone, but he shouldn’t be the only player the Rays send out of town this winter. Always at a disadvantage in the luxury neighborhood that is the AL East, Tampa isn’t a good bet to compete with either the Yankees or the Red Sox, or to make much noise in the wild-card race. Now is as good a time as any to look toward the future, and that begins with moving Alex Colome and Chris Archer.</p><p><strong>Texas Rangers: Figure out the bullpen</strong></p><p>The Rangers have plenty of issues still to address on the roster, from more rotation depth to whether or not top prospect Willie Calhoun is the answer in leftfield. But especially pressing is the relief corps, which was flat-out awful in 2017: a 4.76 ERA, third-worst in the majors, and only 29 saves converted in 50 opportunities. The current closer is soft-tossing lefty Alex Claudio, whose poor strikeout-per-nine ratio (6.1 last year) doesn’t inspire much confidence going forward. But with hard-throwing Matt Bush gearing up to be a starter, where is the heat in the late innings going to come from? With not much left in terms of bullpen help on the market, GM Jon Daniels would be better off keeping Bush in relief and seeing if any of his minor leaguers have what it takes to throw strikes in short bursts.</p><p><strong>Toronto Blue Jays: Get realistic about 2018</strong></p><p>There wasn’t a whole lot to like about the Blue Jays in 2017. Thanks to injuries and forgettable seasons across the roster, Toronto slumped to 76 wins and a fourth-place finish. And while there’s reason to be more optimistic this year, it’s hard to see where the big improvement needed to catch the Yankees and Red Sox comes from without some sizable changes. So is it time to throw in the towel? The future is bright, as the Jays’ farm system is full of excellent young talent; a small step back in the present might help make it even brighter. Dealing away free-agent-to-be Josh Donaldson, who would bring back a king’s ransom in prospects, would be the right way to go.</p>
What Every AL Team Should Do in This Painfully Slow Offseason

It’s 2018, which means it’s time for folks all around the globe to take stock and make resolutions for how to do better in the year to come. The same can be said for all 30 MLB teams, even in an offseason that has seen frightfully little action. From the strongest contender to the dedicated rebuilder, every club has something to strive for over the rest of the winter. But what moves need to be made to make sure the 2018 season is the best it can possibly be? Here are my picks for what each American League team should do before the offseason is out so that, come Dec. 31, they’re not looking back at the year that was and wishing they’d taken a different course.

Baltimore Orioles: Trade Manny Machado

For a brief few weeks in December, the moribund Orioles were the center of the baseball world as the team’s front office weighed a question that could reshape the playoff race in either league: Should Baltimore deal away Manny Machado? The cons are stark. No Machado, who will be a free agent at season’s end, effectively means no chance of competing in the AL East for the O’s, and it will not be met well by the fans. But the hard choice here is the right one. Baltimore already has no shot in the division thanks to its horrible starting rotation and uneven lineup, and the team has equally little chance to bring Machado back as a free agent. Move him now and get the most you can for him in prospects. It’ll hurt, but that’s the pain of being pragmatic.

Boston Red Sox: Sign J.D. Martinez

At the risk of sounding like a broken record on this, there is no better match between team and player this winter than Boston and Martinez. The former desperately needs power in the lineup and at the designated hitter spot; the latter is a home run machine whose glove is best left at home. The Red Sox reportedly have a five-year offer on the table to Martinez, who is said to be looking for a seven-season commitment, but that feels like a gap that can be bridged—and one that should be in Boston’s case, as the team needs to try to close the enormous power deficit between it and the Yankees.

Chicago White Sox: Stay the course

As Machado’s name floated on the trade market, the White Sox—this time last year stripping their roster down to the screws—were frequently and surprisingly mentioned as a contender for his services. How real that interest was is unknown, as the Machado talk has died down in the last few weeks. But it’s a move that Chicago should avoid. Yes, Machado would provide a sorely needed big bat in the lineup, but even at his best, he takes the South Siders from rebuilding team to the fringes of contention. Is that worth the top prospects he would cost? Maybe general manager Rick Hahn figures he can flip Machado at the deadline if things go sour, but that’s a risky bet. Better to stay out of it and keep banking on internal improvement via a superb farm system, or use that prospect stash to improve a weak rotation or bullpen instead.

Cleveland Indians: Spend like a contender

The Indians’ biggest move of the winter has been to let Carlos Santana walk, as the burly first baseman signed a three-year, $60 million pact with the Phillies. That’s not exactly breaking the bank, and while Santana has his downsides (namely his age), it’s odd that a 102-win team wouldn’t shell out reasonable dollars to keep an important high-floor bat. Instead, Cleveland replaced him with a discount option, signing Yonder Alonso to a one-year deal. He’s a fine player, but for a team with real World Series hopes, it’s a disappointing choice. The Indians aren’t the Dodgers, but they’re still worlds away from the luxury tax limit and have barely any big long-term deals on the books. Now is the time to spend and bolster a championship-caliber core.

Detroit Tigers: Find a way to trade Miguel Cabrera

There’s just about no reason to tune in to Tigers baseball in 2018, as the team set about tearing down the roster in the second half as part of a long-delayed rebuild. But while Detroit has successfully dealt away J.D. Martinez, Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera remains, sucking up a gigantic chunk of the Tigers’ payroll as a veteran bat on a team of nobodies. Given the money he’s owed (another $184 million guaranteed over the next six years) and age (35 in April), there’s zero chance the Tigers will get anything of value for him in a trade. But should that matter? There are no half-measures in rebuilds. Get what you can, eat what money you have to, and finish the job. And it would be a gift to Cabrera to let him play his sunset years for a team that won’t be bottoming out for the next few seasons.

Houston Astros: Start handing out extensions

As the defending World Series champions, there’s not a whole lot—if anything—the Astros need to do before next season begins; their roster is already strong and secure across the board. Instead, it would behoove Houston to take the windfall of cash that comes with winning a title and invest it into long-term deals for the team’s young core. In particular, buying out the arbitration years of Carlos Correa and George Springer would be a good start. The former won’t get expensive for some time, but it would be both economically prudent and a show of good faith to get him locked up to bigger dollars at the first chance.

Kansas City Royals: Resist the reunion temptation

The frozen free-agent market has left dozens of stars in the cold, including the Royals’ title-winning trio of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain. They looked set to cash in this winter after strong 2017 seasons, but with teams refusing to open their checkbooks, each is looking at a weaker-than-expected market (except perhaps Hosmer, who reportedly has been offered a seven-year deal by the Padres). For the small-market Royals, who looked set to lose all three, the lack of interest elsewhere could be a chance to bring one or more of them back; rumors abound that they have a seven-year offer of their own out for Hosmer. But it seems smarter for Kansas City to make a clean break and get started on building the next great Royals team instead of investing lots of years and money in trying to recapture the past.

Los Angeles Angels: Keep adding to the haul

Few teams have been busier than the Angels, who have signed Shohei Ohtani and Zack Cozart and traded for Ian Kinsler, at once acquiring a new ace and improving a terrible infield. But Los Angeles can’t stop there. A team that was destroyed by pitcher injuries last year should keep building rotation depth, and the bullpen also needs attention. If the Angels are finally serious about building around Mike Trout, then they need to do everything they can to shore up their weak spots instead of hoping for the best from what they already have.

Minnesota Twins: Get an ace

Minnesota surprised everyone last year with its unlikely wild-card berth, and the team is poised for perhaps better in 2018 as its young stars develop. But what is currently separating the Twins from being real contenders is the state of their rotation, which is full of question marks and mediocre arms. Luckily for them, the market has plenty of good options who may be willing to sign below-market deals given the league-wide reluctance to spend. Minnesota should take its chance to make a real splash.

New York Yankees: Dump Jacoby Ellsbury

It’s been a magical offseason for Brian Cashman, who landed Giancarlo Stanton for a song, brought back CC Sabathia on a reasonable one-year pact, and got out from under the $13 million owed to the declining Chase Headley. Now, he has two months or so left to pull off his greatest trick yet: convincing an outfielder-needy team to take Ellsbury—and the $68 million still owed to him over the next four seasons—off his hands. That won’t be easy in a day and age when every franchise is tightening its belt, but getting rid of as much of Ellsbury’s salary as possible would be a huge boost to the Yankees in their quest to get under the luxury tax limit and set themselves up even better for next year’s free-agent spending spree. And while Ellsbury is a marginal hitter, his speed and defense can still help the right squad. If Cashman can make that move happen, his winter will have been a total success.

Oakland Athletics: Find a direction (?)

Squint hard enough at the Athletics’ roster, and you can see the faint outline of a .500 team with a small chance at being a dark horse contender. But that takes a lot of wishcasting and optimism, particularly with a rotation and bullpen that don’t have much high-upside talent. The A’s are a perpetual enigma, seemingly always rebuilding with an eye on a future that refuses to arrive, but the team as it exists now doesn’t seem to have any purpose. Not every franchise has to be either a contender or a bottom-feeder, but what Oakland has is amorphous at best. An 80-win team isn’t worth much these days, so why not make a move in either direction of that?

Seattle Mariners: Fix the rotation

A healthy James Paxton would go a long way toward making the Mariners a better bet for 2018, but Seattle should still aim for adding arms behind him if contention is what it seeks. The old Felix Hernandez is gone and likely never coming back, and the rest of the rotation is a fright. If Jerry Dipoto can tear himself away from trading a minor leaguer every hour, his attention should go toward one of the better pitchers still available in free agency, like Yu Darvish or Alex Cobb.

Tampa Bay Rays: Continue the rebuild

Evan Longoria is gone, but he shouldn’t be the only player the Rays send out of town this winter. Always at a disadvantage in the luxury neighborhood that is the AL East, Tampa isn’t a good bet to compete with either the Yankees or the Red Sox, or to make much noise in the wild-card race. Now is as good a time as any to look toward the future, and that begins with moving Alex Colome and Chris Archer.

Texas Rangers: Figure out the bullpen

The Rangers have plenty of issues still to address on the roster, from more rotation depth to whether or not top prospect Willie Calhoun is the answer in leftfield. But especially pressing is the relief corps, which was flat-out awful in 2017: a 4.76 ERA, third-worst in the majors, and only 29 saves converted in 50 opportunities. The current closer is soft-tossing lefty Alex Claudio, whose poor strikeout-per-nine ratio (6.1 last year) doesn’t inspire much confidence going forward. But with hard-throwing Matt Bush gearing up to be a starter, where is the heat in the late innings going to come from? With not much left in terms of bullpen help on the market, GM Jon Daniels would be better off keeping Bush in relief and seeing if any of his minor leaguers have what it takes to throw strikes in short bursts.

Toronto Blue Jays: Get realistic about 2018

There wasn’t a whole lot to like about the Blue Jays in 2017. Thanks to injuries and forgettable seasons across the roster, Toronto slumped to 76 wins and a fourth-place finish. And while there’s reason to be more optimistic this year, it’s hard to see where the big improvement needed to catch the Yankees and Red Sox comes from without some sizable changes. So is it time to throw in the towel? The future is bright, as the Jays’ farm system is full of excellent young talent; a small step back in the present might help make it even brighter. Dealing away free-agent-to-be Josh Donaldson, who would bring back a king’s ransom in prospects, would be the right way to go.

<p>It’s 2018, which means it’s time for folks all around the globe to take stock and make resolutions for how to do better in the year to come. The same can be said for all 30 MLB teams, even in an offseason that has seen frightfully little action. From the strongest contender to the dedicated rebuilder, every club has something to strive for over the rest of the winter. But what moves need to be made to make sure the 2018 season is the best it can possibly be? Here are my picks for what each American League team should do before the offseason is out so that, come Dec. 31, they’re not looking back at the year that was and wishing they’d taken a different course.</p><p><strong>Baltimore Orioles: Trade Manny Machado</strong></p><p>For a brief few weeks in December, the moribund Orioles were the center of the baseball world as the team’s front office weighed a question that could reshape the playoff race in either league: Should Baltimore deal away Manny Machado? The cons are stark. No Machado, who will be a free agent at season’s end, effectively means no chance of competing in the AL East for the O’s, and it will not be met well by the fans. But the hard choice here is the right one. Baltimore already has no shot in the division thanks to its horrible starting rotation and uneven lineup, and the team has equally little chance to bring Machado back as a free agent. Move him now and get the most you can for him in prospects. It’ll hurt, but that’s the pain of being pragmatic.</p><p><strong>Boston Red Sox: Sign J.D. Martinez</strong></p><p>At the risk of sounding like a broken record on this, there is no better match between team and player this winter than Boston and Martinez. The former desperately needs power in the lineup and at the designated hitter spot; the latter is a home run machine whose glove is best left at home. The Red Sox reportedly have a five-year offer on the table to Martinez, who is said to be looking for a seven-season commitment, but that feels like a gap that can be bridged—and one that should be in Boston’s case, as the team needs to try to close the enormous power deficit between it and the Yankees.</p><p><strong>Chicago White Sox: Stay the course</strong></p><p>As Machado’s name floated on the trade market, the White Sox—this time last year stripping their roster down to the screws—were frequently and surprisingly mentioned as a contender for his services. How real that interest was is unknown, as the Machado talk has died down in the last few weeks. But it’s a move that Chicago should avoid. Yes, Machado would provide a sorely needed big bat in the lineup, but even at his best, he takes the South Siders from rebuilding team to the fringes of contention. Is that worth the top prospects he would cost? Maybe general manager Rick Hahn figures he can flip Machado at the deadline if things go sour, but that’s a risky bet. Better to stay out of it and keep banking on internal improvement via a superb farm system, or use that prospect stash to improve a weak rotation or bullpen instead.</p><p><strong>Cleveland Indians: Spend like a contender</strong></p><p>The Indians’ biggest move of the winter has been to let Carlos Santana walk, as the burly first baseman signed a three-year, $60 million pact with the Phillies. That’s not exactly breaking the bank, and while Santana has his downsides (namely his age), it’s odd that a 102-win team wouldn’t shell out reasonable dollars to keep an important high-floor bat. Instead, Cleveland replaced him with a discount option, signing Yonder Alonso to a one-year deal. He’s a fine player, but for a team with real World Series hopes, it’s a disappointing choice. The Indians aren’t the Dodgers, but they’re still worlds away from the luxury tax limit and have barely any big long-term deals on the books. Now is the time to spend and bolster a championship-caliber core.</p><p><strong>Detroit Tigers: Find a way to trade Miguel Cabrera</strong></p><p>There’s just about no reason to tune in to Tigers baseball in 2018, as the team set about tearing down the roster in the second half as part of a long-delayed rebuild. But while Detroit has successfully dealt away J.D. Martinez, Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera remains, sucking up a gigantic chunk of the Tigers’ payroll as a veteran bat on a team of nobodies. Given the money he’s owed (another $184 million guaranteed over the next six years) and age (35 in April), there’s zero chance the Tigers will get anything of value for him in a trade. But should that matter? There are no half-measures in rebuilds. Get what you can, eat what money you have to, and finish the job. And it would be a gift to Cabrera to let him play his sunset years for a team that won’t be bottoming out for the next few seasons.</p><p><strong>Houston Astros: Start handing out extensions</strong></p><p>As the defending World Series champions, there’s not a whole lot—if anything—the Astros need to do before next season begins; their roster is already strong and secure across the board. Instead, it would behoove Houston to take the windfall of cash that comes with winning a title and invest it into long-term deals for the team’s young core. In particular, buying out the arbitration years of Carlos Correa and George Springer would be a good start. The former won’t get expensive for some time, but it would be both economically prudent and a show of good faith to get him locked up to bigger dollars at the first chance.</p><p><strong>Kansas City Royals: Resist the reunion temptation</strong></p><p>The frozen free-agent market has left dozens of stars in the cold, including the Royals’ title-winning trio of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain. They looked set to cash in this winter after strong 2017 seasons, but with teams refusing to open their checkbooks, each is looking at a weaker-than-expected market (except perhaps Hosmer, who reportedly has been offered a seven-year deal by the Padres). For the small-market Royals, who looked set to lose all three, the lack of interest elsewhere could be a chance to bring one or more of them back; rumors abound that they <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2018/01/03/kansas-city-royals-eric-hosmer-offer" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:have a seven-year offer of their own out for Hosmer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">have a seven-year offer of their own out for Hosmer</a>. But it seems smarter for Kansas City to make a clean break and get started on building the next great Royals team instead of investing lots of years and money in trying to recapture the past.</p><p><strong>Los Angeles Angels: Keep adding to the haul</strong></p><p>Few teams have been busier than the Angels, who have signed Shohei Ohtani and Zack Cozart and traded for Ian Kinsler, at once acquiring a new ace and improving a terrible infield. But Los Angeles can’t stop there. A team that was destroyed by pitcher injuries last year should keep building rotation depth, and the bullpen also needs attention. If the Angels are finally serious about building around Mike Trout, then they need to do everything they can to shore up their weak spots instead of hoping for the best from what they already have.</p><p><strong>Minnesota Twins: Get an ace</strong></p><p>Minnesota surprised everyone last year with its unlikely wild-card berth, and the team is poised for perhaps better in 2018 as its young stars develop. But what is currently separating the Twins from being real contenders is the state of their rotation, which is full of question marks and mediocre arms. Luckily for them, the market has plenty of good options who may be willing to sign below-market deals given the league-wide reluctance to spend. Minnesota should take its chance to make a real splash.</p><p><strong>New York Yankees: Dump Jacoby Ellsbury</strong></p><p>It’s been a magical offseason for Brian Cashman, who landed Giancarlo Stanton for a song, brought back CC Sabathia on a reasonable one-year pact, and got out from under the $13 million owed to the declining Chase Headley. Now, he has two months or so left to pull off his greatest trick yet: convincing an outfielder-needy team to take Ellsbury—and the $68 million still owed to him over the next four seasons—off his hands. That won’t be easy in a day and age when every franchise is tightening its belt, but getting rid of as much of Ellsbury’s salary as possible would be a huge boost to the Yankees in their quest to get under the luxury tax limit and set themselves up even better for next year’s free-agent spending spree. And while Ellsbury is a marginal hitter, his speed and defense can still help the right squad. If Cashman can make that move happen, his winter will have been a total success.</p><p><strong>Oakland Athletics: Find a direction (?)</strong></p><p>Squint hard enough at the Athletics’ roster, and you can see the faint outline of a .500 team with a small chance at being a dark horse contender. But that takes a lot of wishcasting and optimism, particularly with a rotation and bullpen that don’t have much high-upside talent. The A’s are a perpetual enigma, seemingly always rebuilding with an eye on a future that refuses to arrive, but the team as it exists now doesn’t seem to have any purpose. Not every franchise has to be either a contender or a bottom-feeder, but what Oakland has is amorphous at best. An 80-win team isn’t worth much these days, so why not make a move in either direction of that?</p><p><strong>Seattle Mariners: Fix the rotation</strong></p><p>A healthy James Paxton would go a long way toward making the Mariners a better bet for 2018, but Seattle should still aim for adding arms behind him if contention is what it seeks. The old Felix Hernandez is gone and likely never coming back, and the rest of the rotation is a fright. If Jerry Dipoto can tear himself away from trading a minor leaguer every hour, his attention should go toward one of the better pitchers still available in free agency, like Yu Darvish or Alex Cobb.</p><p><strong>Tampa Bay Rays: Continue the rebuild</strong></p><p>Evan Longoria is gone, but he shouldn’t be the only player the Rays send out of town this winter. Always at a disadvantage in the luxury neighborhood that is the AL East, Tampa isn’t a good bet to compete with either the Yankees or the Red Sox, or to make much noise in the wild-card race. Now is as good a time as any to look toward the future, and that begins with moving Alex Colome and Chris Archer.</p><p><strong>Texas Rangers: Figure out the bullpen</strong></p><p>The Rangers have plenty of issues still to address on the roster, from more rotation depth to whether or not top prospect Willie Calhoun is the answer in leftfield. But especially pressing is the relief corps, which was flat-out awful in 2017: a 4.76 ERA, third-worst in the majors, and only 29 saves converted in 50 opportunities. The current closer is soft-tossing lefty Alex Claudio, whose poor strikeout-per-nine ratio (6.1 last year) doesn’t inspire much confidence going forward. But with hard-throwing Matt Bush gearing up to be a starter, where is the heat in the late innings going to come from? With not much left in terms of bullpen help on the market, GM Jon Daniels would be better off keeping Bush in relief and seeing if any of his minor leaguers have what it takes to throw strikes in short bursts.</p><p><strong>Toronto Blue Jays: Get realistic about 2018</strong></p><p>There wasn’t a whole lot to like about the Blue Jays in 2017. Thanks to injuries and forgettable seasons across the roster, Toronto slumped to 76 wins and a fourth-place finish. And while there’s reason to be more optimistic this year, it’s hard to see where the big improvement needed to catch the Yankees and Red Sox comes from without some sizable changes. So is it time to throw in the towel? The future is bright, as the Jays’ farm system is full of excellent young talent; a small step back in the present might help make it even brighter. Dealing away free-agent-to-be Josh Donaldson, who would bring back a king’s ransom in prospects, would be the right way to go.</p>
What Every AL Team Should Do in This Painfully Slow Offseason

It’s 2018, which means it’s time for folks all around the globe to take stock and make resolutions for how to do better in the year to come. The same can be said for all 30 MLB teams, even in an offseason that has seen frightfully little action. From the strongest contender to the dedicated rebuilder, every club has something to strive for over the rest of the winter. But what moves need to be made to make sure the 2018 season is the best it can possibly be? Here are my picks for what each American League team should do before the offseason is out so that, come Dec. 31, they’re not looking back at the year that was and wishing they’d taken a different course.

Baltimore Orioles: Trade Manny Machado

For a brief few weeks in December, the moribund Orioles were the center of the baseball world as the team’s front office weighed a question that could reshape the playoff race in either league: Should Baltimore deal away Manny Machado? The cons are stark. No Machado, who will be a free agent at season’s end, effectively means no chance of competing in the AL East for the O’s, and it will not be met well by the fans. But the hard choice here is the right one. Baltimore already has no shot in the division thanks to its horrible starting rotation and uneven lineup, and the team has equally little chance to bring Machado back as a free agent. Move him now and get the most you can for him in prospects. It’ll hurt, but that’s the pain of being pragmatic.

Boston Red Sox: Sign J.D. Martinez

At the risk of sounding like a broken record on this, there is no better match between team and player this winter than Boston and Martinez. The former desperately needs power in the lineup and at the designated hitter spot; the latter is a home run machine whose glove is best left at home. The Red Sox reportedly have a five-year offer on the table to Martinez, who is said to be looking for a seven-season commitment, but that feels like a gap that can be bridged—and one that should be in Boston’s case, as the team needs to try to close the enormous power deficit between it and the Yankees.

Chicago White Sox: Stay the course

As Machado’s name floated on the trade market, the White Sox—this time last year stripping their roster down to the screws—were frequently and surprisingly mentioned as a contender for his services. How real that interest was is unknown, as the Machado talk has died down in the last few weeks. But it’s a move that Chicago should avoid. Yes, Machado would provide a sorely needed big bat in the lineup, but even at his best, he takes the South Siders from rebuilding team to the fringes of contention. Is that worth the top prospects he would cost? Maybe general manager Rick Hahn figures he can flip Machado at the deadline if things go sour, but that’s a risky bet. Better to stay out of it and keep banking on internal improvement via a superb farm system, or use that prospect stash to improve a weak rotation or bullpen instead.

Cleveland Indians: Spend like a contender

The Indians’ biggest move of the winter has been to let Carlos Santana walk, as the burly first baseman signed a three-year, $60 million pact with the Phillies. That’s not exactly breaking the bank, and while Santana has his downsides (namely his age), it’s odd that a 102-win team wouldn’t shell out reasonable dollars to keep an important high-floor bat. Instead, Cleveland replaced him with a discount option, signing Yonder Alonso to a one-year deal. He’s a fine player, but for a team with real World Series hopes, it’s a disappointing choice. The Indians aren’t the Dodgers, but they’re still worlds away from the luxury tax limit and have barely any big long-term deals on the books. Now is the time to spend and bolster a championship-caliber core.

Detroit Tigers: Find a way to trade Miguel Cabrera

There’s just about no reason to tune in to Tigers baseball in 2018, as the team set about tearing down the roster in the second half as part of a long-delayed rebuild. But while Detroit has successfully dealt away J.D. Martinez, Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera remains, sucking up a gigantic chunk of the Tigers’ payroll as a veteran bat on a team of nobodies. Given the money he’s owed (another $184 million guaranteed over the next six years) and age (35 in April), there’s zero chance the Tigers will get anything of value for him in a trade. But should that matter? There are no half-measures in rebuilds. Get what you can, eat what money you have to, and finish the job. And it would be a gift to Cabrera to let him play his sunset years for a team that won’t be bottoming out for the next few seasons.

Houston Astros: Start handing out extensions

As the defending World Series champions, there’s not a whole lot—if anything—the Astros need to do before next season begins; their roster is already strong and secure across the board. Instead, it would behoove Houston to take the windfall of cash that comes with winning a title and invest it into long-term deals for the team’s young core. In particular, buying out the arbitration years of Carlos Correa and George Springer would be a good start. The former won’t get expensive for some time, but it would be both economically prudent and a show of good faith to get him locked up to bigger dollars at the first chance.

Kansas City Royals: Resist the reunion temptation

The frozen free-agent market has left dozens of stars in the cold, including the Royals’ title-winning trio of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain. They looked set to cash in this winter after strong 2017 seasons, but with teams refusing to open their checkbooks, each is looking at a weaker-than-expected market (except perhaps Hosmer, who reportedly has been offered a seven-year deal by the Padres). For the small-market Royals, who looked set to lose all three, the lack of interest elsewhere could be a chance to bring one or more of them back; rumors abound that they have a seven-year offer of their own out for Hosmer. But it seems smarter for Kansas City to make a clean break and get started on building the next great Royals team instead of investing lots of years and money in trying to recapture the past.

Los Angeles Angels: Keep adding to the haul

Few teams have been busier than the Angels, who have signed Shohei Ohtani and Zack Cozart and traded for Ian Kinsler, at once acquiring a new ace and improving a terrible infield. But Los Angeles can’t stop there. A team that was destroyed by pitcher injuries last year should keep building rotation depth, and the bullpen also needs attention. If the Angels are finally serious about building around Mike Trout, then they need to do everything they can to shore up their weak spots instead of hoping for the best from what they already have.

Minnesota Twins: Get an ace

Minnesota surprised everyone last year with its unlikely wild-card berth, and the team is poised for perhaps better in 2018 as its young stars develop. But what is currently separating the Twins from being real contenders is the state of their rotation, which is full of question marks and mediocre arms. Luckily for them, the market has plenty of good options who may be willing to sign below-market deals given the league-wide reluctance to spend. Minnesota should take its chance to make a real splash.

New York Yankees: Dump Jacoby Ellsbury

It’s been a magical offseason for Brian Cashman, who landed Giancarlo Stanton for a song, brought back CC Sabathia on a reasonable one-year pact, and got out from under the $13 million owed to the declining Chase Headley. Now, he has two months or so left to pull off his greatest trick yet: convincing an outfielder-needy team to take Ellsbury—and the $68 million still owed to him over the next four seasons—off his hands. That won’t be easy in a day and age when every franchise is tightening its belt, but getting rid of as much of Ellsbury’s salary as possible would be a huge boost to the Yankees in their quest to get under the luxury tax limit and set themselves up even better for next year’s free-agent spending spree. And while Ellsbury is a marginal hitter, his speed and defense can still help the right squad. If Cashman can make that move happen, his winter will have been a total success.

Oakland Athletics: Find a direction (?)

Squint hard enough at the Athletics’ roster, and you can see the faint outline of a .500 team with a small chance at being a dark horse contender. But that takes a lot of wishcasting and optimism, particularly with a rotation and bullpen that don’t have much high-upside talent. The A’s are a perpetual enigma, seemingly always rebuilding with an eye on a future that refuses to arrive, but the team as it exists now doesn’t seem to have any purpose. Not every franchise has to be either a contender or a bottom-feeder, but what Oakland has is amorphous at best. An 80-win team isn’t worth much these days, so why not make a move in either direction of that?

Seattle Mariners: Fix the rotation

A healthy James Paxton would go a long way toward making the Mariners a better bet for 2018, but Seattle should still aim for adding arms behind him if contention is what it seeks. The old Felix Hernandez is gone and likely never coming back, and the rest of the rotation is a fright. If Jerry Dipoto can tear himself away from trading a minor leaguer every hour, his attention should go toward one of the better pitchers still available in free agency, like Yu Darvish or Alex Cobb.

Tampa Bay Rays: Continue the rebuild

Evan Longoria is gone, but he shouldn’t be the only player the Rays send out of town this winter. Always at a disadvantage in the luxury neighborhood that is the AL East, Tampa isn’t a good bet to compete with either the Yankees or the Red Sox, or to make much noise in the wild-card race. Now is as good a time as any to look toward the future, and that begins with moving Alex Colome and Chris Archer.

Texas Rangers: Figure out the bullpen

The Rangers have plenty of issues still to address on the roster, from more rotation depth to whether or not top prospect Willie Calhoun is the answer in leftfield. But especially pressing is the relief corps, which was flat-out awful in 2017: a 4.76 ERA, third-worst in the majors, and only 29 saves converted in 50 opportunities. The current closer is soft-tossing lefty Alex Claudio, whose poor strikeout-per-nine ratio (6.1 last year) doesn’t inspire much confidence going forward. But with hard-throwing Matt Bush gearing up to be a starter, where is the heat in the late innings going to come from? With not much left in terms of bullpen help on the market, GM Jon Daniels would be better off keeping Bush in relief and seeing if any of his minor leaguers have what it takes to throw strikes in short bursts.

Toronto Blue Jays: Get realistic about 2018

There wasn’t a whole lot to like about the Blue Jays in 2017. Thanks to injuries and forgettable seasons across the roster, Toronto slumped to 76 wins and a fourth-place finish. And while there’s reason to be more optimistic this year, it’s hard to see where the big improvement needed to catch the Yankees and Red Sox comes from without some sizable changes. So is it time to throw in the towel? The future is bright, as the Jays’ farm system is full of excellent young talent; a small step back in the present might help make it even brighter. Dealing away free-agent-to-be Josh Donaldson, who would bring back a king’s ransom in prospects, would be the right way to go.

<p>Outside of the Yankees&#39; acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton and the Angels&#39; signing of Shohei Ohtani, it&#39;s been a pretty slow start to the baseball offseason. With a few moves made and many more to come, let&#39;s reset and take a look at where all 30 teams stand with plenty of signings awaiting.</p><p><strong>30. Miami Marlins</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record</strong>: <strong>77–85</strong></p><p>Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna combined for 96 homers, 13.4 WAR and a median OPS+ of 155 in 2017. The Marlins traded them for one big league regular (infielder Starlin Castro) and zero top-100 prospects. Selling was necessary, but the Marlins deal two of the game’s best players in their primes for Castro, somebody they’ll probably move before the 2018 season, and a host of lottery tickets. </p><p>The new ownership group can redeem itself by securing a large package of young talent for outfielder Christian Yelich (who is under team control for the next five years), but he is young, talented and relatively cheap. Targeted rebuilds are understandable; the new Miami ownership group is not doing that. It’s an insult to the fans who are surviving their third teardown since 2003. </p><p><strong>29. Detroit Tigers</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 64–98</strong></p><p>By trading Ian Kinsler to the Angels, the Tigers have almost shed all of their veteran talent. They won’t be able to rid themselves of Miguel Cabrera’s behemoth contract (he’s owed $184 million through 2024), but they will float 2016 Rookie of the Year winner Michael Fulmer in trade talks if GM Al Avila can secure a significant package in return. The Tigers are going to be bad next season, but they’re carefully navigating a full teardown, unlike the Marlins.</p><p><strong>28. Cincinnati Reds</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 68–94</strong></p><p>The Reds are trapped, and it’s unclear how they’ll improve in 2018. The prospects they acquired for long-term stability (Jose Peraza, Scott Schebler) are talented but underwhelming. Their starting pitching is awful (only one starter with more than 14 starts, Luis Castillo, finished with an ERA under 4.45). They tried to make a pitch to Shohei Ohtani, who quickly rebuffed them. They could secure a strong package of prospects by trading closer Raisel Iglesias, but reports are that he’ll remain in Cincinnati.</p><p>General Manager Dick Williams will try to ship speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton before the season is over, but his low on-base percentage hardly makes him an attractive candidate. The best move the Reds can make right now is to float Adam Duvall, who has 64 homers over the last two seasons, in trade negotiations. Like Hamilton, however, Duvall has issues getting on base, and power is not coveted like it once was thanks to the juiced ball.</p><p><strong>27. San Diego Padres</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 71–91</strong></p><p>The Padres’ failure to acquire Ohtani will haunt them all offseason long; reports surfaced that GM A.J. Preller even learned conversational Japanese to try to impress Ohtani, who signed with the Angels. Instead, the Padres acquired Chase Headley and hard-throwing reliever Bryan Mitchell from the Yankees (and are reportedly shopping Headley). With Wil Myers protecting first base and young outfielders Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe returning, the Padres have some promise, but it’ll probably be another long season.</p><p><strong>26. San Francisco Giants</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 64–98</strong></p><p>It’s been a disappointing offseason for the Giants. They had a trade in place to acquire Giancarlo Stanton, but he vetoed it on the grounds that they weren’t close enough to competing for another title. Marcell Ozuna would have offered the power the team needs and been a perfect defensive fit in AT&#38;T Park’s spacious outfield, but he was dealt to the Cardinals. Their big move came on Wednesday, acquiring Evan Longoria from the Rays in exchange for one of their top prospects (Christian Arroyo) along with Denard Span and two lesser prospects. Longoria remains one of the game’s most consistent players, but is coming off of a career-worst season at age 32. The upside to the trade is Longoria remains a defensive stud and has played at least 156 games in each of the last five seasons.</p><p>Now, GM Bobby Evans will reportedly look to payroll-conscious options like Jay Bruce to try to bolster a lineup that finished last in home runs (128) and OPS+ (83). In the meantime, perhaps they should look to Ripped Tim Lincecum to stabilize their pitching staff or bullpen.</p><p><strong>25. Tampa Bay Rays</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 80–82</strong></p><p>The Rays have started the rebuild by trading Evan Longoria. The next move is to ship Jake Odorizzi, Alex Colome and (maybe) Chris Archer. They’ve gotten Christian Arroyo, one of the Giants’ top prospects, in exchange for Longoria. They can compile a host of young talent by continuing to sell, and they should.</p><p><strong>24. Chicago White Sox</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 67–95</strong></p><p>The White Sox are happy to remain quiet this offseason after their enormous sale during last year’s Winter Meetings. General manager Rick Hahn has an enviable collection of young talent with little reason to move any of it. As Tom Verducci noted in his Winter Meetings Notebook,<a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/12/12/winter-meetings-notebook-boston-red-sox-jose-abreu" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the Red Sox would be wise to try to acquire first baseman Jose Abreu" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"> the Red Sox would be wise to try to acquire first baseman Jose Abreu</a>, and there are rumors that Hahn envies Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. They may not win much in 2018, but the White Sox will trip up plenty of teams next season.</p><p><strong>23. Oakland A&#39;s</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 75–87</strong></p><p>It’s the A’s. Who knows?</p><p>Stephen Piscotty is a nice addition who could enjoy a turnaround season in new surroundings. Matt Olson and Matt Chapman are breakout players who can anchor the middle of the order. Khris Davis is one of the game’s most reliable power hitters. Jharel Cotton is a potential front-line starter, but he lacked consistency in 2017. Perhaps Kendall Graveman and Franklin Barreto will have big seasons to finally redeem the Josh Donaldson trade.</p><p>Maybe they’ll surprise people. Maybe they won’t. Predicting this team has long been a fool’s errand, but they’ll be intriguing as always.?</p><p><strong>22. Philadelphia Phillies</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 66–96</strong></p><p>The Phillies haven’t made any significant moves yet, but they have a chunk of money and a host of promising young players for 2018. General manager Matt Klentak shipped shortstop Freddy Galvis to the Padres, which allows J.P. Crawford to inherit the starting shortstop position, and then signed Carlos Santana to a three-year, $60 million deal. Santana might be the most consistent bat in the entire free agent class, but it blocks either Rhys Hoskins or Aaron Altherr, both of whom enjoyed great second halves in 2017.</p><p>Klentak is also reportedly shopping infielder Cesar Hernandez (the Mets would be a good fit), but he&#39;s seeking a healthy package in return for a player who finished 2017 with a strong .293/.373/.421 slash line. Hernandez may start the season at second; if he doesn’t, it will be touted minor-league infielder Scott Kingery.</p><p>Expect the Phillies to engage the Orioles on Manny Machado, who is the perfect candidate to replace the underwhelming Maikel Franco at third base. Otherwise, they&#39;re a prime candidate to spend on a front-line starter (Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish) to bolster an otherwise bad starting rotation.</p><p><strong>21. Baltimore Orioles</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 75–87</strong></p><p>Like the Reds, the Orioles don’t have the assets to compete in 2018. As Tom Verducci noted, <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/12/14/baltimore-orioles-manny-machado-trade-rumors-winter-meetings" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:GM Dan Duquette would be wise to ship Manny Machado" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">GM Dan Duquette would be wise to ship Manny Machado</a> before he hits free agency after the season, but there’s fear that any team that acquires him could flip him to the prospect-rich Yankees.</p><p>Even with the 2017 emergence of starting pitcher Dylan Bundy and second baseman Jonathan Schoop, the Orioles don’t have the starting rotation to compete in the AL East and probably don’t have the money to sign Machado to a long-term deal. Life has never been easy as an Orioles fan, and it appears that they missed their window to compete for a title with Machado anchoring third base. With closer Zach Britton rupturing his Achilles and due to miss six months, the hope for any success in 2018 got even dimmer.</p><p><strong>20. Toronto Blue Jays</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 76–86</strong></p><p>Like the Orioles, the Blue Jays must decide if they want to make one more run at the playoffs with a star player who will probably skip town during next winter’s free-agent period. Josh Donaldson is at the back end of his prime, but the 2015 AL MVP is still one of the most reliable power bats in baseball; he’s exceeded a 144 OPS+ in four of the last five seasons. The question is whether his presence is enough to lift the struggling Blue Jays, who crashed from the 2016 ALCS to just 76 wins in &#39;17, back into the postseason. The Cardinals have long been enamored with Donaldson and will keep calling the Jays if they’re unable to land Machado from Baltimore.</p><p>Toronto started seven regulars over 30 years old last year and will need another huge season from the unlikely Justin Smoak if it expects to keep pace in the AL East. If GM Ross Atkins pursued a rebuild, he’d be smart to float Marcus Stroman, who has four more years of team control, to a prospect-rich team like the Yankees or Dodgers.</p><p><strong>19. Atlanta Braves</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 72–90</strong></p><p>By removing the onerous Matt Kemp contract from the books in a trade with the Dodgers, the Braves created a lane to promote top prospect Ronald Acuña, the MVP of the Arizona Fall League and one of the game&#39;s top prospects. The 19-year-old became the youngest player to win top AFL honors after slashing .325/.414/.639 with seven home runs in 23 games.</p><p>By adding Brandon McCarthy to the rotation and taking a flyer on the oft-injured Scott Kazmir, Atlanta might be able to stabilize its creaky rotation. With an intriguing blend of youth and veteran leadership, the Braves aren’t far from competing for a playoff spot.</p><p><strong>18. Pittsburgh Pirates</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 75–87</strong></p><p>Like the Orioles, the Pirates feel like a team that missed their window. Their future hinges on whether they trade Andrew McCutchen, who saved his 2017 season with a .305/.391/.533 and 19 home runs over his final 102 games, and Gerrit Cole, the staff ace who stumbled to a 4.26 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 2017. The Giants could use a player of McCutchen’s dynamism, but may not have an attractive enough trade package. The Yankees want Cole, but Pirates GM Neal Huntington is rumored to be targeting top prospect Gleyber Torres, which might be too tall an ask for Yankees GM Brian Cashman.</p><p>They have a promising young first baseman in Josh Bell, a struggling 25-year-old outfielder in Gregory Polanco and the talented Starling Marte, who served an 80-game suspension in 2017. Outside of that, it’s an unreliable rotation (even if it’s mastered by the game’s best pitching coach in Ray Searage) and a lineup that finished 28th in total offense.</p><p><strong>17. Kansas City Royals</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 80–82</strong></p><p>The theme of rebuild or compete is a constant in this piece. The Royals are most likely losing the former centerpieces to their 2015 World Series team in Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. Starting pitcher Danny Duffy is gauging interest on the trade market, and could deliver a sizable haul of prospects. It’s probably time to start building a new future in Kansas City, but it’s hard to see what it will look like until this offseason ends.</p><p><strong>16. New York Mets</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 70–92</strong></p><p>With a new manager (Mickey Callaway) and a pitching staff that needs an offseason’s worth of rest, the Mets will return a rotation that most teams still fear, but the usual financial limits will prevent them from acquiring the offense they need (Carlos Santana, who signed with rival Philadelphia, would have been a nice option). Perhaps they can trade for a second baseman like Jason Kipnis or bring outfielder Jay Bruce back on a bargain contract.</p><p>Adrian Gonzalez, who is being paid by the Braves this season, would work as a short-term addition, though it would block prospect Dom Smith. Gonzalez still has a couple of decent seasons left in him if he’s healthy, and the Mets don’t have to pay him. GM Sandy Alderson could also surprise his fans by springing for a player like Cain or Moustakas, who could provide Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto (once he&#39;s back from a serious shoulder injury) with the protection they desperately need.</p><p>The Mets can still compete, but they’ll need to inject some power into their lineup if they want to keep pace with the Nationals.</p><p><strong>15. Seattle Mariners</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 78–84</strong></p><p>General manager Jerry Dipoto missed out on the prize acquisition of Ohtani, and now he’ll try to wheel and deal his way to improving one of the biggest disappointments of 2017. “Trader Jerry” retains the strong core of Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Felix Hernandez, but Hernandez is regressing and Cruz is aging. Rightfielder Mitch Haniger provided a boost in 96 games last year and Mike Zunino offered a strong season with a 123 OPS+.</p><p>Seattle won’t compete for a playoff spot if Ariel Miranda leads the team in innings again, but Dipoto has stitched together a nice bullpen anchored by closer Edwin Diaz. If Dipoto can find reliable starting pitching either by free agency or trade (and keep James Paxton healthy), the Mariners can compete for an open wild-card spot. More likely, the Mariners are bound for another 78-to-84-win season.</p><p><strong>14. Texas Rangers</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 78–84</strong></p><p>The Rangers acquired lefty starter Matt Moore from the Giants and signed Mike Minor away from the Royals to try to boost one of the AL’s worst rotations. The problem is that the West’s best bats (Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Cruz) are mostly righthanded.</p><p>Rougned Odor needs to learn how to take a pitch—he’s the rare player who could amass 30-plus homers and a 65 OPS+—if he wants to stabilize the Rangers’ lineup. Adrian Beltre is aging, so manager Jeff Banister will need big contributions from Odor and Joey Gallo to turn the Rangers back into the kind of team that won the division in 2016. </p><p><strong>13. Minnesota Twins</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 85–77, lost in AL Wild Card Game</strong></p><p>The young core is there; the Twins just need a starting pitcher. Unless they are outbid by a richer team like the Cubs or Astros, the Twins should do everything within their power to sign Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta as well as a secondary starter (Alex Cobb, Jaime Garcia) to bolster their playoff chances. With the Tigers, White Sox and Royals all headed toward rebuilds, it’s imperative that the Twins spend now and try to compete.</p><p><strong>12. Los Angeles Angels</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 80–82</strong></p><p>They’re the most interesting team of the offseason. General manager Billy Eppler has secured the services of Ohtani, Justin Upton, Zack Cozart and Kinsler to provide the kind of reliable support that Mike Trout hasn’t had during his time in the big leagues. It’s a boom-or-bust proposition (and the Angels could use some help on the back end of their rotation), but they’ve gone from one of the league’s least interesting teams to a genuinely intriguing one.</p><p><strong>11. Milwaukee Brewers</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 86–76</strong></p><p>This is a team that can contend, but signing players like Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo isn’t going to help them achieve that goal. The Brewers have an excellent young core anchored by Orlando Arcia, Manny Pina and Domingo Santana, but they need starting pitching to help front-liners Zach Davies and Chase Anderson.</p><p>One of 2017’s most pleasant surprises is one or two pieces away, but the beginning of the offseason hasn’t been thrilling. The best move they can make? Offer Lewis Brinson and other top prospects to the Rays for Chris Archer.</p><p><strong>10. Colorado Rockies</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 87–75, lost in NL Wild Card Game</strong></p><p>Unfortunately the Rockies did not add Giancarlo Stanton—what a dream that would have been—but they did sign Bryan Shaw and re-sign Jake McGee to bolster a bullpen that was a strength in 2017. Shaw is one of the game’s best against righthanded hitters and specializes in getting ground balls (he had a career high 55% ground-ball rate in 79 appearances last year). The Rockies will bank on their young starters (Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, German Marquez) to anchor the rotation. They’ll hit like they always do, but they’ll need standout years from a host of young starters if they want to make a run in 2018.</p><p><strong>9. Boston Red Sox</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 93–69, lost in NLDS</strong></p><p>General manager Dave Dombrowski has remained quiet except for re-signing Mitch Moreland to a two-year deal. Boston should remain the eventual landing spot for J.D. Martinez, but agent Scott Boras is seeking a long-term contract for the 30-year-old power hitter.</p><p>Martinez’s free agency may play out like Prince Fielder’s six years ago, when the slugging first baseman waited until January to sign a nine-year, $214 million contract. The GM who signed Fielder? Dave Dombrowski.</p><p><strong>8. St. Louis Cardinals</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 83–79</strong></p><p>The Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton will dominate every offseason headline, but St. Louis’s fleecing of the Marlins for Marcell Ozuna may be an even better deal. Ozuna compiled triple-crown worthy numbers last year (.312/.376/.548, 37 HR, 124 RBIs) and slides seamlessly into a Cardinals lineup that missed a reliable power bat last year. General manager John Mozeliak admitted in an interview that a trade for Manny Machado is unlikely, but St. Louis barely missed the playoffs last season without a player of Ozuna’s caliber. It’s a perfect addition, and one that could vault the Cardinals into NL pennant contention.</p><p><strong>7. Arizona Diamondbacks</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 93–69, lost in NLDS</strong></p><p>To trade or not to trade? The Diamondbacks owe Zack Greinke an astonishing $138.5 million over the next four seasons, and he’s hamstringing the payroll of a team that isn’t far from competing for a pennant. The pitching-needy Rangers would be an ideal landing spot for Greinke, who had a strong 2017, but fell apart in his last four starts of the season (11.25 ERA, .417 batting average against in his last two regular-season starts; 7.27 ERA, six walks and 8 2/3 IP in his two postseason starts). Robbie Ray proved he’s a legitimate staff ace in 2017, and Patrick Corbin, Taijuan Walker and Zack Godley nicely fill out a rotation that exceeded expectations in 2017.</p><p>If the Diamondbacks can offset a chunk of salary by trading Greinke and use that money to try and bring back J.D. Martinez or acquire one more outfielder, Arizona will compete for the NL West crown in 2018.</p><p><strong>6. Washington Nationals</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 97–65, lost in NLDS</strong></p><p>Bryce Harper is in the final year of his contract, and he’s playing for his fourth manager in seven years. The goal is for the Nationals to re-sign Harper, but Washington likely needs to make a splash signing to convince Harper to stay and try to bring a title to D.C. Signing Jake Arrieta to complement Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer is the best way to do that. Otherwise, Harper may have one foot out the door even if he loves new manager Dave Martinez. </p><p><strong>5. Cleveland Indians</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 102–60, lost in ALDS</strong></p><p>Losing Carlos Santana to the Phillies is tough for a team that quietly relied on his offensive contributions for the last eight seasons. There’s no obvious replacement for Santana at first base—it might be Lonnie Chisenhall or occasionally Edwin Encarnacion—but it creates a problem in the lineup that lacks an immediate solution.</p><p>The Indians will enter 2018 as one of baseball’s most complete teams, but they’ll need a power surge from a player like Yandy Diaz or Abraham Almonte to help offset the loss of Santana’s consistency.</p><p><strong>4. Chicago Cubs</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 92–70, lost in NLCS</strong></p><p>The lingering question for the Cubs will be whether they’ll trade Kyle Schwarber. The once-beefy outfielder has reportedly lost 17–20 pounds this offseason and arrived looking svelte at the Winter Meetings. The Cubs adore Schwarber and probably won’t ship him, but his horrendous outfield defense was on display again in the NLCS against the Dodgers, and he never remedied the offensive woes that plagued him throughout 2017.</p><p>It makes little sense to trade Schwarber when his value is at its lowest, but perhaps the Red Sox would consider parting with whatever top prospects remain in their system to acquire a reliable DH. Otherwise, the addition of Brandon Morrow from the Dodgers will help shore up a creaky bullpen, and the Cubs are the likely favorite to add Yu Darvish to patch up a rotation that is destined to lose 2015 Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta.</p><p><strong>3. Los Angeles Dodgers</strong></p><p><strong>2017 record: 104–58, lost in World Series</strong></p><p>The Dodgers’ biggest move of the 2017 offseason was getting under the luxury tax, which they were in peril of violating for the fifth consecutive season. By unloading Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir, they freed $51 million from their 2018 payroll in exchange for Matt Kemp, who is owed $43 million over the next two years. Most importantly, <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/12/16/matt-kemp-dodgers-trade-adrian-gonzalez-braves-bryce-harper" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:as our own Jon Tayler noted" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">as our own Jon Tayler noted</a>, it allows the Dodgers significant flexibility for next year’s loaded free agent class.</p><p>It’s unlikely that Kemp ever suits up for his former team, but Los Angeles will face a difficult time trading a 32-year-old outfielder who is one of the game’s worst defenders and most egregious hackers. If the Dodgers can’t find a landing spot for Kemp (it’s hard to envision they do), they’ll likely designate him for assignment and eat the remainder of his salary.</p><p>The Dodgers will need to restock their bullpen after losing Brandon Morrow to the Cubs, but they’re otherwise set to enter 2018.</p><p><strong>2. New York Yankees</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 91–71, lost in ALCS</strong></p><p>By acquiring Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees possess the game’s two most fearsome power hitters. Stanton and Aaron Judge are under the age of 30. They’ve won the 2017 offseason; everybody else is just looking to be the runner-up.</p><p><strong>1. Houston Astros</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 101–61, won World Series</strong></p><p>The champions get the top spot, even if they’ve been quiet up to this point in the offseason. The Astros might get in on the Darvish sweepstakes to bolster their strong but tenuous rotation. Perhaps they’ll pursue J.D. Martinez to become their designated hitter and re-invest in a player they once cut. It’s unclear, but the Astros will return with one of the game’s most stable nuclei and an offense that can out-slug pretty much anybody.</p>
MLB Power Rankings: Yankees, Cardinals Are Big Winners of Early Offseason

Outside of the Yankees' acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton and the Angels' signing of Shohei Ohtani, it's been a pretty slow start to the baseball offseason. With a few moves made and many more to come, let's reset and take a look at where all 30 teams stand with plenty of signings awaiting.

30. Miami Marlins

2017 Record: 77–85

Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna combined for 96 homers, 13.4 WAR and a median OPS+ of 155 in 2017. The Marlins traded them for one big league regular (infielder Starlin Castro) and zero top-100 prospects. Selling was necessary, but the Marlins deal two of the game’s best players in their primes for Castro, somebody they’ll probably move before the 2018 season, and a host of lottery tickets.

The new ownership group can redeem itself by securing a large package of young talent for outfielder Christian Yelich (who is under team control for the next five years), but he is young, talented and relatively cheap. Targeted rebuilds are understandable; the new Miami ownership group is not doing that. It’s an insult to the fans who are surviving their third teardown since 2003.

29. Detroit Tigers

2017 Record: 64–98

By trading Ian Kinsler to the Angels, the Tigers have almost shed all of their veteran talent. They won’t be able to rid themselves of Miguel Cabrera’s behemoth contract (he’s owed $184 million through 2024), but they will float 2016 Rookie of the Year winner Michael Fulmer in trade talks if GM Al Avila can secure a significant package in return. The Tigers are going to be bad next season, but they’re carefully navigating a full teardown, unlike the Marlins.

28. Cincinnati Reds

2017 Record: 68–94

The Reds are trapped, and it’s unclear how they’ll improve in 2018. The prospects they acquired for long-term stability (Jose Peraza, Scott Schebler) are talented but underwhelming. Their starting pitching is awful (only one starter with more than 14 starts, Luis Castillo, finished with an ERA under 4.45). They tried to make a pitch to Shohei Ohtani, who quickly rebuffed them. They could secure a strong package of prospects by trading closer Raisel Iglesias, but reports are that he’ll remain in Cincinnati.

General Manager Dick Williams will try to ship speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton before the season is over, but his low on-base percentage hardly makes him an attractive candidate. The best move the Reds can make right now is to float Adam Duvall, who has 64 homers over the last two seasons, in trade negotiations. Like Hamilton, however, Duvall has issues getting on base, and power is not coveted like it once was thanks to the juiced ball.

27. San Diego Padres

2017 Record: 71–91

The Padres’ failure to acquire Ohtani will haunt them all offseason long; reports surfaced that GM A.J. Preller even learned conversational Japanese to try to impress Ohtani, who signed with the Angels. Instead, the Padres acquired Chase Headley and hard-throwing reliever Bryan Mitchell from the Yankees (and are reportedly shopping Headley). With Wil Myers protecting first base and young outfielders Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe returning, the Padres have some promise, but it’ll probably be another long season.

26. San Francisco Giants

2017 Record: 64–98

It’s been a disappointing offseason for the Giants. They had a trade in place to acquire Giancarlo Stanton, but he vetoed it on the grounds that they weren’t close enough to competing for another title. Marcell Ozuna would have offered the power the team needs and been a perfect defensive fit in AT&T Park’s spacious outfield, but he was dealt to the Cardinals. Their big move came on Wednesday, acquiring Evan Longoria from the Rays in exchange for one of their top prospects (Christian Arroyo) along with Denard Span and two lesser prospects. Longoria remains one of the game’s most consistent players, but is coming off of a career-worst season at age 32. The upside to the trade is Longoria remains a defensive stud and has played at least 156 games in each of the last five seasons.

Now, GM Bobby Evans will reportedly look to payroll-conscious options like Jay Bruce to try to bolster a lineup that finished last in home runs (128) and OPS+ (83). In the meantime, perhaps they should look to Ripped Tim Lincecum to stabilize their pitching staff or bullpen.

25. Tampa Bay Rays

2017 Record: 80–82

The Rays have started the rebuild by trading Evan Longoria. The next move is to ship Jake Odorizzi, Alex Colome and (maybe) Chris Archer. They’ve gotten Christian Arroyo, one of the Giants’ top prospects, in exchange for Longoria. They can compile a host of young talent by continuing to sell, and they should.

24. Chicago White Sox

2017 Record: 67–95

The White Sox are happy to remain quiet this offseason after their enormous sale during last year’s Winter Meetings. General manager Rick Hahn has an enviable collection of young talent with little reason to move any of it. As Tom Verducci noted in his Winter Meetings Notebook, the Red Sox would be wise to try to acquire first baseman Jose Abreu, and there are rumors that Hahn envies Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. They may not win much in 2018, but the White Sox will trip up plenty of teams next season.

23. Oakland A's

2017 Record: 75–87

It’s the A’s. Who knows?

Stephen Piscotty is a nice addition who could enjoy a turnaround season in new surroundings. Matt Olson and Matt Chapman are breakout players who can anchor the middle of the order. Khris Davis is one of the game’s most reliable power hitters. Jharel Cotton is a potential front-line starter, but he lacked consistency in 2017. Perhaps Kendall Graveman and Franklin Barreto will have big seasons to finally redeem the Josh Donaldson trade.

Maybe they’ll surprise people. Maybe they won’t. Predicting this team has long been a fool’s errand, but they’ll be intriguing as always.?

22. Philadelphia Phillies

2017 Record: 66–96

The Phillies haven’t made any significant moves yet, but they have a chunk of money and a host of promising young players for 2018. General manager Matt Klentak shipped shortstop Freddy Galvis to the Padres, which allows J.P. Crawford to inherit the starting shortstop position, and then signed Carlos Santana to a three-year, $60 million deal. Santana might be the most consistent bat in the entire free agent class, but it blocks either Rhys Hoskins or Aaron Altherr, both of whom enjoyed great second halves in 2017.

Klentak is also reportedly shopping infielder Cesar Hernandez (the Mets would be a good fit), but he's seeking a healthy package in return for a player who finished 2017 with a strong .293/.373/.421 slash line. Hernandez may start the season at second; if he doesn’t, it will be touted minor-league infielder Scott Kingery.

Expect the Phillies to engage the Orioles on Manny Machado, who is the perfect candidate to replace the underwhelming Maikel Franco at third base. Otherwise, they're a prime candidate to spend on a front-line starter (Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish) to bolster an otherwise bad starting rotation.

21. Baltimore Orioles

2017 Record: 75–87

Like the Reds, the Orioles don’t have the assets to compete in 2018. As Tom Verducci noted, GM Dan Duquette would be wise to ship Manny Machado before he hits free agency after the season, but there’s fear that any team that acquires him could flip him to the prospect-rich Yankees.

Even with the 2017 emergence of starting pitcher Dylan Bundy and second baseman Jonathan Schoop, the Orioles don’t have the starting rotation to compete in the AL East and probably don’t have the money to sign Machado to a long-term deal. Life has never been easy as an Orioles fan, and it appears that they missed their window to compete for a title with Machado anchoring third base. With closer Zach Britton rupturing his Achilles and due to miss six months, the hope for any success in 2018 got even dimmer.

20. Toronto Blue Jays

2017 Record: 76–86

Like the Orioles, the Blue Jays must decide if they want to make one more run at the playoffs with a star player who will probably skip town during next winter’s free-agent period. Josh Donaldson is at the back end of his prime, but the 2015 AL MVP is still one of the most reliable power bats in baseball; he’s exceeded a 144 OPS+ in four of the last five seasons. The question is whether his presence is enough to lift the struggling Blue Jays, who crashed from the 2016 ALCS to just 76 wins in '17, back into the postseason. The Cardinals have long been enamored with Donaldson and will keep calling the Jays if they’re unable to land Machado from Baltimore.

Toronto started seven regulars over 30 years old last year and will need another huge season from the unlikely Justin Smoak if it expects to keep pace in the AL East. If GM Ross Atkins pursued a rebuild, he’d be smart to float Marcus Stroman, who has four more years of team control, to a prospect-rich team like the Yankees or Dodgers.

19. Atlanta Braves

2017 Record: 72–90

By removing the onerous Matt Kemp contract from the books in a trade with the Dodgers, the Braves created a lane to promote top prospect Ronald Acuña, the MVP of the Arizona Fall League and one of the game's top prospects. The 19-year-old became the youngest player to win top AFL honors after slashing .325/.414/.639 with seven home runs in 23 games.

By adding Brandon McCarthy to the rotation and taking a flyer on the oft-injured Scott Kazmir, Atlanta might be able to stabilize its creaky rotation. With an intriguing blend of youth and veteran leadership, the Braves aren’t far from competing for a playoff spot.

18. Pittsburgh Pirates

2017 Record: 75–87

Like the Orioles, the Pirates feel like a team that missed their window. Their future hinges on whether they trade Andrew McCutchen, who saved his 2017 season with a .305/.391/.533 and 19 home runs over his final 102 games, and Gerrit Cole, the staff ace who stumbled to a 4.26 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 2017. The Giants could use a player of McCutchen’s dynamism, but may not have an attractive enough trade package. The Yankees want Cole, but Pirates GM Neal Huntington is rumored to be targeting top prospect Gleyber Torres, which might be too tall an ask for Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

They have a promising young first baseman in Josh Bell, a struggling 25-year-old outfielder in Gregory Polanco and the talented Starling Marte, who served an 80-game suspension in 2017. Outside of that, it’s an unreliable rotation (even if it’s mastered by the game’s best pitching coach in Ray Searage) and a lineup that finished 28th in total offense.

17. Kansas City Royals

2017 Record: 80–82

The theme of rebuild or compete is a constant in this piece. The Royals are most likely losing the former centerpieces to their 2015 World Series team in Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. Starting pitcher Danny Duffy is gauging interest on the trade market, and could deliver a sizable haul of prospects. It’s probably time to start building a new future in Kansas City, but it’s hard to see what it will look like until this offseason ends.

16. New York Mets

2017 Record: 70–92

With a new manager (Mickey Callaway) and a pitching staff that needs an offseason’s worth of rest, the Mets will return a rotation that most teams still fear, but the usual financial limits will prevent them from acquiring the offense they need (Carlos Santana, who signed with rival Philadelphia, would have been a nice option). Perhaps they can trade for a second baseman like Jason Kipnis or bring outfielder Jay Bruce back on a bargain contract.

Adrian Gonzalez, who is being paid by the Braves this season, would work as a short-term addition, though it would block prospect Dom Smith. Gonzalez still has a couple of decent seasons left in him if he’s healthy, and the Mets don’t have to pay him. GM Sandy Alderson could also surprise his fans by springing for a player like Cain or Moustakas, who could provide Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto (once he's back from a serious shoulder injury) with the protection they desperately need.

The Mets can still compete, but they’ll need to inject some power into their lineup if they want to keep pace with the Nationals.

15. Seattle Mariners

2017 Record: 78–84

General manager Jerry Dipoto missed out on the prize acquisition of Ohtani, and now he’ll try to wheel and deal his way to improving one of the biggest disappointments of 2017. “Trader Jerry” retains the strong core of Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Felix Hernandez, but Hernandez is regressing and Cruz is aging. Rightfielder Mitch Haniger provided a boost in 96 games last year and Mike Zunino offered a strong season with a 123 OPS+.

Seattle won’t compete for a playoff spot if Ariel Miranda leads the team in innings again, but Dipoto has stitched together a nice bullpen anchored by closer Edwin Diaz. If Dipoto can find reliable starting pitching either by free agency or trade (and keep James Paxton healthy), the Mariners can compete for an open wild-card spot. More likely, the Mariners are bound for another 78-to-84-win season.

14. Texas Rangers

2017 Record: 78–84

The Rangers acquired lefty starter Matt Moore from the Giants and signed Mike Minor away from the Royals to try to boost one of the AL’s worst rotations. The problem is that the West’s best bats (Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Cruz) are mostly righthanded.

Rougned Odor needs to learn how to take a pitch—he’s the rare player who could amass 30-plus homers and a 65 OPS+—if he wants to stabilize the Rangers’ lineup. Adrian Beltre is aging, so manager Jeff Banister will need big contributions from Odor and Joey Gallo to turn the Rangers back into the kind of team that won the division in 2016.

13. Minnesota Twins

2017 Record: 85–77, lost in AL Wild Card Game

The young core is there; the Twins just need a starting pitcher. Unless they are outbid by a richer team like the Cubs or Astros, the Twins should do everything within their power to sign Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta as well as a secondary starter (Alex Cobb, Jaime Garcia) to bolster their playoff chances. With the Tigers, White Sox and Royals all headed toward rebuilds, it’s imperative that the Twins spend now and try to compete.

12. Los Angeles Angels

2017 Record: 80–82

They’re the most interesting team of the offseason. General manager Billy Eppler has secured the services of Ohtani, Justin Upton, Zack Cozart and Kinsler to provide the kind of reliable support that Mike Trout hasn’t had during his time in the big leagues. It’s a boom-or-bust proposition (and the Angels could use some help on the back end of their rotation), but they’ve gone from one of the league’s least interesting teams to a genuinely intriguing one.

11. Milwaukee Brewers

2017 Record: 86–76

This is a team that can contend, but signing players like Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo isn’t going to help them achieve that goal. The Brewers have an excellent young core anchored by Orlando Arcia, Manny Pina and Domingo Santana, but they need starting pitching to help front-liners Zach Davies and Chase Anderson.

One of 2017’s most pleasant surprises is one or two pieces away, but the beginning of the offseason hasn’t been thrilling. The best move they can make? Offer Lewis Brinson and other top prospects to the Rays for Chris Archer.

10. Colorado Rockies

2017 Record: 87–75, lost in NL Wild Card Game

Unfortunately the Rockies did not add Giancarlo Stanton—what a dream that would have been—but they did sign Bryan Shaw and re-sign Jake McGee to bolster a bullpen that was a strength in 2017. Shaw is one of the game’s best against righthanded hitters and specializes in getting ground balls (he had a career high 55% ground-ball rate in 79 appearances last year). The Rockies will bank on their young starters (Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, German Marquez) to anchor the rotation. They’ll hit like they always do, but they’ll need standout years from a host of young starters if they want to make a run in 2018.

9. Boston Red Sox

2017 Record: 93–69, lost in NLDS

General manager Dave Dombrowski has remained quiet except for re-signing Mitch Moreland to a two-year deal. Boston should remain the eventual landing spot for J.D. Martinez, but agent Scott Boras is seeking a long-term contract for the 30-year-old power hitter.

Martinez’s free agency may play out like Prince Fielder’s six years ago, when the slugging first baseman waited until January to sign a nine-year, $214 million contract. The GM who signed Fielder? Dave Dombrowski.

8. St. Louis Cardinals

2017 Record: 83–79

The Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton will dominate every offseason headline, but St. Louis’s fleecing of the Marlins for Marcell Ozuna may be an even better deal. Ozuna compiled triple-crown worthy numbers last year (.312/.376/.548, 37 HR, 124 RBIs) and slides seamlessly into a Cardinals lineup that missed a reliable power bat last year. General manager John Mozeliak admitted in an interview that a trade for Manny Machado is unlikely, but St. Louis barely missed the playoffs last season without a player of Ozuna’s caliber. It’s a perfect addition, and one that could vault the Cardinals into NL pennant contention.

7. Arizona Diamondbacks

2017 Record: 93–69, lost in NLDS

To trade or not to trade? The Diamondbacks owe Zack Greinke an astonishing $138.5 million over the next four seasons, and he’s hamstringing the payroll of a team that isn’t far from competing for a pennant. The pitching-needy Rangers would be an ideal landing spot for Greinke, who had a strong 2017, but fell apart in his last four starts of the season (11.25 ERA, .417 batting average against in his last two regular-season starts; 7.27 ERA, six walks and 8 2/3 IP in his two postseason starts). Robbie Ray proved he’s a legitimate staff ace in 2017, and Patrick Corbin, Taijuan Walker and Zack Godley nicely fill out a rotation that exceeded expectations in 2017.

If the Diamondbacks can offset a chunk of salary by trading Greinke and use that money to try and bring back J.D. Martinez or acquire one more outfielder, Arizona will compete for the NL West crown in 2018.

6. Washington Nationals

2017 Record: 97–65, lost in NLDS

Bryce Harper is in the final year of his contract, and he’s playing for his fourth manager in seven years. The goal is for the Nationals to re-sign Harper, but Washington likely needs to make a splash signing to convince Harper to stay and try to bring a title to D.C. Signing Jake Arrieta to complement Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer is the best way to do that. Otherwise, Harper may have one foot out the door even if he loves new manager Dave Martinez.

5. Cleveland Indians

2017 Record: 102–60, lost in ALDS

Losing Carlos Santana to the Phillies is tough for a team that quietly relied on his offensive contributions for the last eight seasons. There’s no obvious replacement for Santana at first base—it might be Lonnie Chisenhall or occasionally Edwin Encarnacion—but it creates a problem in the lineup that lacks an immediate solution.

The Indians will enter 2018 as one of baseball’s most complete teams, but they’ll need a power surge from a player like Yandy Diaz or Abraham Almonte to help offset the loss of Santana’s consistency.

4. Chicago Cubs

2017 Record: 92–70, lost in NLCS

The lingering question for the Cubs will be whether they’ll trade Kyle Schwarber. The once-beefy outfielder has reportedly lost 17–20 pounds this offseason and arrived looking svelte at the Winter Meetings. The Cubs adore Schwarber and probably won’t ship him, but his horrendous outfield defense was on display again in the NLCS against the Dodgers, and he never remedied the offensive woes that plagued him throughout 2017.

It makes little sense to trade Schwarber when his value is at its lowest, but perhaps the Red Sox would consider parting with whatever top prospects remain in their system to acquire a reliable DH. Otherwise, the addition of Brandon Morrow from the Dodgers will help shore up a creaky bullpen, and the Cubs are the likely favorite to add Yu Darvish to patch up a rotation that is destined to lose 2015 Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

2017 record: 104–58, lost in World Series

The Dodgers’ biggest move of the 2017 offseason was getting under the luxury tax, which they were in peril of violating for the fifth consecutive season. By unloading Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir, they freed $51 million from their 2018 payroll in exchange for Matt Kemp, who is owed $43 million over the next two years. Most importantly, as our own Jon Tayler noted, it allows the Dodgers significant flexibility for next year’s loaded free agent class.

It’s unlikely that Kemp ever suits up for his former team, but Los Angeles will face a difficult time trading a 32-year-old outfielder who is one of the game’s worst defenders and most egregious hackers. If the Dodgers can’t find a landing spot for Kemp (it’s hard to envision they do), they’ll likely designate him for assignment and eat the remainder of his salary.

The Dodgers will need to restock their bullpen after losing Brandon Morrow to the Cubs, but they’re otherwise set to enter 2018.

2. New York Yankees

2017 Record: 91–71, lost in ALCS

By acquiring Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees possess the game’s two most fearsome power hitters. Stanton and Aaron Judge are under the age of 30. They’ve won the 2017 offseason; everybody else is just looking to be the runner-up.

1. Houston Astros

2017 Record: 101–61, won World Series

The champions get the top spot, even if they’ve been quiet up to this point in the offseason. The Astros might get in on the Darvish sweepstakes to bolster their strong but tenuous rotation. Perhaps they’ll pursue J.D. Martinez to become their designated hitter and re-invest in a player they once cut. It’s unclear, but the Astros will return with one of the game’s most stable nuclei and an offense that can out-slug pretty much anybody.

<p>Outside of the Yankees&#39; acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton and the Angels&#39; signing of Shohei Ohtani, it&#39;s been a pretty slow start to the baseball offseason. With a few moves made and many more to come, let&#39;s reset and take a look at where all 30 teams stand with plenty of signings awaiting.</p><p><strong>30. Miami Marlins</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record</strong>: <strong>77–85</strong></p><p>Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna combined for 96 homers, 13.4 WAR and a median OPS+ of 155 in 2017. The Marlins traded them for one big league regular (infielder Starlin Castro) and zero top-100 prospects. Selling was necessary, but the Marlins deal two of the game’s best players in their primes for Castro, somebody they’ll probably move before the 2018 season, and a host of lottery tickets. </p><p>The new ownership group can redeem itself by securing a large package of young talent for outfielder Christian Yelich (who is under team control for the next five years), but he is young, talented and relatively cheap. Targeted rebuilds are understandable; the new Miami ownership group is not doing that. It’s an insult to the fans who are surviving their third teardown since 2003. </p><p><strong>29. Detroit Tigers</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 64–98</strong></p><p>By trading Ian Kinsler to the Angels, the Tigers have almost shed all of their veteran talent. They won’t be able to rid themselves of Miguel Cabrera’s behemoth contract (he’s owed $184 million through 2024), but they will float 2016 Rookie of the Year winner Michael Fulmer in trade talks if GM Al Avila can secure a significant package in return. The Tigers are going to be bad next season, but they’re carefully navigating a full teardown, unlike the Marlins.</p><p><strong>28. Cincinnati Reds</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 68–94</strong></p><p>The Reds are trapped, and it’s unclear how they’ll improve in 2018. The prospects they acquired for long-term stability (Jose Peraza, Scott Schebler) are talented but underwhelming. Their starting pitching is awful (only one starter with more than 14 starts, Luis Castillo, finished with an ERA under 4.45). They tried to make a pitch to Shohei Ohtani, who quickly rebuffed them. They could secure a strong package of prospects by trading closer Raisel Iglesias, but reports are that he’ll remain in Cincinnati.</p><p>General Manager Dick Williams will try to ship speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton before the season is over, but his low on-base percentage hardly makes him an attractive candidate. The best move the Reds can make right now is to float Adam Duvall, who has 64 homers over the last two seasons, in trade negotiations. Like Hamilton, however, Duvall has issues getting on base, and power is not coveted like it once was thanks to the juiced ball.</p><p><strong>27. San Diego Padres</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 71–91</strong></p><p>The Padres’ failure to acquire Ohtani will haunt them all offseason long; reports surfaced that GM A.J. Preller even learned conversational Japanese to try to impress Ohtani, who signed with the Angels. Instead, the Padres acquired Chase Headley and hard-throwing reliever Bryan Mitchell from the Yankees (and are reportedly shopping Headley). With Wil Myers protecting first base and young outfielders Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe returning, the Padres have some promise, but it’ll probably be another long season.</p><p><strong>26. San Francisco Giants</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 64–98</strong></p><p>It’s been a disappointing offseason for the Giants. They had a trade in place to acquire Giancarlo Stanton, but he vetoed it on the grounds that they weren’t close enough to competing for another title. Marcell Ozuna would have offered the power the team needs and been a perfect defensive fit in AT&#38;T Park’s spacious outfield, but he was dealt to the Cardinals. Their big move came on Wednesday, acquiring Evan Longoria from the Rays in exchange for one of their top prospects (Christian Arroyo) along with Denard Span and two lesser prospects. Longoria remains one of the game’s most consistent players, but is coming off of a career-worst season at age 32. The upside to the trade is Longoria remains a defensive stud and has played at least 156 games in each of the last five seasons.</p><p>Now, GM Bobby Evans will reportedly look to payroll-conscious options like Jay Bruce to try to bolster a lineup that finished last in home runs (128) and OPS+ (83). In the meantime, perhaps they should look to Ripped Tim Lincecum to stabilize their pitching staff or bullpen.</p><p><strong>25. Tampa Bay Rays</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 80–82</strong></p><p>The Rays have started the rebuild by trading Evan Longoria. The next move is to ship Jake Odorizzi, Alex Colome and (maybe) Chris Archer. They’ve gotten Christian Arroyo, one of the Giants’ top prospects, in exchange for Longoria. They can compile a host of young talent by continuing to sell, and they should.</p><p><strong>24. Chicago White Sox</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 67–95</strong></p><p>The White Sox are happy to remain quiet this offseason after their enormous sale during last year’s Winter Meetings. General manager Rick Hahn has an enviable collection of young talent with little reason to move any of it. As Tom Verducci noted in his Winter Meetings Notebook,<a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/12/12/winter-meetings-notebook-boston-red-sox-jose-abreu" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the Red Sox would be wise to try to acquire first baseman Jose Abreu" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"> the Red Sox would be wise to try to acquire first baseman Jose Abreu</a>, and there are rumors that Hahn envies Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. They may not win much in 2018, but the White Sox will trip up plenty of teams next season.</p><p><strong>23. Oakland A&#39;s</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 75–87</strong></p><p>It’s the A’s. Who knows?</p><p>Stephen Piscotty is a nice addition who could enjoy a turnaround season in new surroundings. Matt Olson and Matt Chapman are breakout players who can anchor the middle of the order. Khris Davis is one of the game’s most reliable power hitters. Jharel Cotton is a potential front-line starter, but he lacked consistency in 2017. Perhaps Kendall Graveman and Franklin Barreto will have big seasons to finally redeem the Josh Donaldson trade.</p><p>Maybe they’ll surprise people. Maybe they won’t. Predicting this team has long been a fool’s errand, but they’ll be intriguing as always.?</p><p><strong>22. Philadelphia Phillies</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 66–96</strong></p><p>The Phillies haven’t made any significant moves yet, but they have a chunk of money and a host of promising young players for 2018. General manager Matt Klentak shipped shortstop Freddy Galvis to the Padres, which allows J.P. Crawford to inherit the starting shortstop position, and then signed Carlos Santana to a three-year, $60 million deal. Santana might be the most consistent bat in the entire free agent class, but it blocks either Rhys Hoskins or Aaron Altherr, both of whom enjoyed great second halves in 2017.</p><p>Klentak is also reportedly shopping infielder Cesar Hernandez (the Mets would be a good fit), but he&#39;s seeking a healthy package in return for a player who finished 2017 with a strong .293/.373/.421 slash line. Hernandez may start the season at second; if he doesn’t, it will be touted minor-league infielder Scott Kingery.</p><p>Expect the Phillies to engage the Orioles on Manny Machado, who is the perfect candidate to replace the underwhelming Maikel Franco at third base. Otherwise, they&#39;re a prime candidate to spend on a front-line starter (Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish) to bolster an otherwise bad starting rotation.</p><p><strong>21. Baltimore Orioles</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 75–87</strong></p><p>Like the Reds, the Orioles don’t have the assets to compete in 2018. As Tom Verducci noted, <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/12/14/baltimore-orioles-manny-machado-trade-rumors-winter-meetings" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:GM Dan Duquette would be wise to ship Manny Machado" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">GM Dan Duquette would be wise to ship Manny Machado</a> before he hits free agency after the season, but there’s fear that any team that acquires him could flip him to the prospect-rich Yankees.</p><p>Even with the 2017 emergence of starting pitcher Dylan Bundy and second baseman Jonathan Schoop, the Orioles don’t have the starting rotation to compete in the AL East and probably don’t have the money to sign Machado to a long-term deal. Life has never been easy as an Orioles fan, and it appears that they missed their window to compete for a title with Machado anchoring third base. With closer Zach Britton rupturing his Achilles and due to miss six months, the hope for any success in 2018 got even dimmer.</p><p><strong>20. Toronto Blue Jays</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 76–86</strong></p><p>Like the Orioles, the Blue Jays must decide if they want to make one more run at the playoffs with a star player who will probably skip town during next winter’s free-agent period. Josh Donaldson is at the back end of his prime, but the 2015 AL MVP is still one of the most reliable power bats in baseball; he’s exceeded a 144 OPS+ in four of the last five seasons. The question is whether his presence is enough to lift the struggling Blue Jays, who crashed from the 2016 ALCS to just 76 wins in &#39;17, back into the postseason. The Cardinals have long been enamored with Donaldson and will keep calling the Jays if they’re unable to land Machado from Baltimore.</p><p>Toronto started seven regulars over 30 years old last year and will need another huge season from the unlikely Justin Smoak if it expects to keep pace in the AL East. If GM Ross Atkins pursued a rebuild, he’d be smart to float Marcus Stroman, who has four more years of team control, to a prospect-rich team like the Yankees or Dodgers.</p><p><strong>19. Atlanta Braves</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 72–90</strong></p><p>By removing the onerous Matt Kemp contract from the books in a trade with the Dodgers, the Braves created a lane to promote top prospect Ronald Acuña, the MVP of the Arizona Fall League and one of the game&#39;s top prospects. The 19-year-old became the youngest player to win top AFL honors after slashing .325/.414/.639 with seven home runs in 23 games.</p><p>By adding Brandon McCarthy to the rotation and taking a flyer on the oft-injured Scott Kazmir, Atlanta might be able to stabilize its creaky rotation. With an intriguing blend of youth and veteran leadership, the Braves aren’t far from competing for a playoff spot.</p><p><strong>18. Pittsburgh Pirates</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 75–87</strong></p><p>Like the Orioles, the Pirates feel like a team that missed their window. Their future hinges on whether they trade Andrew McCutchen, who saved his 2017 season with a .305/.391/.533 and 19 home runs over his final 102 games, and Gerrit Cole, the staff ace who stumbled to a 4.26 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 2017. The Giants could use a player of McCutchen’s dynamism, but may not have an attractive enough trade package. The Yankees want Cole, but Pirates GM Neal Huntington is rumored to be targeting top prospect Gleyber Torres, which might be too tall an ask for Yankees GM Brian Cashman.</p><p>They have a promising young first baseman in Josh Bell, a struggling 25-year-old outfielder in Gregory Polanco and the talented Starling Marte, who served an 80-game suspension in 2017. Outside of that, it’s an unreliable rotation (even if it’s mastered by the game’s best pitching coach in Ray Searage) and a lineup that finished 28th in total offense.</p><p><strong>17. Kansas City Royals</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 80–82</strong></p><p>The theme of rebuild or compete is a constant in this piece. The Royals are most likely losing the former centerpieces to their 2015 World Series team in Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. Starting pitcher Danny Duffy is gauging interest on the trade market, and could deliver a sizable haul of prospects. It’s probably time to start building a new future in Kansas City, but it’s hard to see what it will look like until this offseason ends.</p><p><strong>16. New York Mets</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 70–92</strong></p><p>With a new manager (Mickey Callaway) and a pitching staff that needs an offseason’s worth of rest, the Mets will return a rotation that most teams still fear, but the usual financial limits will prevent them from acquiring the offense they need (Carlos Santana, who signed with rival Philadelphia, would have been a nice option). Perhaps they can trade for a second baseman like Jason Kipnis or bring outfielder Jay Bruce back on a bargain contract.</p><p>Adrian Gonzalez, who is being paid by the Braves this season, would work as a short-term addition, though it would block prospect Dom Smith. Gonzalez still has a couple of decent seasons left in him if he’s healthy, and the Mets don’t have to pay him. GM Sandy Alderson could also surprise his fans by springing for a player like Cain or Moustakas, who could provide Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto (once he&#39;s back from a serious shoulder injury) with the protection they desperately need.</p><p>The Mets can still compete, but they’ll need to inject some power into their lineup if they want to keep pace with the Nationals.</p><p><strong>15. Seattle Mariners</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 78–84</strong></p><p>General manager Jerry Dipoto missed out on the prize acquisition of Ohtani, and now he’ll try to wheel and deal his way to improving one of the biggest disappointments of 2017. “Trader Jerry” retains the strong core of Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Felix Hernandez, but Hernandez is regressing and Cruz is aging. Rightfielder Mitch Haniger provided a boost in 96 games last year and Mike Zunino offered a strong season with a 123 OPS+.</p><p>Seattle won’t compete for a playoff spot if Ariel Miranda leads the team in innings again, but Dipoto has stitched together a nice bullpen anchored by closer Edwin Diaz. If Dipoto can find reliable starting pitching either by free agency or trade (and keep James Paxton healthy), the Mariners can compete for an open wild-card spot. More likely, the Mariners are bound for another 78-to-84-win season.</p><p><strong>14. Texas Rangers</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 78–84</strong></p><p>The Rangers acquired lefty starter Matt Moore from the Giants and signed Mike Minor away from the Royals to try to boost one of the AL’s worst rotations. The problem is that the West’s best bats (Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Cruz) are mostly righthanded.</p><p>Rougned Odor needs to learn how to take a pitch—he’s the rare player who could amass 30-plus homers and a 65 OPS+—if he wants to stabilize the Rangers’ lineup. Adrian Beltre is aging, so manager Jeff Banister will need big contributions from Odor and Joey Gallo to turn the Rangers back into the kind of team that won the division in 2016. </p><p><strong>13. Minnesota Twins</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 85–77, lost in AL Wild Card Game</strong></p><p>The young core is there; the Twins just need a starting pitcher. Unless they are outbid by a richer team like the Cubs or Astros, the Twins should do everything within their power to sign Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta as well as a secondary starter (Alex Cobb, Jaime Garcia) to bolster their playoff chances. With the Tigers, White Sox and Royals all headed toward rebuilds, it’s imperative that the Twins spend now and try to compete.</p><p><strong>12. Los Angeles Angels</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 80–82</strong></p><p>They’re the most interesting team of the offseason. General manager Billy Eppler has secured the services of Ohtani, Justin Upton, Zack Cozart and Kinsler to provide the kind of reliable support that Mike Trout hasn’t had during his time in the big leagues. It’s a boom-or-bust proposition (and the Angels could use some help on the back end of their rotation), but they’ve gone from one of the league’s least interesting teams to a genuinely intriguing one.</p><p><strong>11. Milwaukee Brewers</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 86–76</strong></p><p>This is a team that can contend, but signing players like Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo isn’t going to help them achieve that goal. The Brewers have an excellent young core anchored by Orlando Arcia, Manny Pina and Domingo Santana, but they need starting pitching to help front-liners Zach Davies and Chase Anderson.</p><p>One of 2017’s most pleasant surprises is one or two pieces away, but the beginning of the offseason hasn’t been thrilling. The best move they can make? Offer Lewis Brinson and other top prospects to the Rays for Chris Archer.</p><p><strong>10. Colorado Rockies</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 87–75, lost in NL Wild Card Game</strong></p><p>Unfortunately the Rockies did not add Giancarlo Stanton—what a dream that would have been—but they did sign Bryan Shaw and re-sign Jake McGee to bolster a bullpen that was a strength in 2017. Shaw is one of the game’s best against righthanded hitters and specializes in getting ground balls (he had a career high 55% ground-ball rate in 79 appearances last year). The Rockies will bank on their young starters (Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, German Marquez) to anchor the rotation. They’ll hit like they always do, but they’ll need standout years from a host of young starters if they want to make a run in 2018.</p><p><strong>9. Boston Red Sox</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 93–69, lost in NLDS</strong></p><p>General manager Dave Dombrowski has remained quiet except for re-signing Mitch Moreland to a two-year deal. Boston should remain the eventual landing spot for J.D. Martinez, but agent Scott Boras is seeking a long-term contract for the 30-year-old power hitter.</p><p>Martinez’s free agency may play out like Prince Fielder’s six years ago, when the slugging first baseman waited until January to sign a nine-year, $214 million contract. The GM who signed Fielder? Dave Dombrowski.</p><p><strong>8. St. Louis Cardinals</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 83–79</strong></p><p>The Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton will dominate every offseason headline, but St. Louis’s fleecing of the Marlins for Marcell Ozuna may be an even better deal. Ozuna compiled triple-crown worthy numbers last year (.312/.376/.548, 37 HR, 124 RBIs) and slides seamlessly into a Cardinals lineup that missed a reliable power bat last year. General manager John Mozeliak admitted in an interview that a trade for Manny Machado is unlikely, but St. Louis barely missed the playoffs last season without a player of Ozuna’s caliber. It’s a perfect addition, and one that could vault the Cardinals into NL pennant contention.</p><p><strong>7. Arizona Diamondbacks</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 93–69, lost in NLDS</strong></p><p>To trade or not to trade? The Diamondbacks owe Zack Greinke an astonishing $138.5 million over the next four seasons, and he’s hamstringing the payroll of a team that isn’t far from competing for a pennant. The pitching-needy Rangers would be an ideal landing spot for Greinke, who had a strong 2017, but fell apart in his last four starts of the season (11.25 ERA, .417 batting average against in his last two regular-season starts; 7.27 ERA, six walks and 8 2/3 IP in his two postseason starts). Robbie Ray proved he’s a legitimate staff ace in 2017, and Patrick Corbin, Taijuan Walker and Zack Godley nicely fill out a rotation that exceeded expectations in 2017.</p><p>If the Diamondbacks can offset a chunk of salary by trading Greinke and use that money to try and bring back J.D. Martinez or acquire one more outfielder, Arizona will compete for the NL West crown in 2018.</p><p><strong>6. Washington Nationals</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 97–65, lost in NLDS</strong></p><p>Bryce Harper is in the final year of his contract, and he’s playing for his fourth manager in seven years. The goal is for the Nationals to re-sign Harper, but Washington likely needs to make a splash signing to convince Harper to stay and try to bring a title to D.C. Signing Jake Arrieta to complement Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer is the best way to do that. Otherwise, Harper may have one foot out the door even if he loves new manager Dave Martinez. </p><p><strong>5. Cleveland Indians</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 102–60, lost in ALDS</strong></p><p>Losing Carlos Santana to the Phillies is tough for a team that quietly relied on his offensive contributions for the last eight seasons. There’s no obvious replacement for Santana at first base—it might be Lonnie Chisenhall or occasionally Edwin Encarnacion—but it creates a problem in the lineup that lacks an immediate solution.</p><p>The Indians will enter 2018 as one of baseball’s most complete teams, but they’ll need a power surge from a player like Yandy Diaz or Abraham Almonte to help offset the loss of Santana’s consistency.</p><p><strong>4. Chicago Cubs</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 92–70, lost in NLCS</strong></p><p>The lingering question for the Cubs will be whether they’ll trade Kyle Schwarber. The once-beefy outfielder has reportedly lost 17–20 pounds this offseason and arrived looking svelte at the Winter Meetings. The Cubs adore Schwarber and probably won’t ship him, but his horrendous outfield defense was on display again in the NLCS against the Dodgers, and he never remedied the offensive woes that plagued him throughout 2017.</p><p>It makes little sense to trade Schwarber when his value is at its lowest, but perhaps the Red Sox would consider parting with whatever top prospects remain in their system to acquire a reliable DH. Otherwise, the addition of Brandon Morrow from the Dodgers will help shore up a creaky bullpen, and the Cubs are the likely favorite to add Yu Darvish to patch up a rotation that is destined to lose 2015 Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta.</p><p><strong>3. Los Angeles Dodgers</strong></p><p><strong>2017 record: 104–58, lost in World Series</strong></p><p>The Dodgers’ biggest move of the 2017 offseason was getting under the luxury tax, which they were in peril of violating for the fifth consecutive season. By unloading Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir, they freed $51 million from their 2018 payroll in exchange for Matt Kemp, who is owed $43 million over the next two years. Most importantly, <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/12/16/matt-kemp-dodgers-trade-adrian-gonzalez-braves-bryce-harper" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:as our own Jon Tayler noted" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">as our own Jon Tayler noted</a>, it allows the Dodgers significant flexibility for next year’s loaded free agent class.</p><p>It’s unlikely that Kemp ever suits up for his former team, but Los Angeles will face a difficult time trading a 32-year-old outfielder who is one of the game’s worst defenders and most egregious hackers. If the Dodgers can’t find a landing spot for Kemp (it’s hard to envision they do), they’ll likely designate him for assignment and eat the remainder of his salary.</p><p>The Dodgers will need to restock their bullpen after losing Brandon Morrow to the Cubs, but they’re otherwise set to enter 2018.</p><p><strong>2. New York Yankees</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 91–71, lost in ALCS</strong></p><p>By acquiring Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees possess the game’s two most fearsome power hitters. Stanton and Aaron Judge are under the age of 30. They’ve won the 2017 offseason; everybody else is just looking to be the runner-up.</p><p><strong>1. Houston Astros</strong></p><p><strong>2017 Record: 101–61, won World Series</strong></p><p>The champions get the top spot, even if they’ve been quiet up to this point in the offseason. The Astros might get in on the Darvish sweepstakes to bolster their strong but tenuous rotation. Perhaps they’ll pursue J.D. Martinez to become their designated hitter and re-invest in a player they once cut. It’s unclear, but the Astros will return with one of the game’s most stable nuclei and an offense that can out-slug pretty much anybody.</p>
MLB Power Rankings: Yankees, Cardinals Are Big Winners of Early Offseason

Outside of the Yankees' acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton and the Angels' signing of Shohei Ohtani, it's been a pretty slow start to the baseball offseason. With a few moves made and many more to come, let's reset and take a look at where all 30 teams stand with plenty of signings awaiting.

30. Miami Marlins

2017 Record: 77–85

Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna combined for 96 homers, 13.4 WAR and a median OPS+ of 155 in 2017. The Marlins traded them for one big league regular (infielder Starlin Castro) and zero top-100 prospects. Selling was necessary, but the Marlins deal two of the game’s best players in their primes for Castro, somebody they’ll probably move before the 2018 season, and a host of lottery tickets.

The new ownership group can redeem itself by securing a large package of young talent for outfielder Christian Yelich (who is under team control for the next five years), but he is young, talented and relatively cheap. Targeted rebuilds are understandable; the new Miami ownership group is not doing that. It’s an insult to the fans who are surviving their third teardown since 2003.

29. Detroit Tigers

2017 Record: 64–98

By trading Ian Kinsler to the Angels, the Tigers have almost shed all of their veteran talent. They won’t be able to rid themselves of Miguel Cabrera’s behemoth contract (he’s owed $184 million through 2024), but they will float 2016 Rookie of the Year winner Michael Fulmer in trade talks if GM Al Avila can secure a significant package in return. The Tigers are going to be bad next season, but they’re carefully navigating a full teardown, unlike the Marlins.

28. Cincinnati Reds

2017 Record: 68–94

The Reds are trapped, and it’s unclear how they’ll improve in 2018. The prospects they acquired for long-term stability (Jose Peraza, Scott Schebler) are talented but underwhelming. Their starting pitching is awful (only one starter with more than 14 starts, Luis Castillo, finished with an ERA under 4.45). They tried to make a pitch to Shohei Ohtani, who quickly rebuffed them. They could secure a strong package of prospects by trading closer Raisel Iglesias, but reports are that he’ll remain in Cincinnati.

General Manager Dick Williams will try to ship speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton before the season is over, but his low on-base percentage hardly makes him an attractive candidate. The best move the Reds can make right now is to float Adam Duvall, who has 64 homers over the last two seasons, in trade negotiations. Like Hamilton, however, Duvall has issues getting on base, and power is not coveted like it once was thanks to the juiced ball.

27. San Diego Padres

2017 Record: 71–91

The Padres’ failure to acquire Ohtani will haunt them all offseason long; reports surfaced that GM A.J. Preller even learned conversational Japanese to try to impress Ohtani, who signed with the Angels. Instead, the Padres acquired Chase Headley and hard-throwing reliever Bryan Mitchell from the Yankees (and are reportedly shopping Headley). With Wil Myers protecting first base and young outfielders Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe returning, the Padres have some promise, but it’ll probably be another long season.

26. San Francisco Giants

2017 Record: 64–98

It’s been a disappointing offseason for the Giants. They had a trade in place to acquire Giancarlo Stanton, but he vetoed it on the grounds that they weren’t close enough to competing for another title. Marcell Ozuna would have offered the power the team needs and been a perfect defensive fit in AT&T Park’s spacious outfield, but he was dealt to the Cardinals. Their big move came on Wednesday, acquiring Evan Longoria from the Rays in exchange for one of their top prospects (Christian Arroyo) along with Denard Span and two lesser prospects. Longoria remains one of the game’s most consistent players, but is coming off of a career-worst season at age 32. The upside to the trade is Longoria remains a defensive stud and has played at least 156 games in each of the last five seasons.

Now, GM Bobby Evans will reportedly look to payroll-conscious options like Jay Bruce to try to bolster a lineup that finished last in home runs (128) and OPS+ (83). In the meantime, perhaps they should look to Ripped Tim Lincecum to stabilize their pitching staff or bullpen.

25. Tampa Bay Rays

2017 Record: 80–82

The Rays have started the rebuild by trading Evan Longoria. The next move is to ship Jake Odorizzi, Alex Colome and (maybe) Chris Archer. They’ve gotten Christian Arroyo, one of the Giants’ top prospects, in exchange for Longoria. They can compile a host of young talent by continuing to sell, and they should.

24. Chicago White Sox

2017 Record: 67–95

The White Sox are happy to remain quiet this offseason after their enormous sale during last year’s Winter Meetings. General manager Rick Hahn has an enviable collection of young talent with little reason to move any of it. As Tom Verducci noted in his Winter Meetings Notebook, the Red Sox would be wise to try to acquire first baseman Jose Abreu, and there are rumors that Hahn envies Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. They may not win much in 2018, but the White Sox will trip up plenty of teams next season.

23. Oakland A's

2017 Record: 75–87

It’s the A’s. Who knows?

Stephen Piscotty is a nice addition who could enjoy a turnaround season in new surroundings. Matt Olson and Matt Chapman are breakout players who can anchor the middle of the order. Khris Davis is one of the game’s most reliable power hitters. Jharel Cotton is a potential front-line starter, but he lacked consistency in 2017. Perhaps Kendall Graveman and Franklin Barreto will have big seasons to finally redeem the Josh Donaldson trade.

Maybe they’ll surprise people. Maybe they won’t. Predicting this team has long been a fool’s errand, but they’ll be intriguing as always.?

22. Philadelphia Phillies

2017 Record: 66–96

The Phillies haven’t made any significant moves yet, but they have a chunk of money and a host of promising young players for 2018. General manager Matt Klentak shipped shortstop Freddy Galvis to the Padres, which allows J.P. Crawford to inherit the starting shortstop position, and then signed Carlos Santana to a three-year, $60 million deal. Santana might be the most consistent bat in the entire free agent class, but it blocks either Rhys Hoskins or Aaron Altherr, both of whom enjoyed great second halves in 2017.

Klentak is also reportedly shopping infielder Cesar Hernandez (the Mets would be a good fit), but he's seeking a healthy package in return for a player who finished 2017 with a strong .293/.373/.421 slash line. Hernandez may start the season at second; if he doesn’t, it will be touted minor-league infielder Scott Kingery.

Expect the Phillies to engage the Orioles on Manny Machado, who is the perfect candidate to replace the underwhelming Maikel Franco at third base. Otherwise, they're a prime candidate to spend on a front-line starter (Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish) to bolster an otherwise bad starting rotation.

21. Baltimore Orioles

2017 Record: 75–87

Like the Reds, the Orioles don’t have the assets to compete in 2018. As Tom Verducci noted, GM Dan Duquette would be wise to ship Manny Machado before he hits free agency after the season, but there’s fear that any team that acquires him could flip him to the prospect-rich Yankees.

Even with the 2017 emergence of starting pitcher Dylan Bundy and second baseman Jonathan Schoop, the Orioles don’t have the starting rotation to compete in the AL East and probably don’t have the money to sign Machado to a long-term deal. Life has never been easy as an Orioles fan, and it appears that they missed their window to compete for a title with Machado anchoring third base. With closer Zach Britton rupturing his Achilles and due to miss six months, the hope for any success in 2018 got even dimmer.

20. Toronto Blue Jays

2017 Record: 76–86

Like the Orioles, the Blue Jays must decide if they want to make one more run at the playoffs with a star player who will probably skip town during next winter’s free-agent period. Josh Donaldson is at the back end of his prime, but the 2015 AL MVP is still one of the most reliable power bats in baseball; he’s exceeded a 144 OPS+ in four of the last five seasons. The question is whether his presence is enough to lift the struggling Blue Jays, who crashed from the 2016 ALCS to just 76 wins in '17, back into the postseason. The Cardinals have long been enamored with Donaldson and will keep calling the Jays if they’re unable to land Machado from Baltimore.

Toronto started seven regulars over 30 years old last year and will need another huge season from the unlikely Justin Smoak if it expects to keep pace in the AL East. If GM Ross Atkins pursued a rebuild, he’d be smart to float Marcus Stroman, who has four more years of team control, to a prospect-rich team like the Yankees or Dodgers.

19. Atlanta Braves

2017 Record: 72–90

By removing the onerous Matt Kemp contract from the books in a trade with the Dodgers, the Braves created a lane to promote top prospect Ronald Acuña, the MVP of the Arizona Fall League and one of the game's top prospects. The 19-year-old became the youngest player to win top AFL honors after slashing .325/.414/.639 with seven home runs in 23 games.

By adding Brandon McCarthy to the rotation and taking a flyer on the oft-injured Scott Kazmir, Atlanta might be able to stabilize its creaky rotation. With an intriguing blend of youth and veteran leadership, the Braves aren’t far from competing for a playoff spot.

18. Pittsburgh Pirates

2017 Record: 75–87

Like the Orioles, the Pirates feel like a team that missed their window. Their future hinges on whether they trade Andrew McCutchen, who saved his 2017 season with a .305/.391/.533 and 19 home runs over his final 102 games, and Gerrit Cole, the staff ace who stumbled to a 4.26 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 2017. The Giants could use a player of McCutchen’s dynamism, but may not have an attractive enough trade package. The Yankees want Cole, but Pirates GM Neal Huntington is rumored to be targeting top prospect Gleyber Torres, which might be too tall an ask for Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

They have a promising young first baseman in Josh Bell, a struggling 25-year-old outfielder in Gregory Polanco and the talented Starling Marte, who served an 80-game suspension in 2017. Outside of that, it’s an unreliable rotation (even if it’s mastered by the game’s best pitching coach in Ray Searage) and a lineup that finished 28th in total offense.

17. Kansas City Royals

2017 Record: 80–82

The theme of rebuild or compete is a constant in this piece. The Royals are most likely losing the former centerpieces to their 2015 World Series team in Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. Starting pitcher Danny Duffy is gauging interest on the trade market, and could deliver a sizable haul of prospects. It’s probably time to start building a new future in Kansas City, but it’s hard to see what it will look like until this offseason ends.

16. New York Mets

2017 Record: 70–92

With a new manager (Mickey Callaway) and a pitching staff that needs an offseason’s worth of rest, the Mets will return a rotation that most teams still fear, but the usual financial limits will prevent them from acquiring the offense they need (Carlos Santana, who signed with rival Philadelphia, would have been a nice option). Perhaps they can trade for a second baseman like Jason Kipnis or bring outfielder Jay Bruce back on a bargain contract.

Adrian Gonzalez, who is being paid by the Braves this season, would work as a short-term addition, though it would block prospect Dom Smith. Gonzalez still has a couple of decent seasons left in him if he’s healthy, and the Mets don’t have to pay him. GM Sandy Alderson could also surprise his fans by springing for a player like Cain or Moustakas, who could provide Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto (once he's back from a serious shoulder injury) with the protection they desperately need.

The Mets can still compete, but they’ll need to inject some power into their lineup if they want to keep pace with the Nationals.

15. Seattle Mariners

2017 Record: 78–84

General manager Jerry Dipoto missed out on the prize acquisition of Ohtani, and now he’ll try to wheel and deal his way to improving one of the biggest disappointments of 2017. “Trader Jerry” retains the strong core of Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Felix Hernandez, but Hernandez is regressing and Cruz is aging. Rightfielder Mitch Haniger provided a boost in 96 games last year and Mike Zunino offered a strong season with a 123 OPS+.

Seattle won’t compete for a playoff spot if Ariel Miranda leads the team in innings again, but Dipoto has stitched together a nice bullpen anchored by closer Edwin Diaz. If Dipoto can find reliable starting pitching either by free agency or trade (and keep James Paxton healthy), the Mariners can compete for an open wild-card spot. More likely, the Mariners are bound for another 78-to-84-win season.

14. Texas Rangers

2017 Record: 78–84

The Rangers acquired lefty starter Matt Moore from the Giants and signed Mike Minor away from the Royals to try to boost one of the AL’s worst rotations. The problem is that the West’s best bats (Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Cruz) are mostly righthanded.

Rougned Odor needs to learn how to take a pitch—he’s the rare player who could amass 30-plus homers and a 65 OPS+—if he wants to stabilize the Rangers’ lineup. Adrian Beltre is aging, so manager Jeff Banister will need big contributions from Odor and Joey Gallo to turn the Rangers back into the kind of team that won the division in 2016.

13. Minnesota Twins

2017 Record: 85–77, lost in AL Wild Card Game

The young core is there; the Twins just need a starting pitcher. Unless they are outbid by a richer team like the Cubs or Astros, the Twins should do everything within their power to sign Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta as well as a secondary starter (Alex Cobb, Jaime Garcia) to bolster their playoff chances. With the Tigers, White Sox and Royals all headed toward rebuilds, it’s imperative that the Twins spend now and try to compete.

12. Los Angeles Angels

2017 Record: 80–82

They’re the most interesting team of the offseason. General manager Billy Eppler has secured the services of Ohtani, Justin Upton, Zack Cozart and Kinsler to provide the kind of reliable support that Mike Trout hasn’t had during his time in the big leagues. It’s a boom-or-bust proposition (and the Angels could use some help on the back end of their rotation), but they’ve gone from one of the league’s least interesting teams to a genuinely intriguing one.

11. Milwaukee Brewers

2017 Record: 86–76

This is a team that can contend, but signing players like Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo isn’t going to help them achieve that goal. The Brewers have an excellent young core anchored by Orlando Arcia, Manny Pina and Domingo Santana, but they need starting pitching to help front-liners Zach Davies and Chase Anderson.

One of 2017’s most pleasant surprises is one or two pieces away, but the beginning of the offseason hasn’t been thrilling. The best move they can make? Offer Lewis Brinson and other top prospects to the Rays for Chris Archer.

10. Colorado Rockies

2017 Record: 87–75, lost in NL Wild Card Game

Unfortunately the Rockies did not add Giancarlo Stanton—what a dream that would have been—but they did sign Bryan Shaw and re-sign Jake McGee to bolster a bullpen that was a strength in 2017. Shaw is one of the game’s best against righthanded hitters and specializes in getting ground balls (he had a career high 55% ground-ball rate in 79 appearances last year). The Rockies will bank on their young starters (Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, German Marquez) to anchor the rotation. They’ll hit like they always do, but they’ll need standout years from a host of young starters if they want to make a run in 2018.

9. Boston Red Sox

2017 Record: 93–69, lost in NLDS

General manager Dave Dombrowski has remained quiet except for re-signing Mitch Moreland to a two-year deal. Boston should remain the eventual landing spot for J.D. Martinez, but agent Scott Boras is seeking a long-term contract for the 30-year-old power hitter.

Martinez’s free agency may play out like Prince Fielder’s six years ago, when the slugging first baseman waited until January to sign a nine-year, $214 million contract. The GM who signed Fielder? Dave Dombrowski.

8. St. Louis Cardinals

2017 Record: 83–79

The Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton will dominate every offseason headline, but St. Louis’s fleecing of the Marlins for Marcell Ozuna may be an even better deal. Ozuna compiled triple-crown worthy numbers last year (.312/.376/.548, 37 HR, 124 RBIs) and slides seamlessly into a Cardinals lineup that missed a reliable power bat last year. General manager John Mozeliak admitted in an interview that a trade for Manny Machado is unlikely, but St. Louis barely missed the playoffs last season without a player of Ozuna’s caliber. It’s a perfect addition, and one that could vault the Cardinals into NL pennant contention.

7. Arizona Diamondbacks

2017 Record: 93–69, lost in NLDS

To trade or not to trade? The Diamondbacks owe Zack Greinke an astonishing $138.5 million over the next four seasons, and he’s hamstringing the payroll of a team that isn’t far from competing for a pennant. The pitching-needy Rangers would be an ideal landing spot for Greinke, who had a strong 2017, but fell apart in his last four starts of the season (11.25 ERA, .417 batting average against in his last two regular-season starts; 7.27 ERA, six walks and 8 2/3 IP in his two postseason starts). Robbie Ray proved he’s a legitimate staff ace in 2017, and Patrick Corbin, Taijuan Walker and Zack Godley nicely fill out a rotation that exceeded expectations in 2017.

If the Diamondbacks can offset a chunk of salary by trading Greinke and use that money to try and bring back J.D. Martinez or acquire one more outfielder, Arizona will compete for the NL West crown in 2018.

6. Washington Nationals

2017 Record: 97–65, lost in NLDS

Bryce Harper is in the final year of his contract, and he’s playing for his fourth manager in seven years. The goal is for the Nationals to re-sign Harper, but Washington likely needs to make a splash signing to convince Harper to stay and try to bring a title to D.C. Signing Jake Arrieta to complement Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer is the best way to do that. Otherwise, Harper may have one foot out the door even if he loves new manager Dave Martinez.

5. Cleveland Indians

2017 Record: 102–60, lost in ALDS

Losing Carlos Santana to the Phillies is tough for a team that quietly relied on his offensive contributions for the last eight seasons. There’s no obvious replacement for Santana at first base—it might be Lonnie Chisenhall or occasionally Edwin Encarnacion—but it creates a problem in the lineup that lacks an immediate solution.

The Indians will enter 2018 as one of baseball’s most complete teams, but they’ll need a power surge from a player like Yandy Diaz or Abraham Almonte to help offset the loss of Santana’s consistency.

4. Chicago Cubs

2017 Record: 92–70, lost in NLCS

The lingering question for the Cubs will be whether they’ll trade Kyle Schwarber. The once-beefy outfielder has reportedly lost 17–20 pounds this offseason and arrived looking svelte at the Winter Meetings. The Cubs adore Schwarber and probably won’t ship him, but his horrendous outfield defense was on display again in the NLCS against the Dodgers, and he never remedied the offensive woes that plagued him throughout 2017.

It makes little sense to trade Schwarber when his value is at its lowest, but perhaps the Red Sox would consider parting with whatever top prospects remain in their system to acquire a reliable DH. Otherwise, the addition of Brandon Morrow from the Dodgers will help shore up a creaky bullpen, and the Cubs are the likely favorite to add Yu Darvish to patch up a rotation that is destined to lose 2015 Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

2017 record: 104–58, lost in World Series

The Dodgers’ biggest move of the 2017 offseason was getting under the luxury tax, which they were in peril of violating for the fifth consecutive season. By unloading Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir, they freed $51 million from their 2018 payroll in exchange for Matt Kemp, who is owed $43 million over the next two years. Most importantly, as our own Jon Tayler noted, it allows the Dodgers significant flexibility for next year’s loaded free agent class.

It’s unlikely that Kemp ever suits up for his former team, but Los Angeles will face a difficult time trading a 32-year-old outfielder who is one of the game’s worst defenders and most egregious hackers. If the Dodgers can’t find a landing spot for Kemp (it’s hard to envision they do), they’ll likely designate him for assignment and eat the remainder of his salary.

The Dodgers will need to restock their bullpen after losing Brandon Morrow to the Cubs, but they’re otherwise set to enter 2018.

2. New York Yankees

2017 Record: 91–71, lost in ALCS

By acquiring Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees possess the game’s two most fearsome power hitters. Stanton and Aaron Judge are under the age of 30. They’ve won the 2017 offseason; everybody else is just looking to be the runner-up.

1. Houston Astros

2017 Record: 101–61, won World Series

The champions get the top spot, even if they’ve been quiet up to this point in the offseason. The Astros might get in on the Darvish sweepstakes to bolster their strong but tenuous rotation. Perhaps they’ll pursue J.D. Martinez to become their designated hitter and re-invest in a player they once cut. It’s unclear, but the Astros will return with one of the game’s most stable nuclei and an offense that can out-slug pretty much anybody.

<p>Are the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes coming to an end? On Sunday night, a bevy of teams learned from the Japanese superstar’s representation that they are no longer in the running for his services. That includes the Yankees, who <a href="https://nypost.com/2017/11/22/scouts-are-conflicted-on-what-shohei-ohtanis-plan-should-be/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:were widely presumed to be favorites for Ohtani" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">were widely presumed to be favorites for Ohtani</a>, as well as—deep breath—the Red Sox, Mets, Blue Jays, Pirates, Twins, Diamondbacks, Brewers, Rays, Cardinals, White Sox, Nationals, Braves, and Athletics. On the other side of things are the lucky few: <a href="https://twitter.com/JeffPassan/status/937458753171009537" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:According to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">According to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan</a>, the Mariners and Giants will both meet with Ohtani in Los Angeles next week; the Padres are also on the docket, <a href="https://twitter.com/JonHeyman/status/937483245566025728" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman</a>; and the Rangers, Dodgers, Angels and Cubs are apparently still in the race (or at least not openly out of it).</p><p>As we learn which teams have dropped out or stayed alive, numerous reports have emerged that Ohtani <a href="https://apnews.com/d3e49ed0b5244e858d944f18f2231b1c/Ohtani-rules-out-Yanks,-Red-Sox,-others;-prefers-West-Coast" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:would like to sign with a West Coast team" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">would like to sign with a West Coast team</a>, and may also want to play in a smaller market. Add that to <a href="http://m.mlb.com/news/article/262688222/what-factors-matter-most-to-shohei-ohtani/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the already extensive list of possible Ohtani preferences" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the already extensive list of possible Ohtani preferences</a>—he wants to hit and pitch, play for a team with high-end facilities and for one that has experience with Japanese players and access to Japanese culture, <a href="https://twitter.com/jonmorosi/status/936600677220003841" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:but also not for a team that already has a Japanese player" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">but also not for a team that already has a Japanese player</a>—that may or may not have outsize influence on his ultimate choice. It’s safe to say that no one truly knows what Ohtani wants, save that the usual factors don’t seem to apply. After all, the Yankees can offer hundreds of millions of dollars in the future as well as a place on a star-studded roster built to win this year and down the road in the biggest media market in the league, and he immediately rejected them.</p><p>Regardless, Sunday’s flurry of activity considerably narrowed the list of contenders. Aside from those already eliminated, a number of others are either longshots—Baltimore, Cincinnati, Miami and Philadelphia (a city that Ohtani <a href="http://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/12/shoehi-ohtani-phillies-ouch" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:apparently only wants to visit" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">apparently only wants to visit</a>)—or didn’t publicly express interest, including Kansas City, Colorado and Detroit. That leaves the Mariners, Giants, Padres, Rangers, Dodgers, Angels and Cubs as meeting his parameters or still in the chase.</p><p>Which of those teams is likely in the lead? <a href="https://twitter.com/BNightengale/status/937482516331618304" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>USA Today</em>’s Bob Nightengale reports</a> that the Mariners are considered by other general managers to be the favorite. That makes sense: Seattle is geographically right, a (relatively) small market, can offer him time at designated hitter or in the outfield alongside a rotation spot, and is well acquainted with Japanese players, having brought future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki state-side back in 2001.</p><p>He also fits into the Mariners roster plans. Seattle’s rotation was a total mess last season thanks to injury: Ariel Miranda led the team in innings last season despite a 5.12 ERA. The Mariners have an ace in James Paxton, but he was limited to 136 frames due to persistent and worrisome arm troubles, and ace Felix Hernandez managed only 86 2/3 innings while getting tagged for a 4.36 ERA. If Ohtani is serious about being a two-way player, then the Mariners could use the help. Nelson Cruz has the DH spot on lockdown, but he turns 37 in July. In the outfield corners, meanwhile, the Mariners are rolling with light-hitting Ben Gamel in left and Mitch Haniger in right; the latter hit well last year, posting a 146 OPS+, but played only 96 games due to injury.</p><p>All of that should create plenty of available playing time for Ohtani, perhaps with the Mariners giving him two to three starts a week spread out in the outfield and at DH alongside his starts on the mound. Other teams, though, can more easily slot him in. The Giants, for example, desperately need help in the outfield—the team managed a putrid .685 OPS among all three spots there last year—and can make Ohtani a regular in either corner while still allowing him starts in the rotation. San Diego, too, can try Ohtani in left to form a formidable young outfield with him, Manuel Margot in center and top prospect Hunter Renfroe in right, and could desperately use his arm in a bottom-of-the-barrel rotation devoid of upside (unless you’re fond of staff ace Clayton Richard).</p><p>Neither the Giants nor Padres, though, offer Ohtani much in the way of contention. San Francisco is coming off a rough 98-loss season that exposed holes up and down the roster that even Ohtani can’t plug by himself. (That calculus does change somewhat if the Giants can finish a trade for NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/12/03/giancarlo-stanton-trade-rumors-marlins-cardinals-giants-framework-set" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:as they’re reportedly close to doing" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">as they’re reportedly close to doing</a>.) San Diego, meanwhile, will be entering yet another year of a perpetual rebuild that hasn’t yielded much in the way of major league talent or success yet. If general manager A.J. Preller can sell Ohtani on the Padres’ potential after 273 losses over three seasons, then he’s clearly some kind of wizard.</p><p>Contention is far more in range for the six other teams still left, with the Dodgers, Astros and Cubs atop that list. Los Angeles has a ton of outfielders to find playing time for beyond Ohtani and more starting pitchers than most, but talent wins out in the end. Plus, the Dodgers can offer him the prospect of the most money down the road and a roster that was one win away from a championship while Chicago can flash its 2016 hardware and enviable roster as well. But neither the Dodgers nor Cubs (nor the Angels, for that matter) play in anything that could remotely be described as a small market.</p><p>If you want a true upset special, it’s Texas. Like the Mariners, the Rangers can offer Ohtani time in the rotation (where he’d instantly become the team’s ace) and in the outfield or at DH. Arlington is a smaller market, and crucially, the Rangers have experience with Japanese superstars, having been the home of Yu Darvish (himself a former member of Ohtani’s NPB team) for five-plus seasons. Texas also has the most money to offer right now, at $3.53 million, and while it’s clear that cash doesn’t rule everything around Shohei, that has to count for something.</p><p>Regardless, you can make a case for any of the teams left standing as being a good fit. All have flaws, all have strengths, but ultimately, it’s hard to say what matters most to Ohtani. One thing is for certain, though: We’re thankfully that much closer to MLB adding a truly dynamic talent.</p>
Where Will Shohei Ohtani Sign? The West Coast Appears to be the Safest Bet

Are the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes coming to an end? On Sunday night, a bevy of teams learned from the Japanese superstar’s representation that they are no longer in the running for his services. That includes the Yankees, who were widely presumed to be favorites for Ohtani, as well as—deep breath—the Red Sox, Mets, Blue Jays, Pirates, Twins, Diamondbacks, Brewers, Rays, Cardinals, White Sox, Nationals, Braves, and Athletics. On the other side of things are the lucky few: According to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, the Mariners and Giants will both meet with Ohtani in Los Angeles next week; the Padres are also on the docket, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman; and the Rangers, Dodgers, Angels and Cubs are apparently still in the race (or at least not openly out of it).

As we learn which teams have dropped out or stayed alive, numerous reports have emerged that Ohtani would like to sign with a West Coast team, and may also want to play in a smaller market. Add that to the already extensive list of possible Ohtani preferences—he wants to hit and pitch, play for a team with high-end facilities and for one that has experience with Japanese players and access to Japanese culture, but also not for a team that already has a Japanese player—that may or may not have outsize influence on his ultimate choice. It’s safe to say that no one truly knows what Ohtani wants, save that the usual factors don’t seem to apply. After all, the Yankees can offer hundreds of millions of dollars in the future as well as a place on a star-studded roster built to win this year and down the road in the biggest media market in the league, and he immediately rejected them.

Regardless, Sunday’s flurry of activity considerably narrowed the list of contenders. Aside from those already eliminated, a number of others are either longshots—Baltimore, Cincinnati, Miami and Philadelphia (a city that Ohtani apparently only wants to visit)—or didn’t publicly express interest, including Kansas City, Colorado and Detroit. That leaves the Mariners, Giants, Padres, Rangers, Dodgers, Angels and Cubs as meeting his parameters or still in the chase.

Which of those teams is likely in the lead? USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners are considered by other general managers to be the favorite. That makes sense: Seattle is geographically right, a (relatively) small market, can offer him time at designated hitter or in the outfield alongside a rotation spot, and is well acquainted with Japanese players, having brought future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki state-side back in 2001.

He also fits into the Mariners roster plans. Seattle’s rotation was a total mess last season thanks to injury: Ariel Miranda led the team in innings last season despite a 5.12 ERA. The Mariners have an ace in James Paxton, but he was limited to 136 frames due to persistent and worrisome arm troubles, and ace Felix Hernandez managed only 86 2/3 innings while getting tagged for a 4.36 ERA. If Ohtani is serious about being a two-way player, then the Mariners could use the help. Nelson Cruz has the DH spot on lockdown, but he turns 37 in July. In the outfield corners, meanwhile, the Mariners are rolling with light-hitting Ben Gamel in left and Mitch Haniger in right; the latter hit well last year, posting a 146 OPS+, but played only 96 games due to injury.

All of that should create plenty of available playing time for Ohtani, perhaps with the Mariners giving him two to three starts a week spread out in the outfield and at DH alongside his starts on the mound. Other teams, though, can more easily slot him in. The Giants, for example, desperately need help in the outfield—the team managed a putrid .685 OPS among all three spots there last year—and can make Ohtani a regular in either corner while still allowing him starts in the rotation. San Diego, too, can try Ohtani in left to form a formidable young outfield with him, Manuel Margot in center and top prospect Hunter Renfroe in right, and could desperately use his arm in a bottom-of-the-barrel rotation devoid of upside (unless you’re fond of staff ace Clayton Richard).

Neither the Giants nor Padres, though, offer Ohtani much in the way of contention. San Francisco is coming off a rough 98-loss season that exposed holes up and down the roster that even Ohtani can’t plug by himself. (That calculus does change somewhat if the Giants can finish a trade for NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, as they’re reportedly close to doing.) San Diego, meanwhile, will be entering yet another year of a perpetual rebuild that hasn’t yielded much in the way of major league talent or success yet. If general manager A.J. Preller can sell Ohtani on the Padres’ potential after 273 losses over three seasons, then he’s clearly some kind of wizard.

Contention is far more in range for the six other teams still left, with the Dodgers, Astros and Cubs atop that list. Los Angeles has a ton of outfielders to find playing time for beyond Ohtani and more starting pitchers than most, but talent wins out in the end. Plus, the Dodgers can offer him the prospect of the most money down the road and a roster that was one win away from a championship while Chicago can flash its 2016 hardware and enviable roster as well. But neither the Dodgers nor Cubs (nor the Angels, for that matter) play in anything that could remotely be described as a small market.

If you want a true upset special, it’s Texas. Like the Mariners, the Rangers can offer Ohtani time in the rotation (where he’d instantly become the team’s ace) and in the outfield or at DH. Arlington is a smaller market, and crucially, the Rangers have experience with Japanese superstars, having been the home of Yu Darvish (himself a former member of Ohtani’s NPB team) for five-plus seasons. Texas also has the most money to offer right now, at $3.53 million, and while it’s clear that cash doesn’t rule everything around Shohei, that has to count for something.

Regardless, you can make a case for any of the teams left standing as being a good fit. All have flaws, all have strengths, but ultimately, it’s hard to say what matters most to Ohtani. One thing is for certain, though: We’re thankfully that much closer to MLB adding a truly dynamic talent.

Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais speaks with reporters during a baseball news conference Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, in Seattle. The team finished their season at 78-84, third place in American League West. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Mariners to handle Felix Hernandez differently going forward
Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais speaks with reporters during a baseball news conference Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, in Seattle. The team finished their season at 78-84, third place in American League West. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Felix Hernandez battled a shoulder injury for most of 2017 and the Mariners may handle him more carefully next season to keep him healthy.
Mariners may manage Felix Hernandez more carefully in 2018
Felix Hernandez battled a shoulder injury for most of 2017 and the Mariners may handle him more carefully next season to keep him healthy.
<p>My pre-season MLB over/under picks—<a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/03/06/mlb-over-under-team-wins" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:published in early March" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">published in early March</a>, in which I predicted which of the league’s 30 teams would exceed Vegas’s projected wins total and which would fall short—came with a disclaimer: “Of course, you probably shouldn’t act on any of them.”</p><p>Sorry about that.</p><p>As it turned out, my picks went 21-9 this year. That means that if you had wagered $100 on each, and factor in the oddsmaker’s published vigs (which mean that you drop the whole bet if you lose but take home between $71.46 and $100 if you win), you’d currently be $906.59 richer.</p><p>There’s more.</p><p>When I tweeted out the story, I included my six “best bets.” </p><p>All six of them hit. Had you put down $100 more on a six-team parlay, you’d have won an additional $4,468.07.</p><p>That’s a total profit of $5,374.66, which means that you could now buy yourself <a href="https://www.truecar.com/used-cars-for-sale/listing/4M2EU47E58UJ06882/2008-mercury-mountaineer/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:this sweet 2008 Mercury Mountaineer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">this sweet 2008 Mercury Mountaineer</a>. Just 148,961 miles on that baby.</p><p>Of course, nobody did this, including me. (If you did – ping me at @BenReiter). Still, the lesson? Gambling is easy, and you can never lose.</p><p>Here’s when I went right, and where I went wrong.</p><h3><strong>THE GOOD:</strong></h3><h3><strong>Arizona Diamondbacks</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 78.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>93</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The only good part of a nightmare season like the one the D-Backs had in &#39;16? You have to wake up eventually. Morning could arrive in the form of a healthy A.J. Pollock and a rebounding Zack Greinke, superstars as recently as 2015 who could account for 10 extra wins.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Pollock stayed relative healthy (112 games played) and Greinke improved (4.37 ERA to 3.20) – but so did the rest of a pitching staff that allowed an incredible 231 fewer runs than it did last year.</p><h3><strong>Atlanta Braves</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 71.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>72</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The rebuilding Braves acquired several short-term veterans (Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Brandon Phillips) to help them avoid outright putridity in their new ballpark. The real reason they&#39;ll do it is a lineup that rapidly improved last season, from 30th—dead last—in runs before the All-Star Game to sixth after it.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The offense, led by Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte, did get better – to the tune of a 75-run boost. That was just enough to barely hit the over with a final day win, on the heels of a six-game losing streak.</p><h3><strong>Baltimore Orioles</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 84.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins:</strong> 75</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Maybe Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman can become co-aces, but the Orioles still have a rotation that will include Wade Miley (5.37 ERA in &#39;16) and Ubaldo Jimenez (5.44). They&#39;ll hit a ton of homers, but it&#39;s hard to win 85 games with a staff like that.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Their 232 homers were the league’s fifth-most – but not nearly enough to counterbalance a starting staff that was indeed the game’s worst, with a 5.74 ERA. As anticipated, no starter other than Bundy or Gausman had an ERA under 5.00.</p><h3><strong>Boston Red Sox</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 91.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>93</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>David Ortiz is gone, but let&#39;s not overreact. This is a club that had an AL-best +184 run differential and added possibly the best starter in the league, Chris Sale. The Sox also get a full season from the game&#39;s No. 1 prospect, Andrew Benintendi. Doesn&#39;t sound as if they&#39;ll win less.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They missed Big Papi, and still do, as their run differential declined to +117 and they slugged an AL-low 168 bombs. Sale, though, was at least the league’s <em>second-</em>best starter, leading a staff that was bettered in the AL by only the Indians’.</p><h3><strong>Chicago Cubs</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 96.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>92</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Winning 97 games is hard. Over the past decade, just 1.7 clubs per year have done it. The champs are a lock to run away with the NL Central, but they&#39;ll rely on three starters in their 30s (Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Jon Lester), any or all of whom could begin to regress.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Well, four teams won 97 this year, but the Cubs weren’t one of them. Arrieta, Lackey and Lester, perhaps feeling their age and last October’s extra workload, saw their combined ERA jump from 2.95 to 4.16.</p><h3><strong>Chicago White Sox</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 71.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>67</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Adam Eaton and Chris Sale have already been traded from the rebuilding South Siders. Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Jose Quintana and David Robertson could soon join them. The future&#39;s bright, but for now things will get worse as the Sox wait for their newly acquired prospects to mature.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Of the players mentioned, only Abreu remained with the Sox until the season’s end, leading to an Under-clinching 30-45 second half. But, damn, those prospects.</p><h3><strong>Cincinnati Reds</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 73.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>68</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>There is little reason to expect much improvement here. Joey Votto can&#39;t get better—his league-dominating second-half OPS last season was 1.158—but he can&#39;t win by himself, and a bullpen that gave up a record-smashing 103 homers added only Drew Storen.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Votto (1.032 OPS) was ridiculous, and he actually got some help from Zack Cozart, Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Eugenio Suarez, all of whom slugged 24+ home runs. But the pitching (NL-worst 5.19 ERA) was execrable in all facets.</p><h3><strong>Cleveland Indians</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 93.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins:</strong> 102</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>They won the second-most games in the AL last season despite losing their best hitter (Michael Brantley) for nearly all of it and two of their best pitchers (Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar) by its end. Can they win as many with those three healthy and a new slugger in Edwin Encarnacion? Seems likely.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>In fact, they should have won even more games than they did – 107, based on their MLB-best +254 run differential. This was always free money.</p><h3><strong>Colorado Rockies</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 80.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>87</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Rockies haven&#39;t surpassed 80 wins since 2010. The offense is as potent as ever, but it&#39;s a newly promising rotation fronted by Jon Gray—and supported by a deep bullpen that added Greg Holland and Mike Dunn—that could have them flirting with .500.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They actually scored slightly less this year – 824 runs, versus 845 last year. But Gray (3.67 ERA) did lead a staff that improved enough (4.91 ERA to 4.50) to account for a 12-win bump.</p><h3><strong>Detroit Tigers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 84.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>64</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Tigers look like contenders, with a power-packed lineup and a rotation led by a rejuvenated Justin Verlander and Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer. But they have just one top-100 prospect. It&#39;s tough to predict that nothing will go wrong for an aging club, making the under the safe pick.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>A ton went wrong—including terrible declines by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Jordan Zimmermann—and Verlander won’t be around for the rebuild that is now in full swing.</p><h3><strong>Houston Astros</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 87.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>101</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The offense should be in the top five, but the front office&#39;s ability to add a top-end starter is what could push the club into the mid-90s. If it&#39;s not a trade for someone like Chris Archer, Sonny Gray or Jose Quintana, it&#39;ll be the promotion of fireballing prospect Francis Martes.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>It was actually a trade for Justin Verlander – but by then the Astros were already 80-53, with the Over a lock. An offense that turned out to be not top five, but top <em>one </em>(an MLB-best 892 runs scored) will do that for you.</p><h3><strong>Kansas City Royals</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 81.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>80</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The unthinkable death of Yordano Ventura in a January car accident deprived a thin rotation of its ace. A slow start could snowball and force GM Dayton Moore to trade away key players before their free agency, including Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They started slow—10-20—but Moore, not wanting to prematurely end the winning era he’d built, didn’t trade anyone. Maybe he should have, as a mediocre finish followed and the club now faces an uncertain future.</p><h3><strong>Los Angeles Dodgers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 92.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>104</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>There&#39;s a reason Baseball Prospectus&#39; and Fan Graphs&#39; projection models have L.A. at, respectively, 98 and 94 wins. Despite having no starter top 176 innings in 2016 and losing Clayton Kershaw for more than two months, they still comfortably took the NL West crown. The Dodgers are loaded.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They <em>again</em> had no starter top 176 innings. Kershaw <em>again</em> hit the DL, albeit only for just over a month this time. They still won the most games since the `04 Cardinals. Plus, Cody Bellinger. Loaded indeed.</p><h3><strong>Minnesota Twins</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 70.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>85</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>They dropped 24 wins from 2015 to &#39;16, so they only have to pick up half of those to hit the over. There&#39;s simply too much young talent in Minnesota—including Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano—for them to continue to be this bad.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The young players mentioned were all great: Berrios went 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA; Sano hit 28 homers; Buxton was the club’s second-ranked WAR leader (3.5). It added up to one of the odder three-season swings in baseball history, from 83 wins to 59 to 84.</p><h3><strong>Oakland A’s</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 66.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>75</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The A&#39;s are stuck in a purgatory between contending and rebuilding. But will they have their worst season in two decades? Unless Billy Beane goes into full teardown mode, a healthy Sonny Gray and a decent bullpen (buoyed by Santiago Casilla) makes that improbable.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Gray was good – 11-6 with a 3.43 ERA before Beane traded him to the Yankees. What really allowed them to avoid putridity was their surprising power: they quietly hit 233 homers this year, the fourth most in baseball.</p><h3><strong>Philadelphia Phillies</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 72.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>66</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Phillies lucked into their 71 wins last year: Their majors-worst –186 run differential suggests they should have won only 62 games. After a modest off-season (additions included Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders), improvement for the future-focused club is unlikely.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>None of those additions did much—aside from Kendrick, who was traded to Washington—and their luck turned. They won four fewer games than they should have, based on their -92 run differential, though even average fortune wouldn’t have resulted in an Over.</p><h3><strong>Pittsburgh Pirates</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>75</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>A 20-game drop from 2015 hinged on two factors: Ace Gerrit Cole got hurt, and their best hitter, Andrew McCutchen, declined dramatically. Cole&#39;s elbow might hold up, but McCutchen is no lock to return to his MVP days. An eight-win bounce appears too high.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>While McCutchen was good again – his OPS spiked from .766 to .848 – the club was otherwise punchless, second to last with 151 homers. And while Cole topped 200 innings, he did so while pitching to a career-worst 4.26 ERA.</p><h3><strong>St. Louis Cardinals</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 88.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>83</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>A rotation that had a middling 4.33 ERA last year was supposed to be bolstered by the flamethrowing Alex Reyes, <em>Baseball America</em>&#39;s No. 4 overall prospect. But the 22-year-old tore his UCL in February, banishing any thought that St. Louis might challenge the Cubs.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The rotation turned out to be <em>better</em>, with a ninth-ranked 4.11 ERA, thanks largely to Lance Lynn (3.43 ERA) and Carlos Martinez (3.64). But another middling season from the offense resulted in a second straight mediocre finish.</p><h3><strong>Tampa Bay Rays</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 75.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>80</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Rays are perennially underfunded. In 2016 they were unlucky, too. Normal fortune, plus one of the AL&#39;s best rotations and a couple of advanced pitching prospects (Jose De Leon and Brent Honeywell) make them the most attractive &quot;over&quot; pick on this list.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Their luck was appropriate, as one of four teams (along with the Braves, Red Sox and Rockies) whose Pythagorean record perfectly matched their real one. While the rotation got just 2.2 innings out of DeLeon and Honeywell, it was still the AL’s fifth best (4.12 ERA).</p><h3><strong>Toronto Blue Jays</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>76</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Will Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce adequately replace Edwin Encarnacion, the departed AL RBI king? Probably not. Otherwise, this is now an aging club, with 15 members of its likely 25-man roster older than 31. It&#39;s not a formula for getting better.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Morales and Pearce barely combined to outproduce Encarnacion (41 homers and 122 RBIs, versus 38 and 107), but there are, you know, two of them. That creaky roster spent 1,747 days on the DL, third most in the majors.</p><h3><strong>Washington Nationals</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 90.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>97</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>For half a decade the Nationals have alternated 95+ win seasons with seasons of 86 wins or fewer. This is supposed to be the latter, but new import Adam Eaton, electric young shortstop Trea Turner and the return after a down year of a 10-WAR Bryce Harper will stop the oscillating.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>It stopped, even though Eaton tore his ACL in April, Turner was out two months with a broken wrist and Harper, who himself missed more than 50 games, ended up with a 4.7 WAR. A sixth-ranked offense and third-ranked rotation helped them overcome all that.</p><h3><strong>THE BAD:</strong></h3><h3><strong>Los Angeles Angels</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 76.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>80</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Mike Trout, with his annual 10 WAR, will never let the Angels be terrible. But two starters (Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano) lost to torn UCLs and a No. 1—Garrett Richards—trying to come back from one will mean an eighth straight season without a playoff win.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Trout was incredible, with a 6.8 WAR—the majors’ sixth best—in just 113 games, the others lost to a torn thumb. Heaney and Richards made only 11 starts. I don’t know. Andrelton Simmons was great? I guess, just, Trout.</p><h3><strong>Miami Marlins</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 76.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>77</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The September boating death of Jose Fernandez was devastating in so many ways, the least of which is to the Marlins&#39; on-field fortunes. They still have one of the NL&#39;s best outfields, but a rotation topped by Wei-Yin Chen and Edinson Volquez won&#39;t be enough.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The rotation was indeed awful, with a 5.12 ERA. The outfield was even better than expected, as Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich slugged 114 homers and drove in 337 runs – just enough to cost me a 22nd win.</p><h3><strong>Milwaukee Brewers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 71.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>86</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>As owner Mark Attanasio told MLB.com in January, &quot;It is essential that we do this rebuild correctly, and I think if we get too hung up on wins and losses, we&#39;re maybe not doing it [right].&quot; In other words, while Milwaukee&#39;s farm system is excellent, its major league roster is lacking.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>I definitely didn’t anticipate 30+ homers from Domingo Santana, Travis Shaw and Eric Thames, nor sub-3.90 ERAs from Chase Anderson, Zach Davies and Jimmy Nelson. David Stearns is a good G.M.</p><h3><strong>New York Mets</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 90.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>70</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Bartolo Colon is gone—!—but the Mets made the playoffs in 2016 despite a ridiculous run of injuries: Only one regular, Curtis Granderson, played more than 142 games, and they eventually lost 80% of their projected rotation. Even average health should translate into at least 95 wins.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>It can always get worse, when you’re the Mets.</p><h3><strong>New York Yankees</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 83.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>91</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>GM Brian Cashman&#39;s 2016 trade-deadline maneuverings mean the Yankees of 2019 will be a force. But what about in the interim? Avoiding the club&#39;s first losing season since 1992 seems a reasonable goal. A suspect rotation behind Masahiro Tanaka suggests if they achieve it, it won&#39;t be by much.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>I didn’t imagine that Luis Severino would vault into becoming a Cy Young contender, nor that CC Sabathia would return to being a borderline one. And, AARON JUDGE.</p><h3><strong>San Diego Padres</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 64.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>71</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>They&#39;ve got one star-level hitter left, Wil Myers, and their new veteran rotation leader, Jered Weaver, can no longer throw even 88 miles per hour. The farm system is fertile, but it won&#39;t mature in time to keep the Padres from becoming the majors&#39; only 100-game losers.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Weaver was horrible (he retired in August with a 7.44 ERA), and the Padres were horrible – much more horrible than their record. Their -212 run differential should, mathematically, have resulted in 13 extra losses. I guess losing 100 games is hard.</p><h3><strong>San Francisco Giants</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 87.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>64</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Giants have won 88, 84 and 87 games over the last three years. They have virtually all of last year&#39;s key pieces and seem a lock to finish in that range again. A full season of Matt Moore and a solid new closer in Mark Melancon should be worth an extra win over last year.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>A motor bike accident for Madison Bumgarner. Simultaneous regressions from Melancon and Moore, as well as Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Not a single hitter among the league’s top 126 in homers. Et cetera.</p><h3><strong>Seattle Mariners</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>78</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>GM Jerry Dipoto&#39;s hyperactive winter brought 26 new faces to Seattle&#39;s spring camp. The nucleus, though, remains the same—and it&#39;s a good one, as the club ranked sixth in runs scored and eighth in ERA in 2016. Dipoto&#39;s fiddling should, at worst, ensure a repeat performance.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>James Paxton: 24 starts. Felix Hernandez: 16 starts. Hisashi Iwakuma: six starts. Ariel Miranda: 29 starts. That’s what happened.</p><h3><strong>Texas Rangers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>78</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Yes, the Rangers played over their heads last year; they only had a +8 run differential. But a 10-win decline seems too precipitous for an offense loaded with talent young (Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor) and old (Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli) and a rotation topped by Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Their run differential was just 25 runs worse, but they won 17 fewer games. Ignore the luck gods at your peril.</p>
Over/Under: Which Teams Exceeded or Fell Short of Their Expectations?

My pre-season MLB over/under picks—published in early March, in which I predicted which of the league’s 30 teams would exceed Vegas’s projected wins total and which would fall short—came with a disclaimer: “Of course, you probably shouldn’t act on any of them.”

Sorry about that.

As it turned out, my picks went 21-9 this year. That means that if you had wagered $100 on each, and factor in the oddsmaker’s published vigs (which mean that you drop the whole bet if you lose but take home between $71.46 and $100 if you win), you’d currently be $906.59 richer.

There’s more.

When I tweeted out the story, I included my six “best bets.”

All six of them hit. Had you put down $100 more on a six-team parlay, you’d have won an additional $4,468.07.

That’s a total profit of $5,374.66, which means that you could now buy yourself this sweet 2008 Mercury Mountaineer. Just 148,961 miles on that baby.

Of course, nobody did this, including me. (If you did – ping me at @BenReiter). Still, the lesson? Gambling is easy, and you can never lose.

Here’s when I went right, and where I went wrong.

THE GOOD:

Arizona Diamondbacks

Prediction: OVER 78.5

2017 Wins: 93

We said then: The only good part of a nightmare season like the one the D-Backs had in '16? You have to wake up eventually. Morning could arrive in the form of a healthy A.J. Pollock and a rebounding Zack Greinke, superstars as recently as 2015 who could account for 10 extra wins.

What happened: Pollock stayed relative healthy (112 games played) and Greinke improved (4.37 ERA to 3.20) – but so did the rest of a pitching staff that allowed an incredible 231 fewer runs than it did last year.

Atlanta Braves

Prediction: OVER 71.5

2017 Wins: 72

We said then: The rebuilding Braves acquired several short-term veterans (Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Brandon Phillips) to help them avoid outright putridity in their new ballpark. The real reason they'll do it is a lineup that rapidly improved last season, from 30th—dead last—in runs before the All-Star Game to sixth after it.

What happened: The offense, led by Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte, did get better – to the tune of a 75-run boost. That was just enough to barely hit the over with a final day win, on the heels of a six-game losing streak.

Baltimore Orioles

Prediction: UNDER 84.5

2017 Wins: 75

We said then: Maybe Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman can become co-aces, but the Orioles still have a rotation that will include Wade Miley (5.37 ERA in '16) and Ubaldo Jimenez (5.44). They'll hit a ton of homers, but it's hard to win 85 games with a staff like that.

What happened: Their 232 homers were the league’s fifth-most – but not nearly enough to counterbalance a starting staff that was indeed the game’s worst, with a 5.74 ERA. As anticipated, no starter other than Bundy or Gausman had an ERA under 5.00.

Boston Red Sox

Prediction: OVER 91.5

2017 Wins: 93

We said then: David Ortiz is gone, but let's not overreact. This is a club that had an AL-best +184 run differential and added possibly the best starter in the league, Chris Sale. The Sox also get a full season from the game's No. 1 prospect, Andrew Benintendi. Doesn't sound as if they'll win less.

What happened: They missed Big Papi, and still do, as their run differential declined to +117 and they slugged an AL-low 168 bombs. Sale, though, was at least the league’s second-best starter, leading a staff that was bettered in the AL by only the Indians’.

Chicago Cubs

Prediction: UNDER 96.5

2017 Wins: 92

We said then: Winning 97 games is hard. Over the past decade, just 1.7 clubs per year have done it. The champs are a lock to run away with the NL Central, but they'll rely on three starters in their 30s (Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Jon Lester), any or all of whom could begin to regress.

What happened: Well, four teams won 97 this year, but the Cubs weren’t one of them. Arrieta, Lackey and Lester, perhaps feeling their age and last October’s extra workload, saw their combined ERA jump from 2.95 to 4.16.

Chicago White Sox

Prediction: UNDER 71.5

2017 Wins: 67

We said then: Adam Eaton and Chris Sale have already been traded from the rebuilding South Siders. Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Jose Quintana and David Robertson could soon join them. The future's bright, but for now things will get worse as the Sox wait for their newly acquired prospects to mature.

What happened: Of the players mentioned, only Abreu remained with the Sox until the season’s end, leading to an Under-clinching 30-45 second half. But, damn, those prospects.

Cincinnati Reds

Prediction: UNDER 73.5

2017 Wins: 68

We said then: There is little reason to expect much improvement here. Joey Votto can't get better—his league-dominating second-half OPS last season was 1.158—but he can't win by himself, and a bullpen that gave up a record-smashing 103 homers added only Drew Storen.

What happened: Votto (1.032 OPS) was ridiculous, and he actually got some help from Zack Cozart, Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Eugenio Suarez, all of whom slugged 24+ home runs. But the pitching (NL-worst 5.19 ERA) was execrable in all facets.

Cleveland Indians

Prediction: OVER 93.5

2017 Wins: 102

We said then: They won the second-most games in the AL last season despite losing their best hitter (Michael Brantley) for nearly all of it and two of their best pitchers (Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar) by its end. Can they win as many with those three healthy and a new slugger in Edwin Encarnacion? Seems likely.

What happened: In fact, they should have won even more games than they did – 107, based on their MLB-best +254 run differential. This was always free money.

Colorado Rockies

Prediction: OVER 80.5

2017 Wins: 87

We said then: The Rockies haven't surpassed 80 wins since 2010. The offense is as potent as ever, but it's a newly promising rotation fronted by Jon Gray—and supported by a deep bullpen that added Greg Holland and Mike Dunn—that could have them flirting with .500.

What happened: They actually scored slightly less this year – 824 runs, versus 845 last year. But Gray (3.67 ERA) did lead a staff that improved enough (4.91 ERA to 4.50) to account for a 12-win bump.

Detroit Tigers

Prediction: UNDER 84.5

2017 Wins: 64

We said then: The Tigers look like contenders, with a power-packed lineup and a rotation led by a rejuvenated Justin Verlander and Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer. But they have just one top-100 prospect. It's tough to predict that nothing will go wrong for an aging club, making the under the safe pick.

What happened: A ton went wrong—including terrible declines by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Jordan Zimmermann—and Verlander won’t be around for the rebuild that is now in full swing.

Houston Astros

Prediction: OVER 87.5

2017 Wins: 101

We said then: The offense should be in the top five, but the front office's ability to add a top-end starter is what could push the club into the mid-90s. If it's not a trade for someone like Chris Archer, Sonny Gray or Jose Quintana, it'll be the promotion of fireballing prospect Francis Martes.

What happened: It was actually a trade for Justin Verlander – but by then the Astros were already 80-53, with the Over a lock. An offense that turned out to be not top five, but top one (an MLB-best 892 runs scored) will do that for you.

Kansas City Royals

Prediction: UNDER 81.5

2017 Wins: 80

We said then: The unthinkable death of Yordano Ventura in a January car accident deprived a thin rotation of its ace. A slow start could snowball and force GM Dayton Moore to trade away key players before their free agency, including Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.

What happened: They started slow—10-20—but Moore, not wanting to prematurely end the winning era he’d built, didn’t trade anyone. Maybe he should have, as a mediocre finish followed and the club now faces an uncertain future.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Prediction: OVER 92.5

2017 Wins: 104

We said then: There's a reason Baseball Prospectus' and Fan Graphs' projection models have L.A. at, respectively, 98 and 94 wins. Despite having no starter top 176 innings in 2016 and losing Clayton Kershaw for more than two months, they still comfortably took the NL West crown. The Dodgers are loaded.

What happened: They again had no starter top 176 innings. Kershaw again hit the DL, albeit only for just over a month this time. They still won the most games since the `04 Cardinals. Plus, Cody Bellinger. Loaded indeed.

Minnesota Twins

Prediction: OVER 70.5

2017 Wins: 85

We said then: They dropped 24 wins from 2015 to '16, so they only have to pick up half of those to hit the over. There's simply too much young talent in Minnesota—including Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano—for them to continue to be this bad.

What happened: The young players mentioned were all great: Berrios went 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA; Sano hit 28 homers; Buxton was the club’s second-ranked WAR leader (3.5). It added up to one of the odder three-season swings in baseball history, from 83 wins to 59 to 84.

Oakland A’s

Prediction: OVER 66.5

2017 Wins: 75

We said then: The A's are stuck in a purgatory between contending and rebuilding. But will they have their worst season in two decades? Unless Billy Beane goes into full teardown mode, a healthy Sonny Gray and a decent bullpen (buoyed by Santiago Casilla) makes that improbable.

What happened: Gray was good – 11-6 with a 3.43 ERA before Beane traded him to the Yankees. What really allowed them to avoid putridity was their surprising power: they quietly hit 233 homers this year, the fourth most in baseball.

Philadelphia Phillies

Prediction: UNDER 72.5

2017 Wins: 66

We said then: The Phillies lucked into their 71 wins last year: Their majors-worst –186 run differential suggests they should have won only 62 games. After a modest off-season (additions included Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders), improvement for the future-focused club is unlikely.

What happened: None of those additions did much—aside from Kendrick, who was traded to Washington—and their luck turned. They won four fewer games than they should have, based on their -92 run differential, though even average fortune wouldn’t have resulted in an Over.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Prediction: UNDER 85.5

2017 Wins: 75

We said then: A 20-game drop from 2015 hinged on two factors: Ace Gerrit Cole got hurt, and their best hitter, Andrew McCutchen, declined dramatically. Cole's elbow might hold up, but McCutchen is no lock to return to his MVP days. An eight-win bounce appears too high.

What happened: While McCutchen was good again – his OPS spiked from .766 to .848 – the club was otherwise punchless, second to last with 151 homers. And while Cole topped 200 innings, he did so while pitching to a career-worst 4.26 ERA.

St. Louis Cardinals

Prediction: UNDER 88.5

2017 Wins: 83

We said then: A rotation that had a middling 4.33 ERA last year was supposed to be bolstered by the flamethrowing Alex Reyes, Baseball America's No. 4 overall prospect. But the 22-year-old tore his UCL in February, banishing any thought that St. Louis might challenge the Cubs.

What happened: The rotation turned out to be better, with a ninth-ranked 4.11 ERA, thanks largely to Lance Lynn (3.43 ERA) and Carlos Martinez (3.64). But another middling season from the offense resulted in a second straight mediocre finish.

Tampa Bay Rays

Prediction: OVER 75.5

2017 Wins: 80

We said then: The Rays are perennially underfunded. In 2016 they were unlucky, too. Normal fortune, plus one of the AL's best rotations and a couple of advanced pitching prospects (Jose De Leon and Brent Honeywell) make them the most attractive "over" pick on this list.

What happened: Their luck was appropriate, as one of four teams (along with the Braves, Red Sox and Rockies) whose Pythagorean record perfectly matched their real one. While the rotation got just 2.2 innings out of DeLeon and Honeywell, it was still the AL’s fifth best (4.12 ERA).

Toronto Blue Jays

Prediction: UNDER 85.5

2017 Wins: 76

We said then: Will Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce adequately replace Edwin Encarnacion, the departed AL RBI king? Probably not. Otherwise, this is now an aging club, with 15 members of its likely 25-man roster older than 31. It's not a formula for getting better.

What happened: Morales and Pearce barely combined to outproduce Encarnacion (41 homers and 122 RBIs, versus 38 and 107), but there are, you know, two of them. That creaky roster spent 1,747 days on the DL, third most in the majors.

Washington Nationals

Prediction: OVER 90.5

2017 Wins: 97

We said then: For half a decade the Nationals have alternated 95+ win seasons with seasons of 86 wins or fewer. This is supposed to be the latter, but new import Adam Eaton, electric young shortstop Trea Turner and the return after a down year of a 10-WAR Bryce Harper will stop the oscillating.

What happened: It stopped, even though Eaton tore his ACL in April, Turner was out two months with a broken wrist and Harper, who himself missed more than 50 games, ended up with a 4.7 WAR. A sixth-ranked offense and third-ranked rotation helped them overcome all that.

THE BAD:

Los Angeles Angels

Prediction: UNDER 76.5

2017 Wins: 80

We said then: Mike Trout, with his annual 10 WAR, will never let the Angels be terrible. But two starters (Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano) lost to torn UCLs and a No. 1—Garrett Richards—trying to come back from one will mean an eighth straight season without a playoff win.

What happened: Trout was incredible, with a 6.8 WAR—the majors’ sixth best—in just 113 games, the others lost to a torn thumb. Heaney and Richards made only 11 starts. I don’t know. Andrelton Simmons was great? I guess, just, Trout.

Miami Marlins

Prediction: UNDER 76.5

2017 Wins: 77

We said then: The September boating death of Jose Fernandez was devastating in so many ways, the least of which is to the Marlins' on-field fortunes. They still have one of the NL's best outfields, but a rotation topped by Wei-Yin Chen and Edinson Volquez won't be enough.

What happened: The rotation was indeed awful, with a 5.12 ERA. The outfield was even better than expected, as Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich slugged 114 homers and drove in 337 runs – just enough to cost me a 22nd win.

Milwaukee Brewers

Prediction: UNDER 71.5

2017 Wins: 86

We said then: As owner Mark Attanasio told MLB.com in January, "It is essential that we do this rebuild correctly, and I think if we get too hung up on wins and losses, we're maybe not doing it [right]." In other words, while Milwaukee's farm system is excellent, its major league roster is lacking.

What happened: I definitely didn’t anticipate 30+ homers from Domingo Santana, Travis Shaw and Eric Thames, nor sub-3.90 ERAs from Chase Anderson, Zach Davies and Jimmy Nelson. David Stearns is a good G.M.

New York Mets

Prediction: OVER 90.5

2017 Wins: 70

We said then: Bartolo Colon is gone—!—but the Mets made the playoffs in 2016 despite a ridiculous run of injuries: Only one regular, Curtis Granderson, played more than 142 games, and they eventually lost 80% of their projected rotation. Even average health should translate into at least 95 wins.

What happened: It can always get worse, when you’re the Mets.

New York Yankees

Prediction: UNDER 83.5

2017 Wins: 91

We said then: GM Brian Cashman's 2016 trade-deadline maneuverings mean the Yankees of 2019 will be a force. But what about in the interim? Avoiding the club's first losing season since 1992 seems a reasonable goal. A suspect rotation behind Masahiro Tanaka suggests if they achieve it, it won't be by much.

What happened: I didn’t imagine that Luis Severino would vault into becoming a Cy Young contender, nor that CC Sabathia would return to being a borderline one. And, AARON JUDGE.

San Diego Padres

Prediction: UNDER 64.5

2017 Wins: 71

We said then: They've got one star-level hitter left, Wil Myers, and their new veteran rotation leader, Jered Weaver, can no longer throw even 88 miles per hour. The farm system is fertile, but it won't mature in time to keep the Padres from becoming the majors' only 100-game losers.

What happened: Weaver was horrible (he retired in August with a 7.44 ERA), and the Padres were horrible – much more horrible than their record. Their -212 run differential should, mathematically, have resulted in 13 extra losses. I guess losing 100 games is hard.

San Francisco Giants

Prediction: OVER 87.5

2017 Wins: 64

We said then: The Giants have won 88, 84 and 87 games over the last three years. They have virtually all of last year's key pieces and seem a lock to finish in that range again. A full season of Matt Moore and a solid new closer in Mark Melancon should be worth an extra win over last year.

What happened: A motor bike accident for Madison Bumgarner. Simultaneous regressions from Melancon and Moore, as well as Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Not a single hitter among the league’s top 126 in homers. Et cetera.

Seattle Mariners

Prediction: OVER 85.5

2017 Wins: 78

We said then: GM Jerry Dipoto's hyperactive winter brought 26 new faces to Seattle's spring camp. The nucleus, though, remains the same—and it's a good one, as the club ranked sixth in runs scored and eighth in ERA in 2016. Dipoto's fiddling should, at worst, ensure a repeat performance.

What happened: James Paxton: 24 starts. Felix Hernandez: 16 starts. Hisashi Iwakuma: six starts. Ariel Miranda: 29 starts. That’s what happened.

Texas Rangers

Prediction: OVER 85.5

2017 Wins: 78

We said then: Yes, the Rangers played over their heads last year; they only had a +8 run differential. But a 10-win decline seems too precipitous for an offense loaded with talent young (Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor) and old (Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli) and a rotation topped by Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels.

What happened: Their run differential was just 25 runs worse, but they won 17 fewer games. Ignore the luck gods at your peril.

<p>My pre-season MLB over/under picks—<a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/03/06/mlb-over-under-team-wins" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:published in early March" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">published in early March</a>, in which I predicted which of the league’s 30 teams would exceed Vegas’s projected wins total and which would fall short—came with a disclaimer: “Of course, you probably shouldn’t act on any of them.”</p><p>Sorry about that.</p><p>As it turned out, my picks went 21-9 this year. That means that if you had wagered $100 on each, and factor in the oddsmaker’s published vigs (which mean that you drop the whole bet if you lose but take home between $71.46 and $100 if you win), you’d currently be $906.59 richer.</p><p>There’s more.</p><p>When I tweeted out the story, I included my six “best bets.” </p><p>All six of them hit. Had you put down $100 more on a six-team parlay, you’d have won an additional $4,468.07.</p><p>That’s a total profit of $5,374.66, which means that you could now buy yourself <a href="https://www.truecar.com/used-cars-for-sale/listing/4M2EU47E58UJ06882/2008-mercury-mountaineer/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:this sweet 2008 Mercury Mountaineer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">this sweet 2008 Mercury Mountaineer</a>. Just 148,961 miles on that baby.</p><p>Of course, nobody did this, including me. (If you did – ping me at @BenReiter). Still, the lesson? Gambling is easy, and you can never lose.</p><p>Here’s when I went right, and where I went wrong.</p><h3><strong>THE GOOD:</strong></h3><h3><strong>Arizona Diamondbacks</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 78.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>93</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The only good part of a nightmare season like the one the D-Backs had in &#39;16? You have to wake up eventually. Morning could arrive in the form of a healthy A.J. Pollock and a rebounding Zack Greinke, superstars as recently as 2015 who could account for 10 extra wins.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Pollock stayed relative healthy (112 games played) and Greinke improved (4.37 ERA to 3.20) – but so did the rest of a pitching staff that allowed an incredible 231 fewer runs than it did last year.</p><h3><strong>Atlanta Braves</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 71.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>72</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The rebuilding Braves acquired several short-term veterans (Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Brandon Phillips) to help them avoid outright putridity in their new ballpark. The real reason they&#39;ll do it is a lineup that rapidly improved last season, from 30th—dead last—in runs before the All-Star Game to sixth after it.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The offense, led by Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte, did get better – to the tune of a 75-run boost. That was just enough to barely hit the over with a final day win, on the heels of a six-game losing streak.</p><h3><strong>Baltimore Orioles</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 84.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins:</strong> 75</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Maybe Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman can become co-aces, but the Orioles still have a rotation that will include Wade Miley (5.37 ERA in &#39;16) and Ubaldo Jimenez (5.44). They&#39;ll hit a ton of homers, but it&#39;s hard to win 85 games with a staff like that.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Their 232 homers were the league’s fifth-most – but not nearly enough to counterbalance a starting staff that was indeed the game’s worst, with a 5.74 ERA. As anticipated, no starter other than Bundy or Gausman had an ERA under 5.00.</p><h3><strong>Boston Red Sox</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 91.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>93</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>David Ortiz is gone, but let&#39;s not overreact. This is a club that had an AL-best +184 run differential and added possibly the best starter in the league, Chris Sale. The Sox also get a full season from the game&#39;s No. 1 prospect, Andrew Benintendi. Doesn&#39;t sound as if they&#39;ll win less.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They missed Big Papi, and still do, as their run differential declined to +117 and they slugged an AL-low 168 bombs. Sale, though, was at least the league’s <em>second-</em>best starter, leading a staff that was bettered in the AL by only the Indians’.</p><h3><strong>Chicago Cubs</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 96.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>92</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Winning 97 games is hard. Over the past decade, just 1.7 clubs per year have done it. The champs are a lock to run away with the NL Central, but they&#39;ll rely on three starters in their 30s (Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Jon Lester), any or all of whom could begin to regress.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Well, four teams won 97 this year, but the Cubs weren’t one of them. Arrieta, Lackey and Lester, perhaps feeling their age and last October’s extra workload, saw their combined ERA jump from 2.95 to 4.16.</p><h3><strong>Chicago White Sox</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 71.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>67</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Adam Eaton and Chris Sale have already been traded from the rebuilding South Siders. Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Jose Quintana and David Robertson could soon join them. The future&#39;s bright, but for now things will get worse as the Sox wait for their newly acquired prospects to mature.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Of the players mentioned, only Abreu remained with the Sox until the season’s end, leading to an Under-clinching 30-45 second half. But, damn, those prospects.</p><h3><strong>Cincinnati Reds</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 73.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>68</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>There is little reason to expect much improvement here. Joey Votto can&#39;t get better—his league-dominating second-half OPS last season was 1.158—but he can&#39;t win by himself, and a bullpen that gave up a record-smashing 103 homers added only Drew Storen.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Votto (1.032 OPS) was ridiculous, and he actually got some help from Zack Cozart, Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Eugenio Suarez, all of whom slugged 24+ home runs. But the pitching (NL-worst 5.19 ERA) was execrable in all facets.</p><h3><strong>Cleveland Indians</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 93.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins:</strong> 102</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>They won the second-most games in the AL last season despite losing their best hitter (Michael Brantley) for nearly all of it and two of their best pitchers (Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar) by its end. Can they win as many with those three healthy and a new slugger in Edwin Encarnacion? Seems likely.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>In fact, they should have won even more games than they did – 107, based on their MLB-best +254 run differential. This was always free money.</p><h3><strong>Colorado Rockies</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 80.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>87</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Rockies haven&#39;t surpassed 80 wins since 2010. The offense is as potent as ever, but it&#39;s a newly promising rotation fronted by Jon Gray—and supported by a deep bullpen that added Greg Holland and Mike Dunn—that could have them flirting with .500.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They actually scored slightly less this year – 824 runs, versus 845 last year. But Gray (3.67 ERA) did lead a staff that improved enough (4.91 ERA to 4.50) to account for a 12-win bump.</p><h3><strong>Detroit Tigers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 84.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>64</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Tigers look like contenders, with a power-packed lineup and a rotation led by a rejuvenated Justin Verlander and Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer. But they have just one top-100 prospect. It&#39;s tough to predict that nothing will go wrong for an aging club, making the under the safe pick.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>A ton went wrong—including terrible declines by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Jordan Zimmermann—and Verlander won’t be around for the rebuild that is now in full swing.</p><h3><strong>Houston Astros</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 87.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>101</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The offense should be in the top five, but the front office&#39;s ability to add a top-end starter is what could push the club into the mid-90s. If it&#39;s not a trade for someone like Chris Archer, Sonny Gray or Jose Quintana, it&#39;ll be the promotion of fireballing prospect Francis Martes.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>It was actually a trade for Justin Verlander – but by then the Astros were already 80-53, with the Over a lock. An offense that turned out to be not top five, but top <em>one </em>(an MLB-best 892 runs scored) will do that for you.</p><h3><strong>Kansas City Royals</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 81.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>80</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The unthinkable death of Yordano Ventura in a January car accident deprived a thin rotation of its ace. A slow start could snowball and force GM Dayton Moore to trade away key players before their free agency, including Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They started slow—10-20—but Moore, not wanting to prematurely end the winning era he’d built, didn’t trade anyone. Maybe he should have, as a mediocre finish followed and the club now faces an uncertain future.</p><h3><strong>Los Angeles Dodgers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 92.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>104</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>There&#39;s a reason Baseball Prospectus&#39; and Fan Graphs&#39; projection models have L.A. at, respectively, 98 and 94 wins. Despite having no starter top 176 innings in 2016 and losing Clayton Kershaw for more than two months, they still comfortably took the NL West crown. The Dodgers are loaded.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They <em>again</em> had no starter top 176 innings. Kershaw <em>again</em> hit the DL, albeit only for just over a month this time. They still won the most games since the `04 Cardinals. Plus, Cody Bellinger. Loaded indeed.</p><h3><strong>Minnesota Twins</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 70.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>85</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>They dropped 24 wins from 2015 to &#39;16, so they only have to pick up half of those to hit the over. There&#39;s simply too much young talent in Minnesota—including Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano—for them to continue to be this bad.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The young players mentioned were all great: Berrios went 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA; Sano hit 28 homers; Buxton was the club’s second-ranked WAR leader (3.5). It added up to one of the odder three-season swings in baseball history, from 83 wins to 59 to 84.</p><h3><strong>Oakland A’s</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 66.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>75</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The A&#39;s are stuck in a purgatory between contending and rebuilding. But will they have their worst season in two decades? Unless Billy Beane goes into full teardown mode, a healthy Sonny Gray and a decent bullpen (buoyed by Santiago Casilla) makes that improbable.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Gray was good – 11-6 with a 3.43 ERA before Beane traded him to the Yankees. What really allowed them to avoid putridity was their surprising power: they quietly hit 233 homers this year, the fourth most in baseball.</p><h3><strong>Philadelphia Phillies</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 72.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>66</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Phillies lucked into their 71 wins last year: Their majors-worst –186 run differential suggests they should have won only 62 games. After a modest off-season (additions included Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders), improvement for the future-focused club is unlikely.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>None of those additions did much—aside from Kendrick, who was traded to Washington—and their luck turned. They won four fewer games than they should have, based on their -92 run differential, though even average fortune wouldn’t have resulted in an Over.</p><h3><strong>Pittsburgh Pirates</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>75</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>A 20-game drop from 2015 hinged on two factors: Ace Gerrit Cole got hurt, and their best hitter, Andrew McCutchen, declined dramatically. Cole&#39;s elbow might hold up, but McCutchen is no lock to return to his MVP days. An eight-win bounce appears too high.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>While McCutchen was good again – his OPS spiked from .766 to .848 – the club was otherwise punchless, second to last with 151 homers. And while Cole topped 200 innings, he did so while pitching to a career-worst 4.26 ERA.</p><h3><strong>St. Louis Cardinals</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 88.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>83</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>A rotation that had a middling 4.33 ERA last year was supposed to be bolstered by the flamethrowing Alex Reyes, <em>Baseball America</em>&#39;s No. 4 overall prospect. But the 22-year-old tore his UCL in February, banishing any thought that St. Louis might challenge the Cubs.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The rotation turned out to be <em>better</em>, with a ninth-ranked 4.11 ERA, thanks largely to Lance Lynn (3.43 ERA) and Carlos Martinez (3.64). But another middling season from the offense resulted in a second straight mediocre finish.</p><h3><strong>Tampa Bay Rays</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 75.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>80</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Rays are perennially underfunded. In 2016 they were unlucky, too. Normal fortune, plus one of the AL&#39;s best rotations and a couple of advanced pitching prospects (Jose De Leon and Brent Honeywell) make them the most attractive &quot;over&quot; pick on this list.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Their luck was appropriate, as one of four teams (along with the Braves, Red Sox and Rockies) whose Pythagorean record perfectly matched their real one. While the rotation got just 2.2 innings out of DeLeon and Honeywell, it was still the AL’s fifth best (4.12 ERA).</p><h3><strong>Toronto Blue Jays</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>76</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Will Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce adequately replace Edwin Encarnacion, the departed AL RBI king? Probably not. Otherwise, this is now an aging club, with 15 members of its likely 25-man roster older than 31. It&#39;s not a formula for getting better.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Morales and Pearce barely combined to outproduce Encarnacion (41 homers and 122 RBIs, versus 38 and 107), but there are, you know, two of them. That creaky roster spent 1,747 days on the DL, third most in the majors.</p><h3><strong>Washington Nationals</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 90.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>97</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>For half a decade the Nationals have alternated 95+ win seasons with seasons of 86 wins or fewer. This is supposed to be the latter, but new import Adam Eaton, electric young shortstop Trea Turner and the return after a down year of a 10-WAR Bryce Harper will stop the oscillating.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>It stopped, even though Eaton tore his ACL in April, Turner was out two months with a broken wrist and Harper, who himself missed more than 50 games, ended up with a 4.7 WAR. A sixth-ranked offense and third-ranked rotation helped them overcome all that.</p><h3><strong>THE BAD:</strong></h3><h3><strong>Los Angeles Angels</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 76.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>80</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Mike Trout, with his annual 10 WAR, will never let the Angels be terrible. But two starters (Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano) lost to torn UCLs and a No. 1—Garrett Richards—trying to come back from one will mean an eighth straight season without a playoff win.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Trout was incredible, with a 6.8 WAR—the majors’ sixth best—in just 113 games, the others lost to a torn thumb. Heaney and Richards made only 11 starts. I don’t know. Andrelton Simmons was great? I guess, just, Trout.</p><h3><strong>Miami Marlins</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 76.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>77</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The September boating death of Jose Fernandez was devastating in so many ways, the least of which is to the Marlins&#39; on-field fortunes. They still have one of the NL&#39;s best outfields, but a rotation topped by Wei-Yin Chen and Edinson Volquez won&#39;t be enough.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The rotation was indeed awful, with a 5.12 ERA. The outfield was even better than expected, as Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich slugged 114 homers and drove in 337 runs – just enough to cost me a 22nd win.</p><h3><strong>Milwaukee Brewers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 71.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>86</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>As owner Mark Attanasio told MLB.com in January, &quot;It is essential that we do this rebuild correctly, and I think if we get too hung up on wins and losses, we&#39;re maybe not doing it [right].&quot; In other words, while Milwaukee&#39;s farm system is excellent, its major league roster is lacking.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>I definitely didn’t anticipate 30+ homers from Domingo Santana, Travis Shaw and Eric Thames, nor sub-3.90 ERAs from Chase Anderson, Zach Davies and Jimmy Nelson. David Stearns is a good G.M.</p><h3><strong>New York Mets</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 90.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>70</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Bartolo Colon is gone—!—but the Mets made the playoffs in 2016 despite a ridiculous run of injuries: Only one regular, Curtis Granderson, played more than 142 games, and they eventually lost 80% of their projected rotation. Even average health should translate into at least 95 wins.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>It can always get worse, when you’re the Mets.</p><h3><strong>New York Yankees</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 83.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>91</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>GM Brian Cashman&#39;s 2016 trade-deadline maneuverings mean the Yankees of 2019 will be a force. But what about in the interim? Avoiding the club&#39;s first losing season since 1992 seems a reasonable goal. A suspect rotation behind Masahiro Tanaka suggests if they achieve it, it won&#39;t be by much.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>I didn’t imagine that Luis Severino would vault into becoming a Cy Young contender, nor that CC Sabathia would return to being a borderline one. And, AARON JUDGE.</p><h3><strong>San Diego Padres</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 64.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>71</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>They&#39;ve got one star-level hitter left, Wil Myers, and their new veteran rotation leader, Jered Weaver, can no longer throw even 88 miles per hour. The farm system is fertile, but it won&#39;t mature in time to keep the Padres from becoming the majors&#39; only 100-game losers.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Weaver was horrible (he retired in August with a 7.44 ERA), and the Padres were horrible – much more horrible than their record. Their -212 run differential should, mathematically, have resulted in 13 extra losses. I guess losing 100 games is hard.</p><h3><strong>San Francisco Giants</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 87.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>64</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Giants have won 88, 84 and 87 games over the last three years. They have virtually all of last year&#39;s key pieces and seem a lock to finish in that range again. A full season of Matt Moore and a solid new closer in Mark Melancon should be worth an extra win over last year.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>A motor bike accident for Madison Bumgarner. Simultaneous regressions from Melancon and Moore, as well as Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Not a single hitter among the league’s top 126 in homers. Et cetera.</p><h3><strong>Seattle Mariners</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>78</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>GM Jerry Dipoto&#39;s hyperactive winter brought 26 new faces to Seattle&#39;s spring camp. The nucleus, though, remains the same—and it&#39;s a good one, as the club ranked sixth in runs scored and eighth in ERA in 2016. Dipoto&#39;s fiddling should, at worst, ensure a repeat performance.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>James Paxton: 24 starts. Felix Hernandez: 16 starts. Hisashi Iwakuma: six starts. Ariel Miranda: 29 starts. That’s what happened.</p><h3><strong>Texas Rangers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>78</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Yes, the Rangers played over their heads last year; they only had a +8 run differential. But a 10-win decline seems too precipitous for an offense loaded with talent young (Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor) and old (Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli) and a rotation topped by Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Their run differential was just 25 runs worse, but they won 17 fewer games. Ignore the luck gods at your peril.</p>
Over/Under: Which Teams Exceeded or Fell Short of Their Expectations?

My pre-season MLB over/under picks—published in early March, in which I predicted which of the league’s 30 teams would exceed Vegas’s projected wins total and which would fall short—came with a disclaimer: “Of course, you probably shouldn’t act on any of them.”

Sorry about that.

As it turned out, my picks went 21-9 this year. That means that if you had wagered $100 on each, and factor in the oddsmaker’s published vigs (which mean that you drop the whole bet if you lose but take home between $71.46 and $100 if you win), you’d currently be $906.59 richer.

There’s more.

When I tweeted out the story, I included my six “best bets.”

All six of them hit. Had you put down $100 more on a six-team parlay, you’d have won an additional $4,468.07.

That’s a total profit of $5,374.66, which means that you could now buy yourself this sweet 2008 Mercury Mountaineer. Just 148,961 miles on that baby.

Of course, nobody did this, including me. (If you did – ping me at @BenReiter). Still, the lesson? Gambling is easy, and you can never lose.

Here’s when I went right, and where I went wrong.

THE GOOD:

Arizona Diamondbacks

Prediction: OVER 78.5

2017 Wins: 93

We said then: The only good part of a nightmare season like the one the D-Backs had in '16? You have to wake up eventually. Morning could arrive in the form of a healthy A.J. Pollock and a rebounding Zack Greinke, superstars as recently as 2015 who could account for 10 extra wins.

What happened: Pollock stayed relative healthy (112 games played) and Greinke improved (4.37 ERA to 3.20) – but so did the rest of a pitching staff that allowed an incredible 231 fewer runs than it did last year.

Atlanta Braves

Prediction: OVER 71.5

2017 Wins: 72

We said then: The rebuilding Braves acquired several short-term veterans (Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Brandon Phillips) to help them avoid outright putridity in their new ballpark. The real reason they'll do it is a lineup that rapidly improved last season, from 30th—dead last—in runs before the All-Star Game to sixth after it.

What happened: The offense, led by Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte, did get better – to the tune of a 75-run boost. That was just enough to barely hit the over with a final day win, on the heels of a six-game losing streak.

Baltimore Orioles

Prediction: UNDER 84.5

2017 Wins: 75

We said then: Maybe Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman can become co-aces, but the Orioles still have a rotation that will include Wade Miley (5.37 ERA in '16) and Ubaldo Jimenez (5.44). They'll hit a ton of homers, but it's hard to win 85 games with a staff like that.

What happened: Their 232 homers were the league’s fifth-most – but not nearly enough to counterbalance a starting staff that was indeed the game’s worst, with a 5.74 ERA. As anticipated, no starter other than Bundy or Gausman had an ERA under 5.00.

Boston Red Sox

Prediction: OVER 91.5

2017 Wins: 93

We said then: David Ortiz is gone, but let's not overreact. This is a club that had an AL-best +184 run differential and added possibly the best starter in the league, Chris Sale. The Sox also get a full season from the game's No. 1 prospect, Andrew Benintendi. Doesn't sound as if they'll win less.

What happened: They missed Big Papi, and still do, as their run differential declined to +117 and they slugged an AL-low 168 bombs. Sale, though, was at least the league’s second-best starter, leading a staff that was bettered in the AL by only the Indians’.

Chicago Cubs

Prediction: UNDER 96.5

2017 Wins: 92

We said then: Winning 97 games is hard. Over the past decade, just 1.7 clubs per year have done it. The champs are a lock to run away with the NL Central, but they'll rely on three starters in their 30s (Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Jon Lester), any or all of whom could begin to regress.

What happened: Well, four teams won 97 this year, but the Cubs weren’t one of them. Arrieta, Lackey and Lester, perhaps feeling their age and last October’s extra workload, saw their combined ERA jump from 2.95 to 4.16.

Chicago White Sox

Prediction: UNDER 71.5

2017 Wins: 67

We said then: Adam Eaton and Chris Sale have already been traded from the rebuilding South Siders. Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Jose Quintana and David Robertson could soon join them. The future's bright, but for now things will get worse as the Sox wait for their newly acquired prospects to mature.

What happened: Of the players mentioned, only Abreu remained with the Sox until the season’s end, leading to an Under-clinching 30-45 second half. But, damn, those prospects.

Cincinnati Reds

Prediction: UNDER 73.5

2017 Wins: 68

We said then: There is little reason to expect much improvement here. Joey Votto can't get better—his league-dominating second-half OPS last season was 1.158—but he can't win by himself, and a bullpen that gave up a record-smashing 103 homers added only Drew Storen.

What happened: Votto (1.032 OPS) was ridiculous, and he actually got some help from Zack Cozart, Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Eugenio Suarez, all of whom slugged 24+ home runs. But the pitching (NL-worst 5.19 ERA) was execrable in all facets.

Cleveland Indians

Prediction: OVER 93.5

2017 Wins: 102

We said then: They won the second-most games in the AL last season despite losing their best hitter (Michael Brantley) for nearly all of it and two of their best pitchers (Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar) by its end. Can they win as many with those three healthy and a new slugger in Edwin Encarnacion? Seems likely.

What happened: In fact, they should have won even more games than they did – 107, based on their MLB-best +254 run differential. This was always free money.

Colorado Rockies

Prediction: OVER 80.5

2017 Wins: 87

We said then: The Rockies haven't surpassed 80 wins since 2010. The offense is as potent as ever, but it's a newly promising rotation fronted by Jon Gray—and supported by a deep bullpen that added Greg Holland and Mike Dunn—that could have them flirting with .500.

What happened: They actually scored slightly less this year – 824 runs, versus 845 last year. But Gray (3.67 ERA) did lead a staff that improved enough (4.91 ERA to 4.50) to account for a 12-win bump.

Detroit Tigers

Prediction: UNDER 84.5

2017 Wins: 64

We said then: The Tigers look like contenders, with a power-packed lineup and a rotation led by a rejuvenated Justin Verlander and Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer. But they have just one top-100 prospect. It's tough to predict that nothing will go wrong for an aging club, making the under the safe pick.

What happened: A ton went wrong—including terrible declines by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Jordan Zimmermann—and Verlander won’t be around for the rebuild that is now in full swing.

Houston Astros

Prediction: OVER 87.5

2017 Wins: 101

We said then: The offense should be in the top five, but the front office's ability to add a top-end starter is what could push the club into the mid-90s. If it's not a trade for someone like Chris Archer, Sonny Gray or Jose Quintana, it'll be the promotion of fireballing prospect Francis Martes.

What happened: It was actually a trade for Justin Verlander – but by then the Astros were already 80-53, with the Over a lock. An offense that turned out to be not top five, but top one (an MLB-best 892 runs scored) will do that for you.

Kansas City Royals

Prediction: UNDER 81.5

2017 Wins: 80

We said then: The unthinkable death of Yordano Ventura in a January car accident deprived a thin rotation of its ace. A slow start could snowball and force GM Dayton Moore to trade away key players before their free agency, including Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.

What happened: They started slow—10-20—but Moore, not wanting to prematurely end the winning era he’d built, didn’t trade anyone. Maybe he should have, as a mediocre finish followed and the club now faces an uncertain future.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Prediction: OVER 92.5

2017 Wins: 104

We said then: There's a reason Baseball Prospectus' and Fan Graphs' projection models have L.A. at, respectively, 98 and 94 wins. Despite having no starter top 176 innings in 2016 and losing Clayton Kershaw for more than two months, they still comfortably took the NL West crown. The Dodgers are loaded.

What happened: They again had no starter top 176 innings. Kershaw again hit the DL, albeit only for just over a month this time. They still won the most games since the `04 Cardinals. Plus, Cody Bellinger. Loaded indeed.

Minnesota Twins

Prediction: OVER 70.5

2017 Wins: 85

We said then: They dropped 24 wins from 2015 to '16, so they only have to pick up half of those to hit the over. There's simply too much young talent in Minnesota—including Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano—for them to continue to be this bad.

What happened: The young players mentioned were all great: Berrios went 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA; Sano hit 28 homers; Buxton was the club’s second-ranked WAR leader (3.5). It added up to one of the odder three-season swings in baseball history, from 83 wins to 59 to 84.

Oakland A’s

Prediction: OVER 66.5

2017 Wins: 75

We said then: The A's are stuck in a purgatory between contending and rebuilding. But will they have their worst season in two decades? Unless Billy Beane goes into full teardown mode, a healthy Sonny Gray and a decent bullpen (buoyed by Santiago Casilla) makes that improbable.

What happened: Gray was good – 11-6 with a 3.43 ERA before Beane traded him to the Yankees. What really allowed them to avoid putridity was their surprising power: they quietly hit 233 homers this year, the fourth most in baseball.

Philadelphia Phillies

Prediction: UNDER 72.5

2017 Wins: 66

We said then: The Phillies lucked into their 71 wins last year: Their majors-worst –186 run differential suggests they should have won only 62 games. After a modest off-season (additions included Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders), improvement for the future-focused club is unlikely.

What happened: None of those additions did much—aside from Kendrick, who was traded to Washington—and their luck turned. They won four fewer games than they should have, based on their -92 run differential, though even average fortune wouldn’t have resulted in an Over.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Prediction: UNDER 85.5

2017 Wins: 75

We said then: A 20-game drop from 2015 hinged on two factors: Ace Gerrit Cole got hurt, and their best hitter, Andrew McCutchen, declined dramatically. Cole's elbow might hold up, but McCutchen is no lock to return to his MVP days. An eight-win bounce appears too high.

What happened: While McCutchen was good again – his OPS spiked from .766 to .848 – the club was otherwise punchless, second to last with 151 homers. And while Cole topped 200 innings, he did so while pitching to a career-worst 4.26 ERA.

St. Louis Cardinals

Prediction: UNDER 88.5

2017 Wins: 83

We said then: A rotation that had a middling 4.33 ERA last year was supposed to be bolstered by the flamethrowing Alex Reyes, Baseball America's No. 4 overall prospect. But the 22-year-old tore his UCL in February, banishing any thought that St. Louis might challenge the Cubs.

What happened: The rotation turned out to be better, with a ninth-ranked 4.11 ERA, thanks largely to Lance Lynn (3.43 ERA) and Carlos Martinez (3.64). But another middling season from the offense resulted in a second straight mediocre finish.

Tampa Bay Rays

Prediction: OVER 75.5

2017 Wins: 80

We said then: The Rays are perennially underfunded. In 2016 they were unlucky, too. Normal fortune, plus one of the AL's best rotations and a couple of advanced pitching prospects (Jose De Leon and Brent Honeywell) make them the most attractive "over" pick on this list.

What happened: Their luck was appropriate, as one of four teams (along with the Braves, Red Sox and Rockies) whose Pythagorean record perfectly matched their real one. While the rotation got just 2.2 innings out of DeLeon and Honeywell, it was still the AL’s fifth best (4.12 ERA).

Toronto Blue Jays

Prediction: UNDER 85.5

2017 Wins: 76

We said then: Will Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce adequately replace Edwin Encarnacion, the departed AL RBI king? Probably not. Otherwise, this is now an aging club, with 15 members of its likely 25-man roster older than 31. It's not a formula for getting better.

What happened: Morales and Pearce barely combined to outproduce Encarnacion (41 homers and 122 RBIs, versus 38 and 107), but there are, you know, two of them. That creaky roster spent 1,747 days on the DL, third most in the majors.

Washington Nationals

Prediction: OVER 90.5

2017 Wins: 97

We said then: For half a decade the Nationals have alternated 95+ win seasons with seasons of 86 wins or fewer. This is supposed to be the latter, but new import Adam Eaton, electric young shortstop Trea Turner and the return after a down year of a 10-WAR Bryce Harper will stop the oscillating.

What happened: It stopped, even though Eaton tore his ACL in April, Turner was out two months with a broken wrist and Harper, who himself missed more than 50 games, ended up with a 4.7 WAR. A sixth-ranked offense and third-ranked rotation helped them overcome all that.

THE BAD:

Los Angeles Angels

Prediction: UNDER 76.5

2017 Wins: 80

We said then: Mike Trout, with his annual 10 WAR, will never let the Angels be terrible. But two starters (Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano) lost to torn UCLs and a No. 1—Garrett Richards—trying to come back from one will mean an eighth straight season without a playoff win.

What happened: Trout was incredible, with a 6.8 WAR—the majors’ sixth best—in just 113 games, the others lost to a torn thumb. Heaney and Richards made only 11 starts. I don’t know. Andrelton Simmons was great? I guess, just, Trout.

Miami Marlins

Prediction: UNDER 76.5

2017 Wins: 77

We said then: The September boating death of Jose Fernandez was devastating in so many ways, the least of which is to the Marlins' on-field fortunes. They still have one of the NL's best outfields, but a rotation topped by Wei-Yin Chen and Edinson Volquez won't be enough.

What happened: The rotation was indeed awful, with a 5.12 ERA. The outfield was even better than expected, as Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich slugged 114 homers and drove in 337 runs – just enough to cost me a 22nd win.

Milwaukee Brewers

Prediction: UNDER 71.5

2017 Wins: 86

We said then: As owner Mark Attanasio told MLB.com in January, "It is essential that we do this rebuild correctly, and I think if we get too hung up on wins and losses, we're maybe not doing it [right]." In other words, while Milwaukee's farm system is excellent, its major league roster is lacking.

What happened: I definitely didn’t anticipate 30+ homers from Domingo Santana, Travis Shaw and Eric Thames, nor sub-3.90 ERAs from Chase Anderson, Zach Davies and Jimmy Nelson. David Stearns is a good G.M.

New York Mets

Prediction: OVER 90.5

2017 Wins: 70

We said then: Bartolo Colon is gone—!—but the Mets made the playoffs in 2016 despite a ridiculous run of injuries: Only one regular, Curtis Granderson, played more than 142 games, and they eventually lost 80% of their projected rotation. Even average health should translate into at least 95 wins.

What happened: It can always get worse, when you’re the Mets.

New York Yankees

Prediction: UNDER 83.5

2017 Wins: 91

We said then: GM Brian Cashman's 2016 trade-deadline maneuverings mean the Yankees of 2019 will be a force. But what about in the interim? Avoiding the club's first losing season since 1992 seems a reasonable goal. A suspect rotation behind Masahiro Tanaka suggests if they achieve it, it won't be by much.

What happened: I didn’t imagine that Luis Severino would vault into becoming a Cy Young contender, nor that CC Sabathia would return to being a borderline one. And, AARON JUDGE.

San Diego Padres

Prediction: UNDER 64.5

2017 Wins: 71

We said then: They've got one star-level hitter left, Wil Myers, and their new veteran rotation leader, Jered Weaver, can no longer throw even 88 miles per hour. The farm system is fertile, but it won't mature in time to keep the Padres from becoming the majors' only 100-game losers.

What happened: Weaver was horrible (he retired in August with a 7.44 ERA), and the Padres were horrible – much more horrible than their record. Their -212 run differential should, mathematically, have resulted in 13 extra losses. I guess losing 100 games is hard.

San Francisco Giants

Prediction: OVER 87.5

2017 Wins: 64

We said then: The Giants have won 88, 84 and 87 games over the last three years. They have virtually all of last year's key pieces and seem a lock to finish in that range again. A full season of Matt Moore and a solid new closer in Mark Melancon should be worth an extra win over last year.

What happened: A motor bike accident for Madison Bumgarner. Simultaneous regressions from Melancon and Moore, as well as Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Not a single hitter among the league’s top 126 in homers. Et cetera.

Seattle Mariners

Prediction: OVER 85.5

2017 Wins: 78

We said then: GM Jerry Dipoto's hyperactive winter brought 26 new faces to Seattle's spring camp. The nucleus, though, remains the same—and it's a good one, as the club ranked sixth in runs scored and eighth in ERA in 2016. Dipoto's fiddling should, at worst, ensure a repeat performance.

What happened: James Paxton: 24 starts. Felix Hernandez: 16 starts. Hisashi Iwakuma: six starts. Ariel Miranda: 29 starts. That’s what happened.

Texas Rangers

Prediction: OVER 85.5

2017 Wins: 78

We said then: Yes, the Rangers played over their heads last year; they only had a +8 run differential. But a 10-win decline seems too precipitous for an offense loaded with talent young (Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor) and old (Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli) and a rotation topped by Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels.

What happened: Their run differential was just 25 runs worse, but they won 17 fewer games. Ignore the luck gods at your peril.

<p>My pre-season MLB over/under picks—<a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/03/06/mlb-over-under-team-wins" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:published in early March" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">published in early March</a>, in which I predicted which of the league’s 30 teams would exceed Vegas’s projected wins total and which would fall short—came with a disclaimer: “Of course, you probably shouldn’t act on any of them.”</p><p>Sorry about that.</p><p>As it turned out, my picks went 21-9 this year. That means that if you had wagered $100 on each, and factor in the oddsmaker’s published vigs (which mean that you drop the whole bet if you lose but take home between $71.46 and $100 if you win), you’d currently be $906.59 richer.</p><p>There’s more.</p><p>When I tweeted out the story, I included my six “best bets.” </p><p>All six of them hit. Had you put down $100 more on a six-team parlay, you’d have won an additional $4,468.07.</p><p>That’s a total profit of $5,374.66, which means that you could now buy yourself <a href="https://www.truecar.com/used-cars-for-sale/listing/4M2EU47E58UJ06882/2008-mercury-mountaineer/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:this sweet 2008 Mercury Mountaineer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">this sweet 2008 Mercury Mountaineer</a>. Just 148,961 miles on that baby.</p><p>Of course, nobody did this, including me. (If you did – ping me at @BenReiter). Still, the lesson? Gambling is easy, and you can never lose.</p><p>Here’s when I went right, and where I went wrong.</p><h3><strong>THE GOOD:</strong></h3><h3><strong>Arizona Diamondbacks</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 78.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>93</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The only good part of a nightmare season like the one the D-Backs had in &#39;16? You have to wake up eventually. Morning could arrive in the form of a healthy A.J. Pollock and a rebounding Zack Greinke, superstars as recently as 2015 who could account for 10 extra wins.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Pollock stayed relative healthy (112 games played) and Greinke improved (4.37 ERA to 3.20) – but so did the rest of a pitching staff that allowed an incredible 231 fewer runs than it did last year.</p><h3><strong>Atlanta Braves</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 71.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>72</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The rebuilding Braves acquired several short-term veterans (Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Brandon Phillips) to help them avoid outright putridity in their new ballpark. The real reason they&#39;ll do it is a lineup that rapidly improved last season, from 30th—dead last—in runs before the All-Star Game to sixth after it.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The offense, led by Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte, did get better – to the tune of a 75-run boost. That was just enough to barely hit the over with a final day win, on the heels of a six-game losing streak.</p><h3><strong>Baltimore Orioles</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 84.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins:</strong> 75</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Maybe Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman can become co-aces, but the Orioles still have a rotation that will include Wade Miley (5.37 ERA in &#39;16) and Ubaldo Jimenez (5.44). They&#39;ll hit a ton of homers, but it&#39;s hard to win 85 games with a staff like that.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Their 232 homers were the league’s fifth-most – but not nearly enough to counterbalance a starting staff that was indeed the game’s worst, with a 5.74 ERA. As anticipated, no starter other than Bundy or Gausman had an ERA under 5.00.</p><h3><strong>Boston Red Sox</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 91.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>93</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>David Ortiz is gone, but let&#39;s not overreact. This is a club that had an AL-best +184 run differential and added possibly the best starter in the league, Chris Sale. The Sox also get a full season from the game&#39;s No. 1 prospect, Andrew Benintendi. Doesn&#39;t sound as if they&#39;ll win less.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They missed Big Papi, and still do, as their run differential declined to +117 and they slugged an AL-low 168 bombs. Sale, though, was at least the league’s <em>second-</em>best starter, leading a staff that was bettered in the AL by only the Indians’.</p><h3><strong>Chicago Cubs</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 96.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>92</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Winning 97 games is hard. Over the past decade, just 1.7 clubs per year have done it. The champs are a lock to run away with the NL Central, but they&#39;ll rely on three starters in their 30s (Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Jon Lester), any or all of whom could begin to regress.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Well, four teams won 97 this year, but the Cubs weren’t one of them. Arrieta, Lackey and Lester, perhaps feeling their age and last October’s extra workload, saw their combined ERA jump from 2.95 to 4.16.</p><h3><strong>Chicago White Sox</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 71.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>67</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Adam Eaton and Chris Sale have already been traded from the rebuilding South Siders. Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Jose Quintana and David Robertson could soon join them. The future&#39;s bright, but for now things will get worse as the Sox wait for their newly acquired prospects to mature.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Of the players mentioned, only Abreu remained with the Sox until the season’s end, leading to an Under-clinching 30-45 second half. But, damn, those prospects.</p><h3><strong>Cincinnati Reds</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 73.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>68</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>There is little reason to expect much improvement here. Joey Votto can&#39;t get better—his league-dominating second-half OPS last season was 1.158—but he can&#39;t win by himself, and a bullpen that gave up a record-smashing 103 homers added only Drew Storen.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Votto (1.032 OPS) was ridiculous, and he actually got some help from Zack Cozart, Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Eugenio Suarez, all of whom slugged 24+ home runs. But the pitching (NL-worst 5.19 ERA) was execrable in all facets.</p><h3><strong>Cleveland Indians</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 93.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins:</strong> 102</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>They won the second-most games in the AL last season despite losing their best hitter (Michael Brantley) for nearly all of it and two of their best pitchers (Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar) by its end. Can they win as many with those three healthy and a new slugger in Edwin Encarnacion? Seems likely.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>In fact, they should have won even more games than they did – 107, based on their MLB-best +254 run differential. This was always free money.</p><h3><strong>Colorado Rockies</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 80.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>87</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Rockies haven&#39;t surpassed 80 wins since 2010. The offense is as potent as ever, but it&#39;s a newly promising rotation fronted by Jon Gray—and supported by a deep bullpen that added Greg Holland and Mike Dunn—that could have them flirting with .500.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They actually scored slightly less this year – 824 runs, versus 845 last year. But Gray (3.67 ERA) did lead a staff that improved enough (4.91 ERA to 4.50) to account for a 12-win bump.</p><h3><strong>Detroit Tigers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 84.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>64</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Tigers look like contenders, with a power-packed lineup and a rotation led by a rejuvenated Justin Verlander and Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer. But they have just one top-100 prospect. It&#39;s tough to predict that nothing will go wrong for an aging club, making the under the safe pick.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>A ton went wrong—including terrible declines by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Jordan Zimmermann—and Verlander won’t be around for the rebuild that is now in full swing.</p><h3><strong>Houston Astros</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 87.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>101</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The offense should be in the top five, but the front office&#39;s ability to add a top-end starter is what could push the club into the mid-90s. If it&#39;s not a trade for someone like Chris Archer, Sonny Gray or Jose Quintana, it&#39;ll be the promotion of fireballing prospect Francis Martes.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>It was actually a trade for Justin Verlander – but by then the Astros were already 80-53, with the Over a lock. An offense that turned out to be not top five, but top <em>one </em>(an MLB-best 892 runs scored) will do that for you.</p><h3><strong>Kansas City Royals</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 81.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>80</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The unthinkable death of Yordano Ventura in a January car accident deprived a thin rotation of its ace. A slow start could snowball and force GM Dayton Moore to trade away key players before their free agency, including Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They started slow—10-20—but Moore, not wanting to prematurely end the winning era he’d built, didn’t trade anyone. Maybe he should have, as a mediocre finish followed and the club now faces an uncertain future.</p><h3><strong>Los Angeles Dodgers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 92.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>104</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>There&#39;s a reason Baseball Prospectus&#39; and Fan Graphs&#39; projection models have L.A. at, respectively, 98 and 94 wins. Despite having no starter top 176 innings in 2016 and losing Clayton Kershaw for more than two months, they still comfortably took the NL West crown. The Dodgers are loaded.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They <em>again</em> had no starter top 176 innings. Kershaw <em>again</em> hit the DL, albeit only for just over a month this time. They still won the most games since the `04 Cardinals. Plus, Cody Bellinger. Loaded indeed.</p><h3><strong>Minnesota Twins</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 70.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>85</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>They dropped 24 wins from 2015 to &#39;16, so they only have to pick up half of those to hit the over. There&#39;s simply too much young talent in Minnesota—including Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano—for them to continue to be this bad.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The young players mentioned were all great: Berrios went 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA; Sano hit 28 homers; Buxton was the club’s second-ranked WAR leader (3.5). It added up to one of the odder three-season swings in baseball history, from 83 wins to 59 to 84.</p><h3><strong>Oakland A’s</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 66.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>75</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The A&#39;s are stuck in a purgatory between contending and rebuilding. But will they have their worst season in two decades? Unless Billy Beane goes into full teardown mode, a healthy Sonny Gray and a decent bullpen (buoyed by Santiago Casilla) makes that improbable.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Gray was good – 11-6 with a 3.43 ERA before Beane traded him to the Yankees. What really allowed them to avoid putridity was their surprising power: they quietly hit 233 homers this year, the fourth most in baseball.</p><h3><strong>Philadelphia Phillies</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 72.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>66</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Phillies lucked into their 71 wins last year: Their majors-worst –186 run differential suggests they should have won only 62 games. After a modest off-season (additions included Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders), improvement for the future-focused club is unlikely.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>None of those additions did much—aside from Kendrick, who was traded to Washington—and their luck turned. They won four fewer games than they should have, based on their -92 run differential, though even average fortune wouldn’t have resulted in an Over.</p><h3><strong>Pittsburgh Pirates</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>75</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>A 20-game drop from 2015 hinged on two factors: Ace Gerrit Cole got hurt, and their best hitter, Andrew McCutchen, declined dramatically. Cole&#39;s elbow might hold up, but McCutchen is no lock to return to his MVP days. An eight-win bounce appears too high.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>While McCutchen was good again – his OPS spiked from .766 to .848 – the club was otherwise punchless, second to last with 151 homers. And while Cole topped 200 innings, he did so while pitching to a career-worst 4.26 ERA.</p><h3><strong>St. Louis Cardinals</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 88.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>83</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>A rotation that had a middling 4.33 ERA last year was supposed to be bolstered by the flamethrowing Alex Reyes, <em>Baseball America</em>&#39;s No. 4 overall prospect. But the 22-year-old tore his UCL in February, banishing any thought that St. Louis might challenge the Cubs.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The rotation turned out to be <em>better</em>, with a ninth-ranked 4.11 ERA, thanks largely to Lance Lynn (3.43 ERA) and Carlos Martinez (3.64). But another middling season from the offense resulted in a second straight mediocre finish.</p><h3><strong>Tampa Bay Rays</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 75.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>80</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Rays are perennially underfunded. In 2016 they were unlucky, too. Normal fortune, plus one of the AL&#39;s best rotations and a couple of advanced pitching prospects (Jose De Leon and Brent Honeywell) make them the most attractive &quot;over&quot; pick on this list.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Their luck was appropriate, as one of four teams (along with the Braves, Red Sox and Rockies) whose Pythagorean record perfectly matched their real one. While the rotation got just 2.2 innings out of DeLeon and Honeywell, it was still the AL’s fifth best (4.12 ERA).</p><h3><strong>Toronto Blue Jays</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>76</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Will Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce adequately replace Edwin Encarnacion, the departed AL RBI king? Probably not. Otherwise, this is now an aging club, with 15 members of its likely 25-man roster older than 31. It&#39;s not a formula for getting better.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Morales and Pearce barely combined to outproduce Encarnacion (41 homers and 122 RBIs, versus 38 and 107), but there are, you know, two of them. That creaky roster spent 1,747 days on the DL, third most in the majors.</p><h3><strong>Washington Nationals</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 90.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>97</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>For half a decade the Nationals have alternated 95+ win seasons with seasons of 86 wins or fewer. This is supposed to be the latter, but new import Adam Eaton, electric young shortstop Trea Turner and the return after a down year of a 10-WAR Bryce Harper will stop the oscillating.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>It stopped, even though Eaton tore his ACL in April, Turner was out two months with a broken wrist and Harper, who himself missed more than 50 games, ended up with a 4.7 WAR. A sixth-ranked offense and third-ranked rotation helped them overcome all that.</p><h3><strong>THE BAD:</strong></h3><h3><strong>Los Angeles Angels</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 76.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>80</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Mike Trout, with his annual 10 WAR, will never let the Angels be terrible. But two starters (Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano) lost to torn UCLs and a No. 1—Garrett Richards—trying to come back from one will mean an eighth straight season without a playoff win.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Trout was incredible, with a 6.8 WAR—the majors’ sixth best—in just 113 games, the others lost to a torn thumb. Heaney and Richards made only 11 starts. I don’t know. Andrelton Simmons was great? I guess, just, Trout.</p><h3><strong>Miami Marlins</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 76.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>77</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The September boating death of Jose Fernandez was devastating in so many ways, the least of which is to the Marlins&#39; on-field fortunes. They still have one of the NL&#39;s best outfields, but a rotation topped by Wei-Yin Chen and Edinson Volquez won&#39;t be enough.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The rotation was indeed awful, with a 5.12 ERA. The outfield was even better than expected, as Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich slugged 114 homers and drove in 337 runs – just enough to cost me a 22nd win.</p><h3><strong>Milwaukee Brewers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 71.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>86</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>As owner Mark Attanasio told MLB.com in January, &quot;It is essential that we do this rebuild correctly, and I think if we get too hung up on wins and losses, we&#39;re maybe not doing it [right].&quot; In other words, while Milwaukee&#39;s farm system is excellent, its major league roster is lacking.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>I definitely didn’t anticipate 30+ homers from Domingo Santana, Travis Shaw and Eric Thames, nor sub-3.90 ERAs from Chase Anderson, Zach Davies and Jimmy Nelson. David Stearns is a good G.M.</p><h3><strong>New York Mets</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 90.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>70</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Bartolo Colon is gone—!—but the Mets made the playoffs in 2016 despite a ridiculous run of injuries: Only one regular, Curtis Granderson, played more than 142 games, and they eventually lost 80% of their projected rotation. Even average health should translate into at least 95 wins.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>It can always get worse, when you’re the Mets.</p><h3><strong>New York Yankees</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 83.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>91</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>GM Brian Cashman&#39;s 2016 trade-deadline maneuverings mean the Yankees of 2019 will be a force. But what about in the interim? Avoiding the club&#39;s first losing season since 1992 seems a reasonable goal. A suspect rotation behind Masahiro Tanaka suggests if they achieve it, it won&#39;t be by much.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>I didn’t imagine that Luis Severino would vault into becoming a Cy Young contender, nor that CC Sabathia would return to being a borderline one. And, AARON JUDGE.</p><h3><strong>San Diego Padres</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 64.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>71</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>They&#39;ve got one star-level hitter left, Wil Myers, and their new veteran rotation leader, Jered Weaver, can no longer throw even 88 miles per hour. The farm system is fertile, but it won&#39;t mature in time to keep the Padres from becoming the majors&#39; only 100-game losers.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Weaver was horrible (he retired in August with a 7.44 ERA), and the Padres were horrible – much more horrible than their record. Their -212 run differential should, mathematically, have resulted in 13 extra losses. I guess losing 100 games is hard.</p><h3><strong>San Francisco Giants</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 87.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>64</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Giants have won 88, 84 and 87 games over the last three years. They have virtually all of last year&#39;s key pieces and seem a lock to finish in that range again. A full season of Matt Moore and a solid new closer in Mark Melancon should be worth an extra win over last year.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>A motor bike accident for Madison Bumgarner. Simultaneous regressions from Melancon and Moore, as well as Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Not a single hitter among the league’s top 126 in homers. Et cetera.</p><h3><strong>Seattle Mariners</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>78</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>GM Jerry Dipoto&#39;s hyperactive winter brought 26 new faces to Seattle&#39;s spring camp. The nucleus, though, remains the same—and it&#39;s a good one, as the club ranked sixth in runs scored and eighth in ERA in 2016. Dipoto&#39;s fiddling should, at worst, ensure a repeat performance.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>James Paxton: 24 starts. Felix Hernandez: 16 starts. Hisashi Iwakuma: six starts. Ariel Miranda: 29 starts. That’s what happened.</p><h3><strong>Texas Rangers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>78</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Yes, the Rangers played over their heads last year; they only had a +8 run differential. But a 10-win decline seems too precipitous for an offense loaded with talent young (Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor) and old (Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli) and a rotation topped by Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Their run differential was just 25 runs worse, but they won 17 fewer games. Ignore the luck gods at your peril.</p>
Over/Under: Which Teams Exceeded or Fell Short of Their Expectations?

My pre-season MLB over/under picks—published in early March, in which I predicted which of the league’s 30 teams would exceed Vegas’s projected wins total and which would fall short—came with a disclaimer: “Of course, you probably shouldn’t act on any of them.”

Sorry about that.

As it turned out, my picks went 21-9 this year. That means that if you had wagered $100 on each, and factor in the oddsmaker’s published vigs (which mean that you drop the whole bet if you lose but take home between $71.46 and $100 if you win), you’d currently be $906.59 richer.

There’s more.

When I tweeted out the story, I included my six “best bets.”

All six of them hit. Had you put down $100 more on a six-team parlay, you’d have won an additional $4,468.07.

That’s a total profit of $5,374.66, which means that you could now buy yourself this sweet 2008 Mercury Mountaineer. Just 148,961 miles on that baby.

Of course, nobody did this, including me. (If you did – ping me at @BenReiter). Still, the lesson? Gambling is easy, and you can never lose.

Here’s when I went right, and where I went wrong.

THE GOOD:

Arizona Diamondbacks

Prediction: OVER 78.5

2017 Wins: 93

We said then: The only good part of a nightmare season like the one the D-Backs had in '16? You have to wake up eventually. Morning could arrive in the form of a healthy A.J. Pollock and a rebounding Zack Greinke, superstars as recently as 2015 who could account for 10 extra wins.

What happened: Pollock stayed relative healthy (112 games played) and Greinke improved (4.37 ERA to 3.20) – but so did the rest of a pitching staff that allowed an incredible 231 fewer runs than it did last year.

Atlanta Braves

Prediction: OVER 71.5

2017 Wins: 72

We said then: The rebuilding Braves acquired several short-term veterans (Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Brandon Phillips) to help them avoid outright putridity in their new ballpark. The real reason they'll do it is a lineup that rapidly improved last season, from 30th—dead last—in runs before the All-Star Game to sixth after it.

What happened: The offense, led by Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte, did get better – to the tune of a 75-run boost. That was just enough to barely hit the over with a final day win, on the heels of a six-game losing streak.

Baltimore Orioles

Prediction: UNDER 84.5

2017 Wins: 75

We said then: Maybe Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman can become co-aces, but the Orioles still have a rotation that will include Wade Miley (5.37 ERA in '16) and Ubaldo Jimenez (5.44). They'll hit a ton of homers, but it's hard to win 85 games with a staff like that.

What happened: Their 232 homers were the league’s fifth-most – but not nearly enough to counterbalance a starting staff that was indeed the game’s worst, with a 5.74 ERA. As anticipated, no starter other than Bundy or Gausman had an ERA under 5.00.

Boston Red Sox

Prediction: OVER 91.5

2017 Wins: 93

We said then: David Ortiz is gone, but let's not overreact. This is a club that had an AL-best +184 run differential and added possibly the best starter in the league, Chris Sale. The Sox also get a full season from the game's No. 1 prospect, Andrew Benintendi. Doesn't sound as if they'll win less.

What happened: They missed Big Papi, and still do, as their run differential declined to +117 and they slugged an AL-low 168 bombs. Sale, though, was at least the league’s second-best starter, leading a staff that was bettered in the AL by only the Indians’.

Chicago Cubs

Prediction: UNDER 96.5

2017 Wins: 92

We said then: Winning 97 games is hard. Over the past decade, just 1.7 clubs per year have done it. The champs are a lock to run away with the NL Central, but they'll rely on three starters in their 30s (Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Jon Lester), any or all of whom could begin to regress.

What happened: Well, four teams won 97 this year, but the Cubs weren’t one of them. Arrieta, Lackey and Lester, perhaps feeling their age and last October’s extra workload, saw their combined ERA jump from 2.95 to 4.16.

Chicago White Sox

Prediction: UNDER 71.5

2017 Wins: 67

We said then: Adam Eaton and Chris Sale have already been traded from the rebuilding South Siders. Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Jose Quintana and David Robertson could soon join them. The future's bright, but for now things will get worse as the Sox wait for their newly acquired prospects to mature.

What happened: Of the players mentioned, only Abreu remained with the Sox until the season’s end, leading to an Under-clinching 30-45 second half. But, damn, those prospects.

Cincinnati Reds

Prediction: UNDER 73.5

2017 Wins: 68

We said then: There is little reason to expect much improvement here. Joey Votto can't get better—his league-dominating second-half OPS last season was 1.158—but he can't win by himself, and a bullpen that gave up a record-smashing 103 homers added only Drew Storen.

What happened: Votto (1.032 OPS) was ridiculous, and he actually got some help from Zack Cozart, Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Eugenio Suarez, all of whom slugged 24+ home runs. But the pitching (NL-worst 5.19 ERA) was execrable in all facets.

Cleveland Indians

Prediction: OVER 93.5

2017 Wins: 102

We said then: They won the second-most games in the AL last season despite losing their best hitter (Michael Brantley) for nearly all of it and two of their best pitchers (Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar) by its end. Can they win as many with those three healthy and a new slugger in Edwin Encarnacion? Seems likely.

What happened: In fact, they should have won even more games than they did – 107, based on their MLB-best +254 run differential. This was always free money.

Colorado Rockies

Prediction: OVER 80.5

2017 Wins: 87

We said then: The Rockies haven't surpassed 80 wins since 2010. The offense is as potent as ever, but it's a newly promising rotation fronted by Jon Gray—and supported by a deep bullpen that added Greg Holland and Mike Dunn—that could have them flirting with .500.

What happened: They actually scored slightly less this year – 824 runs, versus 845 last year. But Gray (3.67 ERA) did lead a staff that improved enough (4.91 ERA to 4.50) to account for a 12-win bump.

Detroit Tigers

Prediction: UNDER 84.5

2017 Wins: 64

We said then: The Tigers look like contenders, with a power-packed lineup and a rotation led by a rejuvenated Justin Verlander and Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer. But they have just one top-100 prospect. It's tough to predict that nothing will go wrong for an aging club, making the under the safe pick.

What happened: A ton went wrong—including terrible declines by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Jordan Zimmermann—and Verlander won’t be around for the rebuild that is now in full swing.

Houston Astros

Prediction: OVER 87.5

2017 Wins: 101

We said then: The offense should be in the top five, but the front office's ability to add a top-end starter is what could push the club into the mid-90s. If it's not a trade for someone like Chris Archer, Sonny Gray or Jose Quintana, it'll be the promotion of fireballing prospect Francis Martes.

What happened: It was actually a trade for Justin Verlander – but by then the Astros were already 80-53, with the Over a lock. An offense that turned out to be not top five, but top one (an MLB-best 892 runs scored) will do that for you.

Kansas City Royals

Prediction: UNDER 81.5

2017 Wins: 80

We said then: The unthinkable death of Yordano Ventura in a January car accident deprived a thin rotation of its ace. A slow start could snowball and force GM Dayton Moore to trade away key players before their free agency, including Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.

What happened: They started slow—10-20—but Moore, not wanting to prematurely end the winning era he’d built, didn’t trade anyone. Maybe he should have, as a mediocre finish followed and the club now faces an uncertain future.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Prediction: OVER 92.5

2017 Wins: 104

We said then: There's a reason Baseball Prospectus' and Fan Graphs' projection models have L.A. at, respectively, 98 and 94 wins. Despite having no starter top 176 innings in 2016 and losing Clayton Kershaw for more than two months, they still comfortably took the NL West crown. The Dodgers are loaded.

What happened: They again had no starter top 176 innings. Kershaw again hit the DL, albeit only for just over a month this time. They still won the most games since the `04 Cardinals. Plus, Cody Bellinger. Loaded indeed.

Minnesota Twins

Prediction: OVER 70.5

2017 Wins: 85

We said then: They dropped 24 wins from 2015 to '16, so they only have to pick up half of those to hit the over. There's simply too much young talent in Minnesota—including Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano—for them to continue to be this bad.

What happened: The young players mentioned were all great: Berrios went 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA; Sano hit 28 homers; Buxton was the club’s second-ranked WAR leader (3.5). It added up to one of the odder three-season swings in baseball history, from 83 wins to 59 to 84.

Oakland A’s

Prediction: OVER 66.5

2017 Wins: 75

We said then: The A's are stuck in a purgatory between contending and rebuilding. But will they have their worst season in two decades? Unless Billy Beane goes into full teardown mode, a healthy Sonny Gray and a decent bullpen (buoyed by Santiago Casilla) makes that improbable.

What happened: Gray was good – 11-6 with a 3.43 ERA before Beane traded him to the Yankees. What really allowed them to avoid putridity was their surprising power: they quietly hit 233 homers this year, the fourth most in baseball.

Philadelphia Phillies

Prediction: UNDER 72.5

2017 Wins: 66

We said then: The Phillies lucked into their 71 wins last year: Their majors-worst –186 run differential suggests they should have won only 62 games. After a modest off-season (additions included Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders), improvement for the future-focused club is unlikely.

What happened: None of those additions did much—aside from Kendrick, who was traded to Washington—and their luck turned. They won four fewer games than they should have, based on their -92 run differential, though even average fortune wouldn’t have resulted in an Over.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Prediction: UNDER 85.5

2017 Wins: 75

We said then: A 20-game drop from 2015 hinged on two factors: Ace Gerrit Cole got hurt, and their best hitter, Andrew McCutchen, declined dramatically. Cole's elbow might hold up, but McCutchen is no lock to return to his MVP days. An eight-win bounce appears too high.

What happened: While McCutchen was good again – his OPS spiked from .766 to .848 – the club was otherwise punchless, second to last with 151 homers. And while Cole topped 200 innings, he did so while pitching to a career-worst 4.26 ERA.

St. Louis Cardinals

Prediction: UNDER 88.5

2017 Wins: 83

We said then: A rotation that had a middling 4.33 ERA last year was supposed to be bolstered by the flamethrowing Alex Reyes, Baseball America's No. 4 overall prospect. But the 22-year-old tore his UCL in February, banishing any thought that St. Louis might challenge the Cubs.

What happened: The rotation turned out to be better, with a ninth-ranked 4.11 ERA, thanks largely to Lance Lynn (3.43 ERA) and Carlos Martinez (3.64). But another middling season from the offense resulted in a second straight mediocre finish.

Tampa Bay Rays

Prediction: OVER 75.5

2017 Wins: 80

We said then: The Rays are perennially underfunded. In 2016 they were unlucky, too. Normal fortune, plus one of the AL's best rotations and a couple of advanced pitching prospects (Jose De Leon and Brent Honeywell) make them the most attractive "over" pick on this list.

What happened: Their luck was appropriate, as one of four teams (along with the Braves, Red Sox and Rockies) whose Pythagorean record perfectly matched their real one. While the rotation got just 2.2 innings out of DeLeon and Honeywell, it was still the AL’s fifth best (4.12 ERA).

Toronto Blue Jays

Prediction: UNDER 85.5

2017 Wins: 76

We said then: Will Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce adequately replace Edwin Encarnacion, the departed AL RBI king? Probably not. Otherwise, this is now an aging club, with 15 members of its likely 25-man roster older than 31. It's not a formula for getting better.

What happened: Morales and Pearce barely combined to outproduce Encarnacion (41 homers and 122 RBIs, versus 38 and 107), but there are, you know, two of them. That creaky roster spent 1,747 days on the DL, third most in the majors.

Washington Nationals

Prediction: OVER 90.5

2017 Wins: 97

We said then: For half a decade the Nationals have alternated 95+ win seasons with seasons of 86 wins or fewer. This is supposed to be the latter, but new import Adam Eaton, electric young shortstop Trea Turner and the return after a down year of a 10-WAR Bryce Harper will stop the oscillating.

What happened: It stopped, even though Eaton tore his ACL in April, Turner was out two months with a broken wrist and Harper, who himself missed more than 50 games, ended up with a 4.7 WAR. A sixth-ranked offense and third-ranked rotation helped them overcome all that.

THE BAD:

Los Angeles Angels

Prediction: UNDER 76.5

2017 Wins: 80

We said then: Mike Trout, with his annual 10 WAR, will never let the Angels be terrible. But two starters (Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano) lost to torn UCLs and a No. 1—Garrett Richards—trying to come back from one will mean an eighth straight season without a playoff win.

What happened: Trout was incredible, with a 6.8 WAR—the majors’ sixth best—in just 113 games, the others lost to a torn thumb. Heaney and Richards made only 11 starts. I don’t know. Andrelton Simmons was great? I guess, just, Trout.

Miami Marlins

Prediction: UNDER 76.5

2017 Wins: 77

We said then: The September boating death of Jose Fernandez was devastating in so many ways, the least of which is to the Marlins' on-field fortunes. They still have one of the NL's best outfields, but a rotation topped by Wei-Yin Chen and Edinson Volquez won't be enough.

What happened: The rotation was indeed awful, with a 5.12 ERA. The outfield was even better than expected, as Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich slugged 114 homers and drove in 337 runs – just enough to cost me a 22nd win.

Milwaukee Brewers

Prediction: UNDER 71.5

2017 Wins: 86

We said then: As owner Mark Attanasio told MLB.com in January, "It is essential that we do this rebuild correctly, and I think if we get too hung up on wins and losses, we're maybe not doing it [right]." In other words, while Milwaukee's farm system is excellent, its major league roster is lacking.

What happened: I definitely didn’t anticipate 30+ homers from Domingo Santana, Travis Shaw and Eric Thames, nor sub-3.90 ERAs from Chase Anderson, Zach Davies and Jimmy Nelson. David Stearns is a good G.M.

New York Mets

Prediction: OVER 90.5

2017 Wins: 70

We said then: Bartolo Colon is gone—!—but the Mets made the playoffs in 2016 despite a ridiculous run of injuries: Only one regular, Curtis Granderson, played more than 142 games, and they eventually lost 80% of their projected rotation. Even average health should translate into at least 95 wins.

What happened: It can always get worse, when you’re the Mets.

New York Yankees

Prediction: UNDER 83.5

2017 Wins: 91

We said then: GM Brian Cashman's 2016 trade-deadline maneuverings mean the Yankees of 2019 will be a force. But what about in the interim? Avoiding the club's first losing season since 1992 seems a reasonable goal. A suspect rotation behind Masahiro Tanaka suggests if they achieve it, it won't be by much.

What happened: I didn’t imagine that Luis Severino would vault into becoming a Cy Young contender, nor that CC Sabathia would return to being a borderline one. And, AARON JUDGE.

San Diego Padres

Prediction: UNDER 64.5

2017 Wins: 71

We said then: They've got one star-level hitter left, Wil Myers, and their new veteran rotation leader, Jered Weaver, can no longer throw even 88 miles per hour. The farm system is fertile, but it won't mature in time to keep the Padres from becoming the majors' only 100-game losers.

What happened: Weaver was horrible (he retired in August with a 7.44 ERA), and the Padres were horrible – much more horrible than their record. Their -212 run differential should, mathematically, have resulted in 13 extra losses. I guess losing 100 games is hard.

San Francisco Giants

Prediction: OVER 87.5

2017 Wins: 64

We said then: The Giants have won 88, 84 and 87 games over the last three years. They have virtually all of last year's key pieces and seem a lock to finish in that range again. A full season of Matt Moore and a solid new closer in Mark Melancon should be worth an extra win over last year.

What happened: A motor bike accident for Madison Bumgarner. Simultaneous regressions from Melancon and Moore, as well as Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Not a single hitter among the league’s top 126 in homers. Et cetera.

Seattle Mariners

Prediction: OVER 85.5

2017 Wins: 78

We said then: GM Jerry Dipoto's hyperactive winter brought 26 new faces to Seattle's spring camp. The nucleus, though, remains the same—and it's a good one, as the club ranked sixth in runs scored and eighth in ERA in 2016. Dipoto's fiddling should, at worst, ensure a repeat performance.

What happened: James Paxton: 24 starts. Felix Hernandez: 16 starts. Hisashi Iwakuma: six starts. Ariel Miranda: 29 starts. That’s what happened.

Texas Rangers

Prediction: OVER 85.5

2017 Wins: 78

We said then: Yes, the Rangers played over their heads last year; they only had a +8 run differential. But a 10-win decline seems too precipitous for an offense loaded with talent young (Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor) and old (Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli) and a rotation topped by Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels.

What happened: Their run differential was just 25 runs worse, but they won 17 fewer games. Ignore the luck gods at your peril.

<p>My pre-season MLB over/under picks—<a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/03/06/mlb-over-under-team-wins" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:published in early March" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">published in early March</a>, in which I predicted which of the league’s 30 teams would exceed Vegas’s projected wins total and which would fall short—came with a disclaimer: “Of course, you probably shouldn’t act on any of them.”</p><p>Sorry about that.</p><p>As it turned out, my picks went 21-9 this year. That means that if you had wagered $100 on each, and factor in the oddsmaker’s published vigs (which mean that you drop the whole bet if you lose but take home between $71.46 and $100 if you win), you’d currently be $906.59 richer.</p><p>There’s more.</p><p>When I tweeted out the story, I included my six “best bets.” </p><p>All six of them hit. Had you put down $100 more on a six-team parlay, you’d have won an additional $4,468.07.</p><p>That’s a total profit of $5,374.66, which means that you could now buy yourself <a href="https://www.truecar.com/used-cars-for-sale/listing/4M2EU47E58UJ06882/2008-mercury-mountaineer/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:this sweet 2008 Mercury Mountaineer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">this sweet 2008 Mercury Mountaineer</a>. Just 148,961 miles on that baby.</p><p>Of course, nobody did this, including me. (If you did – ping me at @BenReiter). Still, the lesson? Gambling is easy, and you can never lose.</p><p>Here’s when I went right, and where I went wrong.</p><h3><strong>THE GOOD:</strong></h3><h3><strong>Arizona Diamondbacks</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 78.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>93</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The only good part of a nightmare season like the one the D-Backs had in &#39;16? You have to wake up eventually. Morning could arrive in the form of a healthy A.J. Pollock and a rebounding Zack Greinke, superstars as recently as 2015 who could account for 10 extra wins.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Pollock stayed relative healthy (112 games played) and Greinke improved (4.37 ERA to 3.20) – but so did the rest of a pitching staff that allowed an incredible 231 fewer runs than it did last year.</p><h3><strong>Atlanta Braves</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 71.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>72</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The rebuilding Braves acquired several short-term veterans (Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Brandon Phillips) to help them avoid outright putridity in their new ballpark. The real reason they&#39;ll do it is a lineup that rapidly improved last season, from 30th—dead last—in runs before the All-Star Game to sixth after it.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The offense, led by Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte, did get better – to the tune of a 75-run boost. That was just enough to barely hit the over with a final day win, on the heels of a six-game losing streak.</p><h3><strong>Baltimore Orioles</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 84.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins:</strong> 75</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Maybe Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman can become co-aces, but the Orioles still have a rotation that will include Wade Miley (5.37 ERA in &#39;16) and Ubaldo Jimenez (5.44). They&#39;ll hit a ton of homers, but it&#39;s hard to win 85 games with a staff like that.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Their 232 homers were the league’s fifth-most – but not nearly enough to counterbalance a starting staff that was indeed the game’s worst, with a 5.74 ERA. As anticipated, no starter other than Bundy or Gausman had an ERA under 5.00.</p><h3><strong>Boston Red Sox</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 91.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>93</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>David Ortiz is gone, but let&#39;s not overreact. This is a club that had an AL-best +184 run differential and added possibly the best starter in the league, Chris Sale. The Sox also get a full season from the game&#39;s No. 1 prospect, Andrew Benintendi. Doesn&#39;t sound as if they&#39;ll win less.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They missed Big Papi, and still do, as their run differential declined to +117 and they slugged an AL-low 168 bombs. Sale, though, was at least the league’s <em>second-</em>best starter, leading a staff that was bettered in the AL by only the Indians’.</p><h3><strong>Chicago Cubs</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 96.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>92</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Winning 97 games is hard. Over the past decade, just 1.7 clubs per year have done it. The champs are a lock to run away with the NL Central, but they&#39;ll rely on three starters in their 30s (Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Jon Lester), any or all of whom could begin to regress.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Well, four teams won 97 this year, but the Cubs weren’t one of them. Arrieta, Lackey and Lester, perhaps feeling their age and last October’s extra workload, saw their combined ERA jump from 2.95 to 4.16.</p><h3><strong>Chicago White Sox</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 71.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>67</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Adam Eaton and Chris Sale have already been traded from the rebuilding South Siders. Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Jose Quintana and David Robertson could soon join them. The future&#39;s bright, but for now things will get worse as the Sox wait for their newly acquired prospects to mature.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Of the players mentioned, only Abreu remained with the Sox until the season’s end, leading to an Under-clinching 30-45 second half. But, damn, those prospects.</p><h3><strong>Cincinnati Reds</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 73.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>68</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>There is little reason to expect much improvement here. Joey Votto can&#39;t get better—his league-dominating second-half OPS last season was 1.158—but he can&#39;t win by himself, and a bullpen that gave up a record-smashing 103 homers added only Drew Storen.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Votto (1.032 OPS) was ridiculous, and he actually got some help from Zack Cozart, Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Eugenio Suarez, all of whom slugged 24+ home runs. But the pitching (NL-worst 5.19 ERA) was execrable in all facets.</p><h3><strong>Cleveland Indians</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 93.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins:</strong> 102</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>They won the second-most games in the AL last season despite losing their best hitter (Michael Brantley) for nearly all of it and two of their best pitchers (Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar) by its end. Can they win as many with those three healthy and a new slugger in Edwin Encarnacion? Seems likely.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>In fact, they should have won even more games than they did – 107, based on their MLB-best +254 run differential. This was always free money.</p><h3><strong>Colorado Rockies</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 80.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>87</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Rockies haven&#39;t surpassed 80 wins since 2010. The offense is as potent as ever, but it&#39;s a newly promising rotation fronted by Jon Gray—and supported by a deep bullpen that added Greg Holland and Mike Dunn—that could have them flirting with .500.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They actually scored slightly less this year – 824 runs, versus 845 last year. But Gray (3.67 ERA) did lead a staff that improved enough (4.91 ERA to 4.50) to account for a 12-win bump.</p><h3><strong>Detroit Tigers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 84.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>64</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Tigers look like contenders, with a power-packed lineup and a rotation led by a rejuvenated Justin Verlander and Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer. But they have just one top-100 prospect. It&#39;s tough to predict that nothing will go wrong for an aging club, making the under the safe pick.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>A ton went wrong—including terrible declines by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Jordan Zimmermann—and Verlander won’t be around for the rebuild that is now in full swing.</p><h3><strong>Houston Astros</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 87.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>101</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The offense should be in the top five, but the front office&#39;s ability to add a top-end starter is what could push the club into the mid-90s. If it&#39;s not a trade for someone like Chris Archer, Sonny Gray or Jose Quintana, it&#39;ll be the promotion of fireballing prospect Francis Martes.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>It was actually a trade for Justin Verlander – but by then the Astros were already 80-53, with the Over a lock. An offense that turned out to be not top five, but top <em>one </em>(an MLB-best 892 runs scored) will do that for you.</p><h3><strong>Kansas City Royals</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 81.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>80</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The unthinkable death of Yordano Ventura in a January car accident deprived a thin rotation of its ace. A slow start could snowball and force GM Dayton Moore to trade away key players before their free agency, including Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They started slow—10-20—but Moore, not wanting to prematurely end the winning era he’d built, didn’t trade anyone. Maybe he should have, as a mediocre finish followed and the club now faces an uncertain future.</p><h3><strong>Los Angeles Dodgers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 92.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>104</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>There&#39;s a reason Baseball Prospectus&#39; and Fan Graphs&#39; projection models have L.A. at, respectively, 98 and 94 wins. Despite having no starter top 176 innings in 2016 and losing Clayton Kershaw for more than two months, they still comfortably took the NL West crown. The Dodgers are loaded.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They <em>again</em> had no starter top 176 innings. Kershaw <em>again</em> hit the DL, albeit only for just over a month this time. They still won the most games since the `04 Cardinals. Plus, Cody Bellinger. Loaded indeed.</p><h3><strong>Minnesota Twins</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 70.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>85</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>They dropped 24 wins from 2015 to &#39;16, so they only have to pick up half of those to hit the over. There&#39;s simply too much young talent in Minnesota—including Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano—for them to continue to be this bad.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The young players mentioned were all great: Berrios went 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA; Sano hit 28 homers; Buxton was the club’s second-ranked WAR leader (3.5). It added up to one of the odder three-season swings in baseball history, from 83 wins to 59 to 84.</p><h3><strong>Oakland A’s</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 66.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>75</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The A&#39;s are stuck in a purgatory between contending and rebuilding. But will they have their worst season in two decades? Unless Billy Beane goes into full teardown mode, a healthy Sonny Gray and a decent bullpen (buoyed by Santiago Casilla) makes that improbable.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Gray was good – 11-6 with a 3.43 ERA before Beane traded him to the Yankees. What really allowed them to avoid putridity was their surprising power: they quietly hit 233 homers this year, the fourth most in baseball.</p><h3><strong>Philadelphia Phillies</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 72.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>66</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Phillies lucked into their 71 wins last year: Their majors-worst –186 run differential suggests they should have won only 62 games. After a modest off-season (additions included Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders), improvement for the future-focused club is unlikely.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>None of those additions did much—aside from Kendrick, who was traded to Washington—and their luck turned. They won four fewer games than they should have, based on their -92 run differential, though even average fortune wouldn’t have resulted in an Over.</p><h3><strong>Pittsburgh Pirates</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>75</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>A 20-game drop from 2015 hinged on two factors: Ace Gerrit Cole got hurt, and their best hitter, Andrew McCutchen, declined dramatically. Cole&#39;s elbow might hold up, but McCutchen is no lock to return to his MVP days. An eight-win bounce appears too high.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>While McCutchen was good again – his OPS spiked from .766 to .848 – the club was otherwise punchless, second to last with 151 homers. And while Cole topped 200 innings, he did so while pitching to a career-worst 4.26 ERA.</p><h3><strong>St. Louis Cardinals</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 88.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>83</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>A rotation that had a middling 4.33 ERA last year was supposed to be bolstered by the flamethrowing Alex Reyes, <em>Baseball America</em>&#39;s No. 4 overall prospect. But the 22-year-old tore his UCL in February, banishing any thought that St. Louis might challenge the Cubs.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The rotation turned out to be <em>better</em>, with a ninth-ranked 4.11 ERA, thanks largely to Lance Lynn (3.43 ERA) and Carlos Martinez (3.64). But another middling season from the offense resulted in a second straight mediocre finish.</p><h3><strong>Tampa Bay Rays</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 75.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>80</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Rays are perennially underfunded. In 2016 they were unlucky, too. Normal fortune, plus one of the AL&#39;s best rotations and a couple of advanced pitching prospects (Jose De Leon and Brent Honeywell) make them the most attractive &quot;over&quot; pick on this list.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Their luck was appropriate, as one of four teams (along with the Braves, Red Sox and Rockies) whose Pythagorean record perfectly matched their real one. While the rotation got just 2.2 innings out of DeLeon and Honeywell, it was still the AL’s fifth best (4.12 ERA).</p><h3><strong>Toronto Blue Jays</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>76</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Will Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce adequately replace Edwin Encarnacion, the departed AL RBI king? Probably not. Otherwise, this is now an aging club, with 15 members of its likely 25-man roster older than 31. It&#39;s not a formula for getting better.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Morales and Pearce barely combined to outproduce Encarnacion (41 homers and 122 RBIs, versus 38 and 107), but there are, you know, two of them. That creaky roster spent 1,747 days on the DL, third most in the majors.</p><h3><strong>Washington Nationals</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 90.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>97</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>For half a decade the Nationals have alternated 95+ win seasons with seasons of 86 wins or fewer. This is supposed to be the latter, but new import Adam Eaton, electric young shortstop Trea Turner and the return after a down year of a 10-WAR Bryce Harper will stop the oscillating.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>It stopped, even though Eaton tore his ACL in April, Turner was out two months with a broken wrist and Harper, who himself missed more than 50 games, ended up with a 4.7 WAR. A sixth-ranked offense and third-ranked rotation helped them overcome all that.</p><h3><strong>THE BAD:</strong></h3><h3><strong>Los Angeles Angels</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 76.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>80</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Mike Trout, with his annual 10 WAR, will never let the Angels be terrible. But two starters (Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano) lost to torn UCLs and a No. 1—Garrett Richards—trying to come back from one will mean an eighth straight season without a playoff win.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Trout was incredible, with a 6.8 WAR—the majors’ sixth best—in just 113 games, the others lost to a torn thumb. Heaney and Richards made only 11 starts. I don’t know. Andrelton Simmons was great? I guess, just, Trout.</p><h3><strong>Miami Marlins</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 76.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>77</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The September boating death of Jose Fernandez was devastating in so many ways, the least of which is to the Marlins&#39; on-field fortunes. They still have one of the NL&#39;s best outfields, but a rotation topped by Wei-Yin Chen and Edinson Volquez won&#39;t be enough.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The rotation was indeed awful, with a 5.12 ERA. The outfield was even better than expected, as Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich slugged 114 homers and drove in 337 runs – just enough to cost me a 22nd win.</p><h3><strong>Milwaukee Brewers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 71.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>86</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>As owner Mark Attanasio told MLB.com in January, &quot;It is essential that we do this rebuild correctly, and I think if we get too hung up on wins and losses, we&#39;re maybe not doing it [right].&quot; In other words, while Milwaukee&#39;s farm system is excellent, its major league roster is lacking.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>I definitely didn’t anticipate 30+ homers from Domingo Santana, Travis Shaw and Eric Thames, nor sub-3.90 ERAs from Chase Anderson, Zach Davies and Jimmy Nelson. David Stearns is a good G.M.</p><h3><strong>New York Mets</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 90.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>70</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Bartolo Colon is gone—!—but the Mets made the playoffs in 2016 despite a ridiculous run of injuries: Only one regular, Curtis Granderson, played more than 142 games, and they eventually lost 80% of their projected rotation. Even average health should translate into at least 95 wins.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>It can always get worse, when you’re the Mets.</p><h3><strong>New York Yankees</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 83.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>91</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>GM Brian Cashman&#39;s 2016 trade-deadline maneuverings mean the Yankees of 2019 will be a force. But what about in the interim? Avoiding the club&#39;s first losing season since 1992 seems a reasonable goal. A suspect rotation behind Masahiro Tanaka suggests if they achieve it, it won&#39;t be by much.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>I didn’t imagine that Luis Severino would vault into becoming a Cy Young contender, nor that CC Sabathia would return to being a borderline one. And, AARON JUDGE.</p><h3><strong>San Diego Padres</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 64.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>71</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>They&#39;ve got one star-level hitter left, Wil Myers, and their new veteran rotation leader, Jered Weaver, can no longer throw even 88 miles per hour. The farm system is fertile, but it won&#39;t mature in time to keep the Padres from becoming the majors&#39; only 100-game losers.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Weaver was horrible (he retired in August with a 7.44 ERA), and the Padres were horrible – much more horrible than their record. Their -212 run differential should, mathematically, have resulted in 13 extra losses. I guess losing 100 games is hard.</p><h3><strong>San Francisco Giants</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 87.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>64</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Giants have won 88, 84 and 87 games over the last three years. They have virtually all of last year&#39;s key pieces and seem a lock to finish in that range again. A full season of Matt Moore and a solid new closer in Mark Melancon should be worth an extra win over last year.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>A motor bike accident for Madison Bumgarner. Simultaneous regressions from Melancon and Moore, as well as Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Not a single hitter among the league’s top 126 in homers. Et cetera.</p><h3><strong>Seattle Mariners</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>78</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>GM Jerry Dipoto&#39;s hyperactive winter brought 26 new faces to Seattle&#39;s spring camp. The nucleus, though, remains the same—and it&#39;s a good one, as the club ranked sixth in runs scored and eighth in ERA in 2016. Dipoto&#39;s fiddling should, at worst, ensure a repeat performance.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>James Paxton: 24 starts. Felix Hernandez: 16 starts. Hisashi Iwakuma: six starts. Ariel Miranda: 29 starts. That’s what happened.</p><h3><strong>Texas Rangers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>78</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Yes, the Rangers played over their heads last year; they only had a +8 run differential. But a 10-win decline seems too precipitous for an offense loaded with talent young (Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor) and old (Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli) and a rotation topped by Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Their run differential was just 25 runs worse, but they won 17 fewer games. Ignore the luck gods at your peril.</p>
Over/Under: Which Teams Exceeded or Fell Short of Their Expectations?

My pre-season MLB over/under picks—published in early March, in which I predicted which of the league’s 30 teams would exceed Vegas’s projected wins total and which would fall short—came with a disclaimer: “Of course, you probably shouldn’t act on any of them.”

Sorry about that.

As it turned out, my picks went 21-9 this year. That means that if you had wagered $100 on each, and factor in the oddsmaker’s published vigs (which mean that you drop the whole bet if you lose but take home between $71.46 and $100 if you win), you’d currently be $906.59 richer.

There’s more.

When I tweeted out the story, I included my six “best bets.”

All six of them hit. Had you put down $100 more on a six-team parlay, you’d have won an additional $4,468.07.

That’s a total profit of $5,374.66, which means that you could now buy yourself this sweet 2008 Mercury Mountaineer. Just 148,961 miles on that baby.

Of course, nobody did this, including me. (If you did – ping me at @BenReiter). Still, the lesson? Gambling is easy, and you can never lose.

Here’s when I went right, and where I went wrong.

THE GOOD:

Arizona Diamondbacks

Prediction: OVER 78.5

2017 Wins: 93

We said then: The only good part of a nightmare season like the one the D-Backs had in '16? You have to wake up eventually. Morning could arrive in the form of a healthy A.J. Pollock and a rebounding Zack Greinke, superstars as recently as 2015 who could account for 10 extra wins.

What happened: Pollock stayed relative healthy (112 games played) and Greinke improved (4.37 ERA to 3.20) – but so did the rest of a pitching staff that allowed an incredible 231 fewer runs than it did last year.

Atlanta Braves

Prediction: OVER 71.5

2017 Wins: 72

We said then: The rebuilding Braves acquired several short-term veterans (Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Brandon Phillips) to help them avoid outright putridity in their new ballpark. The real reason they'll do it is a lineup that rapidly improved last season, from 30th—dead last—in runs before the All-Star Game to sixth after it.

What happened: The offense, led by Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte, did get better – to the tune of a 75-run boost. That was just enough to barely hit the over with a final day win, on the heels of a six-game losing streak.

Baltimore Orioles

Prediction: UNDER 84.5

2017 Wins: 75

We said then: Maybe Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman can become co-aces, but the Orioles still have a rotation that will include Wade Miley (5.37 ERA in '16) and Ubaldo Jimenez (5.44). They'll hit a ton of homers, but it's hard to win 85 games with a staff like that.

What happened: Their 232 homers were the league’s fifth-most – but not nearly enough to counterbalance a starting staff that was indeed the game’s worst, with a 5.74 ERA. As anticipated, no starter other than Bundy or Gausman had an ERA under 5.00.

Boston Red Sox

Prediction: OVER 91.5

2017 Wins: 93

We said then: David Ortiz is gone, but let's not overreact. This is a club that had an AL-best +184 run differential and added possibly the best starter in the league, Chris Sale. The Sox also get a full season from the game's No. 1 prospect, Andrew Benintendi. Doesn't sound as if they'll win less.

What happened: They missed Big Papi, and still do, as their run differential declined to +117 and they slugged an AL-low 168 bombs. Sale, though, was at least the league’s second-best starter, leading a staff that was bettered in the AL by only the Indians’.

Chicago Cubs

Prediction: UNDER 96.5

2017 Wins: 92

We said then: Winning 97 games is hard. Over the past decade, just 1.7 clubs per year have done it. The champs are a lock to run away with the NL Central, but they'll rely on three starters in their 30s (Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Jon Lester), any or all of whom could begin to regress.

What happened: Well, four teams won 97 this year, but the Cubs weren’t one of them. Arrieta, Lackey and Lester, perhaps feeling their age and last October’s extra workload, saw their combined ERA jump from 2.95 to 4.16.

Chicago White Sox

Prediction: UNDER 71.5

2017 Wins: 67

We said then: Adam Eaton and Chris Sale have already been traded from the rebuilding South Siders. Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Jose Quintana and David Robertson could soon join them. The future's bright, but for now things will get worse as the Sox wait for their newly acquired prospects to mature.

What happened: Of the players mentioned, only Abreu remained with the Sox until the season’s end, leading to an Under-clinching 30-45 second half. But, damn, those prospects.

Cincinnati Reds

Prediction: UNDER 73.5

2017 Wins: 68

We said then: There is little reason to expect much improvement here. Joey Votto can't get better—his league-dominating second-half OPS last season was 1.158—but he can't win by himself, and a bullpen that gave up a record-smashing 103 homers added only Drew Storen.

What happened: Votto (1.032 OPS) was ridiculous, and he actually got some help from Zack Cozart, Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Eugenio Suarez, all of whom slugged 24+ home runs. But the pitching (NL-worst 5.19 ERA) was execrable in all facets.

Cleveland Indians

Prediction: OVER 93.5

2017 Wins: 102

We said then: They won the second-most games in the AL last season despite losing their best hitter (Michael Brantley) for nearly all of it and two of their best pitchers (Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar) by its end. Can they win as many with those three healthy and a new slugger in Edwin Encarnacion? Seems likely.

What happened: In fact, they should have won even more games than they did – 107, based on their MLB-best +254 run differential. This was always free money.

Colorado Rockies

Prediction: OVER 80.5

2017 Wins: 87

We said then: The Rockies haven't surpassed 80 wins since 2010. The offense is as potent as ever, but it's a newly promising rotation fronted by Jon Gray—and supported by a deep bullpen that added Greg Holland and Mike Dunn—that could have them flirting with .500.

What happened: They actually scored slightly less this year – 824 runs, versus 845 last year. But Gray (3.67 ERA) did lead a staff that improved enough (4.91 ERA to 4.50) to account for a 12-win bump.

Detroit Tigers

Prediction: UNDER 84.5

2017 Wins: 64

We said then: The Tigers look like contenders, with a power-packed lineup and a rotation led by a rejuvenated Justin Verlander and Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer. But they have just one top-100 prospect. It's tough to predict that nothing will go wrong for an aging club, making the under the safe pick.

What happened: A ton went wrong—including terrible declines by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Jordan Zimmermann—and Verlander won’t be around for the rebuild that is now in full swing.

Houston Astros

Prediction: OVER 87.5

2017 Wins: 101

We said then: The offense should be in the top five, but the front office's ability to add a top-end starter is what could push the club into the mid-90s. If it's not a trade for someone like Chris Archer, Sonny Gray or Jose Quintana, it'll be the promotion of fireballing prospect Francis Martes.

What happened: It was actually a trade for Justin Verlander – but by then the Astros were already 80-53, with the Over a lock. An offense that turned out to be not top five, but top one (an MLB-best 892 runs scored) will do that for you.

Kansas City Royals

Prediction: UNDER 81.5

2017 Wins: 80

We said then: The unthinkable death of Yordano Ventura in a January car accident deprived a thin rotation of its ace. A slow start could snowball and force GM Dayton Moore to trade away key players before their free agency, including Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.

What happened: They started slow—10-20—but Moore, not wanting to prematurely end the winning era he’d built, didn’t trade anyone. Maybe he should have, as a mediocre finish followed and the club now faces an uncertain future.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Prediction: OVER 92.5

2017 Wins: 104

We said then: There's a reason Baseball Prospectus' and Fan Graphs' projection models have L.A. at, respectively, 98 and 94 wins. Despite having no starter top 176 innings in 2016 and losing Clayton Kershaw for more than two months, they still comfortably took the NL West crown. The Dodgers are loaded.

What happened: They again had no starter top 176 innings. Kershaw again hit the DL, albeit only for just over a month this time. They still won the most games since the `04 Cardinals. Plus, Cody Bellinger. Loaded indeed.

Minnesota Twins

Prediction: OVER 70.5

2017 Wins: 85

We said then: They dropped 24 wins from 2015 to '16, so they only have to pick up half of those to hit the over. There's simply too much young talent in Minnesota—including Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano—for them to continue to be this bad.

What happened: The young players mentioned were all great: Berrios went 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA; Sano hit 28 homers; Buxton was the club’s second-ranked WAR leader (3.5). It added up to one of the odder three-season swings in baseball history, from 83 wins to 59 to 84.

Oakland A’s

Prediction: OVER 66.5

2017 Wins: 75

We said then: The A's are stuck in a purgatory between contending and rebuilding. But will they have their worst season in two decades? Unless Billy Beane goes into full teardown mode, a healthy Sonny Gray and a decent bullpen (buoyed by Santiago Casilla) makes that improbable.

What happened: Gray was good – 11-6 with a 3.43 ERA before Beane traded him to the Yankees. What really allowed them to avoid putridity was their surprising power: they quietly hit 233 homers this year, the fourth most in baseball.

Philadelphia Phillies

Prediction: UNDER 72.5

2017 Wins: 66

We said then: The Phillies lucked into their 71 wins last year: Their majors-worst –186 run differential suggests they should have won only 62 games. After a modest off-season (additions included Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders), improvement for the future-focused club is unlikely.

What happened: None of those additions did much—aside from Kendrick, who was traded to Washington—and their luck turned. They won four fewer games than they should have, based on their -92 run differential, though even average fortune wouldn’t have resulted in an Over.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Prediction: UNDER 85.5

2017 Wins: 75

We said then: A 20-game drop from 2015 hinged on two factors: Ace Gerrit Cole got hurt, and their best hitter, Andrew McCutchen, declined dramatically. Cole's elbow might hold up, but McCutchen is no lock to return to his MVP days. An eight-win bounce appears too high.

What happened: While McCutchen was good again – his OPS spiked from .766 to .848 – the club was otherwise punchless, second to last with 151 homers. And while Cole topped 200 innings, he did so while pitching to a career-worst 4.26 ERA.

St. Louis Cardinals

Prediction: UNDER 88.5

2017 Wins: 83

We said then: A rotation that had a middling 4.33 ERA last year was supposed to be bolstered by the flamethrowing Alex Reyes, Baseball America's No. 4 overall prospect. But the 22-year-old tore his UCL in February, banishing any thought that St. Louis might challenge the Cubs.

What happened: The rotation turned out to be better, with a ninth-ranked 4.11 ERA, thanks largely to Lance Lynn (3.43 ERA) and Carlos Martinez (3.64). But another middling season from the offense resulted in a second straight mediocre finish.

Tampa Bay Rays

Prediction: OVER 75.5

2017 Wins: 80

We said then: The Rays are perennially underfunded. In 2016 they were unlucky, too. Normal fortune, plus one of the AL's best rotations and a couple of advanced pitching prospects (Jose De Leon and Brent Honeywell) make them the most attractive "over" pick on this list.

What happened: Their luck was appropriate, as one of four teams (along with the Braves, Red Sox and Rockies) whose Pythagorean record perfectly matched their real one. While the rotation got just 2.2 innings out of DeLeon and Honeywell, it was still the AL’s fifth best (4.12 ERA).

Toronto Blue Jays

Prediction: UNDER 85.5

2017 Wins: 76

We said then: Will Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce adequately replace Edwin Encarnacion, the departed AL RBI king? Probably not. Otherwise, this is now an aging club, with 15 members of its likely 25-man roster older than 31. It's not a formula for getting better.

What happened: Morales and Pearce barely combined to outproduce Encarnacion (41 homers and 122 RBIs, versus 38 and 107), but there are, you know, two of them. That creaky roster spent 1,747 days on the DL, third most in the majors.

Washington Nationals

Prediction: OVER 90.5

2017 Wins: 97

We said then: For half a decade the Nationals have alternated 95+ win seasons with seasons of 86 wins or fewer. This is supposed to be the latter, but new import Adam Eaton, electric young shortstop Trea Turner and the return after a down year of a 10-WAR Bryce Harper will stop the oscillating.

What happened: It stopped, even though Eaton tore his ACL in April, Turner was out two months with a broken wrist and Harper, who himself missed more than 50 games, ended up with a 4.7 WAR. A sixth-ranked offense and third-ranked rotation helped them overcome all that.

THE BAD:

Los Angeles Angels

Prediction: UNDER 76.5

2017 Wins: 80

We said then: Mike Trout, with his annual 10 WAR, will never let the Angels be terrible. But two starters (Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano) lost to torn UCLs and a No. 1—Garrett Richards—trying to come back from one will mean an eighth straight season without a playoff win.

What happened: Trout was incredible, with a 6.8 WAR—the majors’ sixth best—in just 113 games, the others lost to a torn thumb. Heaney and Richards made only 11 starts. I don’t know. Andrelton Simmons was great? I guess, just, Trout.

Miami Marlins

Prediction: UNDER 76.5

2017 Wins: 77

We said then: The September boating death of Jose Fernandez was devastating in so many ways, the least of which is to the Marlins' on-field fortunes. They still have one of the NL's best outfields, but a rotation topped by Wei-Yin Chen and Edinson Volquez won't be enough.

What happened: The rotation was indeed awful, with a 5.12 ERA. The outfield was even better than expected, as Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich slugged 114 homers and drove in 337 runs – just enough to cost me a 22nd win.

Milwaukee Brewers

Prediction: UNDER 71.5

2017 Wins: 86

We said then: As owner Mark Attanasio told MLB.com in January, "It is essential that we do this rebuild correctly, and I think if we get too hung up on wins and losses, we're maybe not doing it [right]." In other words, while Milwaukee's farm system is excellent, its major league roster is lacking.

What happened: I definitely didn’t anticipate 30+ homers from Domingo Santana, Travis Shaw and Eric Thames, nor sub-3.90 ERAs from Chase Anderson, Zach Davies and Jimmy Nelson. David Stearns is a good G.M.

New York Mets

Prediction: OVER 90.5

2017 Wins: 70

We said then: Bartolo Colon is gone—!—but the Mets made the playoffs in 2016 despite a ridiculous run of injuries: Only one regular, Curtis Granderson, played more than 142 games, and they eventually lost 80% of their projected rotation. Even average health should translate into at least 95 wins.

What happened: It can always get worse, when you’re the Mets.

New York Yankees

Prediction: UNDER 83.5

2017 Wins: 91

We said then: GM Brian Cashman's 2016 trade-deadline maneuverings mean the Yankees of 2019 will be a force. But what about in the interim? Avoiding the club's first losing season since 1992 seems a reasonable goal. A suspect rotation behind Masahiro Tanaka suggests if they achieve it, it won't be by much.

What happened: I didn’t imagine that Luis Severino would vault into becoming a Cy Young contender, nor that CC Sabathia would return to being a borderline one. And, AARON JUDGE.

San Diego Padres

Prediction: UNDER 64.5

2017 Wins: 71

We said then: They've got one star-level hitter left, Wil Myers, and their new veteran rotation leader, Jered Weaver, can no longer throw even 88 miles per hour. The farm system is fertile, but it won't mature in time to keep the Padres from becoming the majors' only 100-game losers.

What happened: Weaver was horrible (he retired in August with a 7.44 ERA), and the Padres were horrible – much more horrible than their record. Their -212 run differential should, mathematically, have resulted in 13 extra losses. I guess losing 100 games is hard.

San Francisco Giants

Prediction: OVER 87.5

2017 Wins: 64

We said then: The Giants have won 88, 84 and 87 games over the last three years. They have virtually all of last year's key pieces and seem a lock to finish in that range again. A full season of Matt Moore and a solid new closer in Mark Melancon should be worth an extra win over last year.

What happened: A motor bike accident for Madison Bumgarner. Simultaneous regressions from Melancon and Moore, as well as Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Not a single hitter among the league’s top 126 in homers. Et cetera.

Seattle Mariners

Prediction: OVER 85.5

2017 Wins: 78

We said then: GM Jerry Dipoto's hyperactive winter brought 26 new faces to Seattle's spring camp. The nucleus, though, remains the same—and it's a good one, as the club ranked sixth in runs scored and eighth in ERA in 2016. Dipoto's fiddling should, at worst, ensure a repeat performance.

What happened: James Paxton: 24 starts. Felix Hernandez: 16 starts. Hisashi Iwakuma: six starts. Ariel Miranda: 29 starts. That’s what happened.

Texas Rangers

Prediction: OVER 85.5

2017 Wins: 78

We said then: Yes, the Rangers played over their heads last year; they only had a +8 run differential. But a 10-win decline seems too precipitous for an offense loaded with talent young (Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor) and old (Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli) and a rotation topped by Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels.

What happened: Their run differential was just 25 runs worse, but they won 17 fewer games. Ignore the luck gods at your peril.

<p>My pre-season MLB over/under picks—<a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/03/06/mlb-over-under-team-wins" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:published in early March" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">published in early March</a>, in which I predicted which of the league’s 30 teams would exceed Vegas’s projected wins total and which would fall short—came with a disclaimer: “Of course, you probably shouldn’t act on any of them.”</p><p>Sorry about that.</p><p>As it turned out, my picks went 21-9 this year. That means that if you had wagered $100 on each, and factor in the oddsmaker’s published vigs (which mean that you drop the whole bet if you lose but take home between $71.46 and $100 if you win), you’d currently be $906.59 richer.</p><p>There’s more.</p><p>When I tweeted out the story, I included my six “best bets.” </p><p>All six of them hit. Had you put down $100 more on a six-team parlay, you’d have won an additional $4,468.07.</p><p>That’s a total profit of $5,374.66, which means that you could now buy yourself <a href="https://www.truecar.com/used-cars-for-sale/listing/4M2EU47E58UJ06882/2008-mercury-mountaineer/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:this sweet 2008 Mercury Mountaineer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">this sweet 2008 Mercury Mountaineer</a>. Just 148,961 miles on that baby.</p><p>Of course, nobody did this, including me. (If you did – ping me at @BenReiter). Still, the lesson? Gambling is easy, and you can never lose.</p><p>Here’s when I went right, and where I went wrong.</p><h3><strong>THE GOOD:</strong></h3><h3><strong>Arizona Diamondbacks</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 78.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>93</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The only good part of a nightmare season like the one the D-Backs had in &#39;16? You have to wake up eventually. Morning could arrive in the form of a healthy A.J. Pollock and a rebounding Zack Greinke, superstars as recently as 2015 who could account for 10 extra wins.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Pollock stayed relative healthy (112 games played) and Greinke improved (4.37 ERA to 3.20) – but so did the rest of a pitching staff that allowed an incredible 231 fewer runs than it did last year.</p><h3><strong>Atlanta Braves</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 71.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>72</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The rebuilding Braves acquired several short-term veterans (Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Brandon Phillips) to help them avoid outright putridity in their new ballpark. The real reason they&#39;ll do it is a lineup that rapidly improved last season, from 30th—dead last—in runs before the All-Star Game to sixth after it.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The offense, led by Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte, did get better – to the tune of a 75-run boost. That was just enough to barely hit the over with a final day win, on the heels of a six-game losing streak.</p><h3><strong>Baltimore Orioles</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 84.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins:</strong> 75</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Maybe Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman can become co-aces, but the Orioles still have a rotation that will include Wade Miley (5.37 ERA in &#39;16) and Ubaldo Jimenez (5.44). They&#39;ll hit a ton of homers, but it&#39;s hard to win 85 games with a staff like that.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Their 232 homers were the league’s fifth-most – but not nearly enough to counterbalance a starting staff that was indeed the game’s worst, with a 5.74 ERA. As anticipated, no starter other than Bundy or Gausman had an ERA under 5.00.</p><h3><strong>Boston Red Sox</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 91.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>93</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>David Ortiz is gone, but let&#39;s not overreact. This is a club that had an AL-best +184 run differential and added possibly the best starter in the league, Chris Sale. The Sox also get a full season from the game&#39;s No. 1 prospect, Andrew Benintendi. Doesn&#39;t sound as if they&#39;ll win less.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They missed Big Papi, and still do, as their run differential declined to +117 and they slugged an AL-low 168 bombs. Sale, though, was at least the league’s <em>second-</em>best starter, leading a staff that was bettered in the AL by only the Indians’.</p><h3><strong>Chicago Cubs</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 96.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>92</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Winning 97 games is hard. Over the past decade, just 1.7 clubs per year have done it. The champs are a lock to run away with the NL Central, but they&#39;ll rely on three starters in their 30s (Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Jon Lester), any or all of whom could begin to regress.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Well, four teams won 97 this year, but the Cubs weren’t one of them. Arrieta, Lackey and Lester, perhaps feeling their age and last October’s extra workload, saw their combined ERA jump from 2.95 to 4.16.</p><h3><strong>Chicago White Sox</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 71.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>67</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Adam Eaton and Chris Sale have already been traded from the rebuilding South Siders. Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Jose Quintana and David Robertson could soon join them. The future&#39;s bright, but for now things will get worse as the Sox wait for their newly acquired prospects to mature.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Of the players mentioned, only Abreu remained with the Sox until the season’s end, leading to an Under-clinching 30-45 second half. But, damn, those prospects.</p><h3><strong>Cincinnati Reds</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 73.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>68</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>There is little reason to expect much improvement here. Joey Votto can&#39;t get better—his league-dominating second-half OPS last season was 1.158—but he can&#39;t win by himself, and a bullpen that gave up a record-smashing 103 homers added only Drew Storen.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Votto (1.032 OPS) was ridiculous, and he actually got some help from Zack Cozart, Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Eugenio Suarez, all of whom slugged 24+ home runs. But the pitching (NL-worst 5.19 ERA) was execrable in all facets.</p><h3><strong>Cleveland Indians</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 93.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins:</strong> 102</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>They won the second-most games in the AL last season despite losing their best hitter (Michael Brantley) for nearly all of it and two of their best pitchers (Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar) by its end. Can they win as many with those three healthy and a new slugger in Edwin Encarnacion? Seems likely.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>In fact, they should have won even more games than they did – 107, based on their MLB-best +254 run differential. This was always free money.</p><h3><strong>Colorado Rockies</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 80.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>87</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Rockies haven&#39;t surpassed 80 wins since 2010. The offense is as potent as ever, but it&#39;s a newly promising rotation fronted by Jon Gray—and supported by a deep bullpen that added Greg Holland and Mike Dunn—that could have them flirting with .500.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They actually scored slightly less this year – 824 runs, versus 845 last year. But Gray (3.67 ERA) did lead a staff that improved enough (4.91 ERA to 4.50) to account for a 12-win bump.</p><h3><strong>Detroit Tigers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 84.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>64</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Tigers look like contenders, with a power-packed lineup and a rotation led by a rejuvenated Justin Verlander and Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer. But they have just one top-100 prospect. It&#39;s tough to predict that nothing will go wrong for an aging club, making the under the safe pick.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>A ton went wrong—including terrible declines by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Jordan Zimmermann—and Verlander won’t be around for the rebuild that is now in full swing.</p><h3><strong>Houston Astros</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 87.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>101</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The offense should be in the top five, but the front office&#39;s ability to add a top-end starter is what could push the club into the mid-90s. If it&#39;s not a trade for someone like Chris Archer, Sonny Gray or Jose Quintana, it&#39;ll be the promotion of fireballing prospect Francis Martes.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>It was actually a trade for Justin Verlander – but by then the Astros were already 80-53, with the Over a lock. An offense that turned out to be not top five, but top <em>one </em>(an MLB-best 892 runs scored) will do that for you.</p><h3><strong>Kansas City Royals</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 81.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>80</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The unthinkable death of Yordano Ventura in a January car accident deprived a thin rotation of its ace. A slow start could snowball and force GM Dayton Moore to trade away key players before their free agency, including Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They started slow—10-20—but Moore, not wanting to prematurely end the winning era he’d built, didn’t trade anyone. Maybe he should have, as a mediocre finish followed and the club now faces an uncertain future.</p><h3><strong>Los Angeles Dodgers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 92.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>104</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>There&#39;s a reason Baseball Prospectus&#39; and Fan Graphs&#39; projection models have L.A. at, respectively, 98 and 94 wins. Despite having no starter top 176 innings in 2016 and losing Clayton Kershaw for more than two months, they still comfortably took the NL West crown. The Dodgers are loaded.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>They <em>again</em> had no starter top 176 innings. Kershaw <em>again</em> hit the DL, albeit only for just over a month this time. They still won the most games since the `04 Cardinals. Plus, Cody Bellinger. Loaded indeed.</p><h3><strong>Minnesota Twins</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 70.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>85</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>They dropped 24 wins from 2015 to &#39;16, so they only have to pick up half of those to hit the over. There&#39;s simply too much young talent in Minnesota—including Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano—for them to continue to be this bad.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The young players mentioned were all great: Berrios went 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA; Sano hit 28 homers; Buxton was the club’s second-ranked WAR leader (3.5). It added up to one of the odder three-season swings in baseball history, from 83 wins to 59 to 84.</p><h3><strong>Oakland A’s</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 66.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>75</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The A&#39;s are stuck in a purgatory between contending and rebuilding. But will they have their worst season in two decades? Unless Billy Beane goes into full teardown mode, a healthy Sonny Gray and a decent bullpen (buoyed by Santiago Casilla) makes that improbable.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Gray was good – 11-6 with a 3.43 ERA before Beane traded him to the Yankees. What really allowed them to avoid putridity was their surprising power: they quietly hit 233 homers this year, the fourth most in baseball.</p><h3><strong>Philadelphia Phillies</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 72.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>66</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Phillies lucked into their 71 wins last year: Their majors-worst –186 run differential suggests they should have won only 62 games. After a modest off-season (additions included Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders), improvement for the future-focused club is unlikely.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>None of those additions did much—aside from Kendrick, who was traded to Washington—and their luck turned. They won four fewer games than they should have, based on their -92 run differential, though even average fortune wouldn’t have resulted in an Over.</p><h3><strong>Pittsburgh Pirates</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>75</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>A 20-game drop from 2015 hinged on two factors: Ace Gerrit Cole got hurt, and their best hitter, Andrew McCutchen, declined dramatically. Cole&#39;s elbow might hold up, but McCutchen is no lock to return to his MVP days. An eight-win bounce appears too high.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>While McCutchen was good again – his OPS spiked from .766 to .848 – the club was otherwise punchless, second to last with 151 homers. And while Cole topped 200 innings, he did so while pitching to a career-worst 4.26 ERA.</p><h3><strong>St. Louis Cardinals</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 88.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>83</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>A rotation that had a middling 4.33 ERA last year was supposed to be bolstered by the flamethrowing Alex Reyes, <em>Baseball America</em>&#39;s No. 4 overall prospect. But the 22-year-old tore his UCL in February, banishing any thought that St. Louis might challenge the Cubs.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The rotation turned out to be <em>better</em>, with a ninth-ranked 4.11 ERA, thanks largely to Lance Lynn (3.43 ERA) and Carlos Martinez (3.64). But another middling season from the offense resulted in a second straight mediocre finish.</p><h3><strong>Tampa Bay Rays</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 75.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>80</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Rays are perennially underfunded. In 2016 they were unlucky, too. Normal fortune, plus one of the AL&#39;s best rotations and a couple of advanced pitching prospects (Jose De Leon and Brent Honeywell) make them the most attractive &quot;over&quot; pick on this list.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Their luck was appropriate, as one of four teams (along with the Braves, Red Sox and Rockies) whose Pythagorean record perfectly matched their real one. While the rotation got just 2.2 innings out of DeLeon and Honeywell, it was still the AL’s fifth best (4.12 ERA).</p><h3><strong>Toronto Blue Jays</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>76</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Will Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce adequately replace Edwin Encarnacion, the departed AL RBI king? Probably not. Otherwise, this is now an aging club, with 15 members of its likely 25-man roster older than 31. It&#39;s not a formula for getting better.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Morales and Pearce barely combined to outproduce Encarnacion (41 homers and 122 RBIs, versus 38 and 107), but there are, you know, two of them. That creaky roster spent 1,747 days on the DL, third most in the majors.</p><h3><strong>Washington Nationals</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 90.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>97</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>For half a decade the Nationals have alternated 95+ win seasons with seasons of 86 wins or fewer. This is supposed to be the latter, but new import Adam Eaton, electric young shortstop Trea Turner and the return after a down year of a 10-WAR Bryce Harper will stop the oscillating.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>It stopped, even though Eaton tore his ACL in April, Turner was out two months with a broken wrist and Harper, who himself missed more than 50 games, ended up with a 4.7 WAR. A sixth-ranked offense and third-ranked rotation helped them overcome all that.</p><h3><strong>THE BAD:</strong></h3><h3><strong>Los Angeles Angels</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 76.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>80</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Mike Trout, with his annual 10 WAR, will never let the Angels be terrible. But two starters (Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano) lost to torn UCLs and a No. 1—Garrett Richards—trying to come back from one will mean an eighth straight season without a playoff win.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Trout was incredible, with a 6.8 WAR—the majors’ sixth best—in just 113 games, the others lost to a torn thumb. Heaney and Richards made only 11 starts. I don’t know. Andrelton Simmons was great? I guess, just, Trout.</p><h3><strong>Miami Marlins</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 76.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>77</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The September boating death of Jose Fernandez was devastating in so many ways, the least of which is to the Marlins&#39; on-field fortunes. They still have one of the NL&#39;s best outfields, but a rotation topped by Wei-Yin Chen and Edinson Volquez won&#39;t be enough.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>The rotation was indeed awful, with a 5.12 ERA. The outfield was even better than expected, as Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich slugged 114 homers and drove in 337 runs – just enough to cost me a 22nd win.</p><h3><strong>Milwaukee Brewers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 71.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>86</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>As owner Mark Attanasio told MLB.com in January, &quot;It is essential that we do this rebuild correctly, and I think if we get too hung up on wins and losses, we&#39;re maybe not doing it [right].&quot; In other words, while Milwaukee&#39;s farm system is excellent, its major league roster is lacking.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>I definitely didn’t anticipate 30+ homers from Domingo Santana, Travis Shaw and Eric Thames, nor sub-3.90 ERAs from Chase Anderson, Zach Davies and Jimmy Nelson. David Stearns is a good G.M.</p><h3><strong>New York Mets</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 90.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>70</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Bartolo Colon is gone—!—but the Mets made the playoffs in 2016 despite a ridiculous run of injuries: Only one regular, Curtis Granderson, played more than 142 games, and they eventually lost 80% of their projected rotation. Even average health should translate into at least 95 wins.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>It can always get worse, when you’re the Mets.</p><h3><strong>New York Yankees</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 83.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>91</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>GM Brian Cashman&#39;s 2016 trade-deadline maneuverings mean the Yankees of 2019 will be a force. But what about in the interim? Avoiding the club&#39;s first losing season since 1992 seems a reasonable goal. A suspect rotation behind Masahiro Tanaka suggests if they achieve it, it won&#39;t be by much.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>I didn’t imagine that Luis Severino would vault into becoming a Cy Young contender, nor that CC Sabathia would return to being a borderline one. And, AARON JUDGE.</p><h3><strong>San Diego Padres</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>UNDER 64.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>71</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>They&#39;ve got one star-level hitter left, Wil Myers, and their new veteran rotation leader, Jered Weaver, can no longer throw even 88 miles per hour. The farm system is fertile, but it won&#39;t mature in time to keep the Padres from becoming the majors&#39; only 100-game losers.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Weaver was horrible (he retired in August with a 7.44 ERA), and the Padres were horrible – much more horrible than their record. Their -212 run differential should, mathematically, have resulted in 13 extra losses. I guess losing 100 games is hard.</p><h3><strong>San Francisco Giants</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 87.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>64</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>The Giants have won 88, 84 and 87 games over the last three years. They have virtually all of last year&#39;s key pieces and seem a lock to finish in that range again. A full season of Matt Moore and a solid new closer in Mark Melancon should be worth an extra win over last year.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>A motor bike accident for Madison Bumgarner. Simultaneous regressions from Melancon and Moore, as well as Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Not a single hitter among the league’s top 126 in homers. Et cetera.</p><h3><strong>Seattle Mariners</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>78</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>GM Jerry Dipoto&#39;s hyperactive winter brought 26 new faces to Seattle&#39;s spring camp. The nucleus, though, remains the same—and it&#39;s a good one, as the club ranked sixth in runs scored and eighth in ERA in 2016. Dipoto&#39;s fiddling should, at worst, ensure a repeat performance.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>James Paxton: 24 starts. Felix Hernandez: 16 starts. Hisashi Iwakuma: six starts. Ariel Miranda: 29 starts. That’s what happened.</p><h3><strong>Texas Rangers</strong></h3><p><strong>Prediction: </strong>OVER 85.5</p><p><strong>2017 Wins: </strong>78</p><p><strong>We said then: </strong>Yes, the Rangers played over their heads last year; they only had a +8 run differential. But a 10-win decline seems too precipitous for an offense loaded with talent young (Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor) and old (Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli) and a rotation topped by Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels.</p><p><strong>What happened: </strong>Their run differential was just 25 runs worse, but they won 17 fewer games. Ignore the luck gods at your peril.</p>
Over/Under: Which Teams Exceeded or Fell Short of Their Expectations?

My pre-season MLB over/under picks—published in early March, in which I predicted which of the league’s 30 teams would exceed Vegas’s projected wins total and which would fall short—came with a disclaimer: “Of course, you probably shouldn’t act on any of them.”

Sorry about that.

As it turned out, my picks went 21-9 this year. That means that if you had wagered $100 on each, and factor in the oddsmaker’s published vigs (which mean that you drop the whole bet if you lose but take home between $71.46 and $100 if you win), you’d currently be $906.59 richer.

There’s more.

When I tweeted out the story, I included my six “best bets.”

All six of them hit. Had you put down $100 more on a six-team parlay, you’d have won an additional $4,468.07.

That’s a total profit of $5,374.66, which means that you could now buy yourself this sweet 2008 Mercury Mountaineer. Just 148,961 miles on that baby.

Of course, nobody did this, including me. (If you did – ping me at @BenReiter). Still, the lesson? Gambling is easy, and you can never lose.

Here’s when I went right, and where I went wrong.

THE GOOD:

Arizona Diamondbacks

Prediction: OVER 78.5

2017 Wins: 93

We said then: The only good part of a nightmare season like the one the D-Backs had in '16? You have to wake up eventually. Morning could arrive in the form of a healthy A.J. Pollock and a rebounding Zack Greinke, superstars as recently as 2015 who could account for 10 extra wins.

What happened: Pollock stayed relative healthy (112 games played) and Greinke improved (4.37 ERA to 3.20) – but so did the rest of a pitching staff that allowed an incredible 231 fewer runs than it did last year.

Atlanta Braves

Prediction: OVER 71.5

2017 Wins: 72

We said then: The rebuilding Braves acquired several short-term veterans (Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Brandon Phillips) to help them avoid outright putridity in their new ballpark. The real reason they'll do it is a lineup that rapidly improved last season, from 30th—dead last—in runs before the All-Star Game to sixth after it.

What happened: The offense, led by Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte, did get better – to the tune of a 75-run boost. That was just enough to barely hit the over with a final day win, on the heels of a six-game losing streak.

Baltimore Orioles

Prediction: UNDER 84.5

2017 Wins: 75

We said then: Maybe Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman can become co-aces, but the Orioles still have a rotation that will include Wade Miley (5.37 ERA in '16) and Ubaldo Jimenez (5.44). They'll hit a ton of homers, but it's hard to win 85 games with a staff like that.

What happened: Their 232 homers were the league’s fifth-most – but not nearly enough to counterbalance a starting staff that was indeed the game’s worst, with a 5.74 ERA. As anticipated, no starter other than Bundy or Gausman had an ERA under 5.00.

Boston Red Sox

Prediction: OVER 91.5

2017 Wins: 93

We said then: David Ortiz is gone, but let's not overreact. This is a club that had an AL-best +184 run differential and added possibly the best starter in the league, Chris Sale. The Sox also get a full season from the game's No. 1 prospect, Andrew Benintendi. Doesn't sound as if they'll win less.

What happened: They missed Big Papi, and still do, as their run differential declined to +117 and they slugged an AL-low 168 bombs. Sale, though, was at least the league’s second-best starter, leading a staff that was bettered in the AL by only the Indians’.

Chicago Cubs

Prediction: UNDER 96.5

2017 Wins: 92

We said then: Winning 97 games is hard. Over the past decade, just 1.7 clubs per year have done it. The champs are a lock to run away with the NL Central, but they'll rely on three starters in their 30s (Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Jon Lester), any or all of whom could begin to regress.

What happened: Well, four teams won 97 this year, but the Cubs weren’t one of them. Arrieta, Lackey and Lester, perhaps feeling their age and last October’s extra workload, saw their combined ERA jump from 2.95 to 4.16.

Chicago White Sox

Prediction: UNDER 71.5

2017 Wins: 67

We said then: Adam Eaton and Chris Sale have already been traded from the rebuilding South Siders. Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Jose Quintana and David Robertson could soon join them. The future's bright, but for now things will get worse as the Sox wait for their newly acquired prospects to mature.

What happened: Of the players mentioned, only Abreu remained with the Sox until the season’s end, leading to an Under-clinching 30-45 second half. But, damn, those prospects.

Cincinnati Reds

Prediction: UNDER 73.5

2017 Wins: 68

We said then: There is little reason to expect much improvement here. Joey Votto can't get better—his league-dominating second-half OPS last season was 1.158—but he can't win by himself, and a bullpen that gave up a record-smashing 103 homers added only Drew Storen.

What happened: Votto (1.032 OPS) was ridiculous, and he actually got some help from Zack Cozart, Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Eugenio Suarez, all of whom slugged 24+ home runs. But the pitching (NL-worst 5.19 ERA) was execrable in all facets.

Cleveland Indians

Prediction: OVER 93.5

2017 Wins: 102

We said then: They won the second-most games in the AL last season despite losing their best hitter (Michael Brantley) for nearly all of it and two of their best pitchers (Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar) by its end. Can they win as many with those three healthy and a new slugger in Edwin Encarnacion? Seems likely.

What happened: In fact, they should have won even more games than they did – 107, based on their MLB-best +254 run differential. This was always free money.

Colorado Rockies

Prediction: OVER 80.5

2017 Wins: 87

We said then: The Rockies haven't surpassed 80 wins since 2010. The offense is as potent as ever, but it's a newly promising rotation fronted by Jon Gray—and supported by a deep bullpen that added Greg Holland and Mike Dunn—that could have them flirting with .500.

What happened: They actually scored slightly less this year – 824 runs, versus 845 last year. But Gray (3.67 ERA) did lead a staff that improved enough (4.91 ERA to 4.50) to account for a 12-win bump.

Detroit Tigers

Prediction: UNDER 84.5

2017 Wins: 64

We said then: The Tigers look like contenders, with a power-packed lineup and a rotation led by a rejuvenated Justin Verlander and Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer. But they have just one top-100 prospect. It's tough to predict that nothing will go wrong for an aging club, making the under the safe pick.

What happened: A ton went wrong—including terrible declines by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Jordan Zimmermann—and Verlander won’t be around for the rebuild that is now in full swing.

Houston Astros

Prediction: OVER 87.5

2017 Wins: 101

We said then: The offense should be in the top five, but the front office's ability to add a top-end starter is what could push the club into the mid-90s. If it's not a trade for someone like Chris Archer, Sonny Gray or Jose Quintana, it'll be the promotion of fireballing prospect Francis Martes.

What happened: It was actually a trade for Justin Verlander – but by then the Astros were already 80-53, with the Over a lock. An offense that turned out to be not top five, but top one (an MLB-best 892 runs scored) will do that for you.

Kansas City Royals

Prediction: UNDER 81.5

2017 Wins: 80

We said then: The unthinkable death of Yordano Ventura in a January car accident deprived a thin rotation of its ace. A slow start could snowball and force GM Dayton Moore to trade away key players before their free agency, including Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.

What happened: They started slow—10-20—but Moore, not wanting to prematurely end the winning era he’d built, didn’t trade anyone. Maybe he should have, as a mediocre finish followed and the club now faces an uncertain future.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Prediction: OVER 92.5

2017 Wins: 104

We said then: There's a reason Baseball Prospectus' and Fan Graphs' projection models have L.A. at, respectively, 98 and 94 wins. Despite having no starter top 176 innings in 2016 and losing Clayton Kershaw for more than two months, they still comfortably took the NL West crown. The Dodgers are loaded.

What happened: They again had no starter top 176 innings. Kershaw again hit the DL, albeit only for just over a month this time. They still won the most games since the `04 Cardinals. Plus, Cody Bellinger. Loaded indeed.

Minnesota Twins

Prediction: OVER 70.5

2017 Wins: 85

We said then: They dropped 24 wins from 2015 to '16, so they only have to pick up half of those to hit the over. There's simply too much young talent in Minnesota—including Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano—for them to continue to be this bad.

What happened: The young players mentioned were all great: Berrios went 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA; Sano hit 28 homers; Buxton was the club’s second-ranked WAR leader (3.5). It added up to one of the odder three-season swings in baseball history, from 83 wins to 59 to 84.

Oakland A’s

Prediction: OVER 66.5

2017 Wins: 75

We said then: The A's are stuck in a purgatory between contending and rebuilding. But will they have their worst season in two decades? Unless Billy Beane goes into full teardown mode, a healthy Sonny Gray and a decent bullpen (buoyed by Santiago Casilla) makes that improbable.

What happened: Gray was good – 11-6 with a 3.43 ERA before Beane traded him to the Yankees. What really allowed them to avoid putridity was their surprising power: they quietly hit 233 homers this year, the fourth most in baseball.

Philadelphia Phillies

Prediction: UNDER 72.5

2017 Wins: 66

We said then: The Phillies lucked into their 71 wins last year: Their majors-worst –186 run differential suggests they should have won only 62 games. After a modest off-season (additions included Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders), improvement for the future-focused club is unlikely.

What happened: None of those additions did much—aside from Kendrick, who was traded to Washington—and their luck turned. They won four fewer games than they should have, based on their -92 run differential, though even average fortune wouldn’t have resulted in an Over.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Prediction: UNDER 85.5

2017 Wins: 75

We said then: A 20-game drop from 2015 hinged on two factors: Ace Gerrit Cole got hurt, and their best hitter, Andrew McCutchen, declined dramatically. Cole's elbow might hold up, but McCutchen is no lock to return to his MVP days. An eight-win bounce appears too high.

What happened: While McCutchen was good again – his OPS spiked from .766 to .848 – the club was otherwise punchless, second to last with 151 homers. And while Cole topped 200 innings, he did so while pitching to a career-worst 4.26 ERA.

St. Louis Cardinals

Prediction: UNDER 88.5

2017 Wins: 83

We said then: A rotation that had a middling 4.33 ERA last year was supposed to be bolstered by the flamethrowing Alex Reyes, Baseball America's No. 4 overall prospect. But the 22-year-old tore his UCL in February, banishing any thought that St. Louis might challenge the Cubs.

What happened: The rotation turned out to be better, with a ninth-ranked 4.11 ERA, thanks largely to Lance Lynn (3.43 ERA) and Carlos Martinez (3.64). But another middling season from the offense resulted in a second straight mediocre finish.

Tampa Bay Rays

Prediction: OVER 75.5

2017 Wins: 80

We said then: The Rays are perennially underfunded. In 2016 they were unlucky, too. Normal fortune, plus one of the AL's best rotations and a couple of advanced pitching prospects (Jose De Leon and Brent Honeywell) make them the most attractive "over" pick on this list.

What happened: Their luck was appropriate, as one of four teams (along with the Braves, Red Sox and Rockies) whose Pythagorean record perfectly matched their real one. While the rotation got just 2.2 innings out of DeLeon and Honeywell, it was still the AL’s fifth best (4.12 ERA).

Toronto Blue Jays

Prediction: UNDER 85.5

2017 Wins: 76

We said then: Will Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce adequately replace Edwin Encarnacion, the departed AL RBI king? Probably not. Otherwise, this is now an aging club, with 15 members of its likely 25-man roster older than 31. It's not a formula for getting better.

What happened: Morales and Pearce barely combined to outproduce Encarnacion (41 homers and 122 RBIs, versus 38 and 107), but there are, you know, two of them. That creaky roster spent 1,747 days on the DL, third most in the majors.

Washington Nationals

Prediction: OVER 90.5

2017 Wins: 97

We said then: For half a decade the Nationals have alternated 95+ win seasons with seasons of 86 wins or fewer. This is supposed to be the latter, but new import Adam Eaton, electric young shortstop Trea Turner and the return after a down year of a 10-WAR Bryce Harper will stop the oscillating.

What happened: It stopped, even though Eaton tore his ACL in April, Turner was out two months with a broken wrist and Harper, who himself missed more than 50 games, ended up with a 4.7 WAR. A sixth-ranked offense and third-ranked rotation helped them overcome all that.

THE BAD:

Los Angeles Angels

Prediction: UNDER 76.5

2017 Wins: 80

We said then: Mike Trout, with his annual 10 WAR, will never let the Angels be terrible. But two starters (Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano) lost to torn UCLs and a No. 1—Garrett Richards—trying to come back from one will mean an eighth straight season without a playoff win.

What happened: Trout was incredible, with a 6.8 WAR—the majors’ sixth best—in just 113 games, the others lost to a torn thumb. Heaney and Richards made only 11 starts. I don’t know. Andrelton Simmons was great? I guess, just, Trout.

Miami Marlins

Prediction: UNDER 76.5

2017 Wins: 77

We said then: The September boating death of Jose Fernandez was devastating in so many ways, the least of which is to the Marlins' on-field fortunes. They still have one of the NL's best outfields, but a rotation topped by Wei-Yin Chen and Edinson Volquez won't be enough.

What happened: The rotation was indeed awful, with a 5.12 ERA. The outfield was even better than expected, as Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich slugged 114 homers and drove in 337 runs – just enough to cost me a 22nd win.

Milwaukee Brewers

Prediction: UNDER 71.5

2017 Wins: 86

We said then: As owner Mark Attanasio told MLB.com in January, "It is essential that we do this rebuild correctly, and I think if we get too hung up on wins and losses, we're maybe not doing it [right]." In other words, while Milwaukee's farm system is excellent, its major league roster is lacking.

What happened: I definitely didn’t anticipate 30+ homers from Domingo Santana, Travis Shaw and Eric Thames, nor sub-3.90 ERAs from Chase Anderson, Zach Davies and Jimmy Nelson. David Stearns is a good G.M.

New York Mets

Prediction: OVER 90.5

2017 Wins: 70

We said then: Bartolo Colon is gone—!—but the Mets made the playoffs in 2016 despite a ridiculous run of injuries: Only one regular, Curtis Granderson, played more than 142 games, and they eventually lost 80% of their projected rotation. Even average health should translate into at least 95 wins.

What happened: It can always get worse, when you’re the Mets.

New York Yankees

Prediction: UNDER 83.5

2017 Wins: 91

We said then: GM Brian Cashman's 2016 trade-deadline maneuverings mean the Yankees of 2019 will be a force. But what about in the interim? Avoiding the club's first losing season since 1992 seems a reasonable goal. A suspect rotation behind Masahiro Tanaka suggests if they achieve it, it won't be by much.

What happened: I didn’t imagine that Luis Severino would vault into becoming a Cy Young contender, nor that CC Sabathia would return to being a borderline one. And, AARON JUDGE.

San Diego Padres

Prediction: UNDER 64.5

2017 Wins: 71

We said then: They've got one star-level hitter left, Wil Myers, and their new veteran rotation leader, Jered Weaver, can no longer throw even 88 miles per hour. The farm system is fertile, but it won't mature in time to keep the Padres from becoming the majors' only 100-game losers.

What happened: Weaver was horrible (he retired in August with a 7.44 ERA), and the Padres were horrible – much more horrible than their record. Their -212 run differential should, mathematically, have resulted in 13 extra losses. I guess losing 100 games is hard.

San Francisco Giants

Prediction: OVER 87.5

2017 Wins: 64

We said then: The Giants have won 88, 84 and 87 games over the last three years. They have virtually all of last year's key pieces and seem a lock to finish in that range again. A full season of Matt Moore and a solid new closer in Mark Melancon should be worth an extra win over last year.

What happened: A motor bike accident for Madison Bumgarner. Simultaneous regressions from Melancon and Moore, as well as Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Not a single hitter among the league’s top 126 in homers. Et cetera.

Seattle Mariners

Prediction: OVER 85.5

2017 Wins: 78

We said then: GM Jerry Dipoto's hyperactive winter brought 26 new faces to Seattle's spring camp. The nucleus, though, remains the same—and it's a good one, as the club ranked sixth in runs scored and eighth in ERA in 2016. Dipoto's fiddling should, at worst, ensure a repeat performance.

What happened: James Paxton: 24 starts. Felix Hernandez: 16 starts. Hisashi Iwakuma: six starts. Ariel Miranda: 29 starts. That’s what happened.

Texas Rangers

Prediction: OVER 85.5

2017 Wins: 78

We said then: Yes, the Rangers played over their heads last year; they only had a +8 run differential. But a 10-win decline seems too precipitous for an offense loaded with talent young (Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor) and old (Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli) and a rotation topped by Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels.

What happened: Their run differential was just 25 runs worse, but they won 17 fewer games. Ignore the luck gods at your peril.

Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez works against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Hernandez sharp, Mariners hit 4 homers in 7-1 win over A's
Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez works against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez works against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez works against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez works against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez works against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez works against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez works against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on September 25, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on September 25, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on September 25, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on September 25, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Seattle Mariners&#39; Felix Hernandez looks out from the dugout during a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners' Felix Hernandez looks out from the dugout during a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners' Felix Hernandez looks out from the dugout during a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws to a Texas Rangers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Odor's grand slam sends Rangers past Mariners 8-6
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws to a Texas Rangers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez, left, smiles at Texas Rangers&#39; Adrian Beltre as Beltre heads off the field after grounding out during the second inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. Hernandez had commented to Beltre about how quickly he ran to first. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Odor's grand slam sends Rangers past Mariners 8-6
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez, left, smiles at Texas Rangers' Adrian Beltre as Beltre heads off the field after grounding out during the second inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. Hernandez had commented to Beltre about how quickly he ran to first. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws to first base on a pick-off attempt against the Texas Rangers in a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws to first base on a pick-off attempt against the Texas Rangers in a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws to first base on a pick-off attempt against the Texas Rangers in a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez yells as he leaves the mound after being removed during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez yells as he leaves the mound after being removed during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez yells as he leaves the mound after being removed during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: Starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners reacts as he walks off the field after being pulled fourth inning of a game against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on September 20, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: Starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners reacts as he walks off the field after being pulled fourth inning of a game against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on September 20, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: From left, catcher Mike Zunino #3 of the Seattle Mariners, third baseman Kyle Seager #15, starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34, first baseman Yonder Alonso #10 and second baseman Robinson Cano #22 wait for manager Scott Servais at the pitcher&#39;s mound fourth inning of a game against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on September 20, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: From left, catcher Mike Zunino #3 of the Seattle Mariners, third baseman Kyle Seager #15, starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34, first baseman Yonder Alonso #10 and second baseman Robinson Cano #22 wait for manager Scott Servais at the pitcher's mound fourth inning of a game against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on September 20, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: Shin-Soo Choo #17 of the Texas Rangers greets Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers after both scored on single by Nomar Mazara #30 of the Texas Rangers off of starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning of a game at Safeco Field on September 20, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: Shin-Soo Choo #17 of the Texas Rangers greets Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers after both scored on single by Nomar Mazara #30 of the Texas Rangers off of starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning of a game at Safeco Field on September 20, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: Nomar Mazara #30 of the Texas Rangers hits a two-run single off of starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners to score Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers and Shin-Soo Choo #17 of the Texas Rangers game at Safeco Field on September 20, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: Nomar Mazara #30 of the Texas Rangers hits a two-run single off of starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners to score Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers and Shin-Soo Choo #17 of the Texas Rangers game at Safeco Field on September 20, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers congratulates Delino DeShields #3 of the Texas Rangers after DeShields scored on a fielder&#39;s choice by Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers off of starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners and error by third baseman Kyle Seager #15 of the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning game at Safeco Field on September 20, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers congratulates Delino DeShields #3 of the Texas Rangers after DeShields scored on a fielder's choice by Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers off of starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners and error by third baseman Kyle Seager #15 of the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning game at Safeco Field on September 20, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez, left, smiles at Texas Rangers&#39; Adrian Beltre as Beltre heads off the field after grounding out during the second inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. Hernandez had commented to Beltre about how quickly he ran to first. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez, left, smiles at Texas Rangers' Adrian Beltre as Beltre heads off the field after grounding out during the second inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. Hernandez had commented to Beltre about how quickly he ran to first. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez, left, smiles at Texas Rangers' Adrian Beltre as Beltre heads off the field after grounding out during the second inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. Hernandez had commented to Beltre about how quickly he ran to first. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws against the Texas Rangers in the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws against the Texas Rangers in the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws against the Texas Rangers in the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws to a Texas Rangers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws to a Texas Rangers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws to a Texas Rangers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: Starter Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on September 20, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: Starter Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on September 20, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

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