We spent this week analyzing some of the biggest professional sports leagues in the U.S. so we could offer New Year’s resolutions for each one in 2016. First, we discussed a handful of suggestions for the NFL, and then we moved on to the NBA. Today, it is Major League Baseball’s turn. Unlike football and basketball, baseball is smack dab in the middle of its offseason. Therefore, it will be at least a few more months until we find out if any of these wishes come to fruition next year. With 2015 now in its waning hours, let’s check out four New Year’s resolutions for the MLB in 2016.
1. David Price: Win some games in the playoffs
This would certainly be a lofty resolution for the new Boston ace, but it’s a promise that Red Sox Nation would love to hear. It’s no secret that David Price has struggled in his postseason career, and some critics of the lefty’s humongous contract in Beantown point to that as a red flag. We feel that Price and the Red Sox should just focus on making it to the playoffs before worrying about the pitcher’s past.
Obviously a goal of winning some postseason games is a huge undertaking. First, the Red Sox need to fend off the other teams in their division, the AL East. Then, best-case scenario, Price will still be effective and healthy that late in the season and will have, at the very least, two chances to turn his October fortunes around. If Boston fails to secure the division crown though, they will have to square off in a do-or-die wild card game. Sure, this is a big resolution for Price to commit to, but it’s one that Sox fans need to see.
2. Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals: Meet the high expectations
Two of last season’s World Series favorites didn’t even qualify for the postseason. Last season featured very different paths for the Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals, but the end result was the same, unfortunately. The M’s were popular picks to take the AL West. Locked and loaded with Felix Hernandez at the top of the rotation as well as Robinson Cano and newcomer Nelson Cruz in the lineup, Mariners fans were prepared for their boys to make the postseason for the first time since 2001. Instead, the team struggled all year long to the tune of a 76-86 record, good for a fourth-place finish in the division.
For the Nationals, meanwhile, their team looked to be the very best in baseball on paper. The starting rotation was absolutely stacked and the offense was carried by a young core of Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon. Washington stayed in the race for much longer than Seattle, but their late-season failures were perfectly epitomized by the infamous choking incident between Harper and closer Jonathan Papelbon.
3. Chicago Cubs: You know what it is
Well, the Chicago Cubs’ New Year’s resolution has been the same for more than 100 years now. It will continue to be the same for another century if needed. The Cubbies’ plan for 2016 should be simple: Put their fans out of their misery. Break the curse. Win the World Series.
4. Yu Darvish: Come back healthy and ready to compete by July
Yu Darvish‘s 2015 campaign was over before it started. While it looks like the Texas Rangers ace won’t pitch in the bigs until at least May, the return of the Japanese righty can’t come soon enough, both for Rangers and baseball fans alike. When healthy, the 29-year-old can dominate even the most imposing lineups. His vast repertoire of above-average pitches and his stunning rate of strikeouts make Darvish one of the most entertaining pitchers to watch. If he can come back by the All-Star break and pitch like he has in the past, he and Cole Hamels make quite an impressive one-two punch atop the Rangers’ starting rotation.
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