Thanksgiving is here, which means that it's the time of year to stuff our faces with lots of food, but also, to think about all the things that we're thankful for in our lives. Since we each do this personally, we figured it'd be fun to take a guess at what some of our favorite professional sports teams are thankful for as well at this time of year. We've been rolling out lists for each of the four major sports that give thoughts on what each team should be thankful for right now. Now, it's time for Major League Baseball.
(Ed. note: If you don't get sarcasm, this may be the wrong post for you).
Atlanta Braves- 2B Ozzie Albies
The Braves got a disappointing season from Dansby Swanson, but Albies' debut two months at the end of the season helped ease the pain. He hit .286/.354/.456 with 6 HRs and 28 RBI in that span. If Swanson bounces back, that's a heck of a double play tandem for the future in Atlanta.
Miami Marlins- New Ownership
Marlins fans had a hate-hate relationship with Jeffrey Loria during his 16-year tenure as owner. Now, he's out, with Derek Jeter and friends taking over. Does this mean a whole bunch of new money will be spent? Not necessarily. But, at least Loria is gone right?
New York Mets- End Of The Season
Seriously, this year was like a 6 month long episode of Simpsons House of Horrors for Mets fans. Everytime they turned around a pitcher's arm was falling off or a position player was coming up hobbling with a soft tissue injury. The Mets are happy to just turn the calendar to 2018.
Philadelphia Phillies- Rhys Hoskins/Aaron Nola
The Phillies are still rebuilding, but it seemed this year that Nola (career highs across the board) and Hoskins broke out to solidify two spots on the roster for the future. There's questions about plenty of the other guys on the roster, but those two look like building blocks.
Washington Nationals- A New Manager?
The Nationals have been unable to make noise in the postseason, so once again, they changed managers. In comes Dave Martinez, who will hope to get this team over the top before Bryce Harper hits free agency after next season.
Baltimore Orioles- LF Trey Mancini
Mancini was a bright spot for the Orioles as a young player who burst onto the scene on an otherwise older, veteran-laden team that struggled. A .293/.338/.448 slash line with 24 HR and 78 RBI is impressive.
Boston Red Sox- Another Year Off David Price's Contract
Price missed a ton of time with injuries this year, throwing just 74 innings, the fewest of his career outside of his brief appearance in the 2008 season with the Rays. The Red Sox did find success in the playoffs by bringing him out of the bullpen, but he's got another five years and $157 million left on his contract. Whoo boy.
New York Yankees- Young Core Players
Gary Sanchez. Aaron Judge. Luis Severino. Greg Bird. We haven't even seen Gleyber Torres yet. Take your pick. Seems like the Yankees are well stocked for the coming years. Ugh.
Tampa Bay Rays- Blake Snell/Jake Faria
The Rays continue to churn out young pitchers. Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi, Matt Andriese already on the roster and having traded away guys like David Price and Matt Moore in recent years, the Rays have more pitching coming up through the pipeline. If only they could figure out young position prospects.
Toronto Blue Jays- Not Giving In To Jose Bautista's Contract Demands
There was talk last winter that Bautista wanted multiple year, big-money contract from the Jays. Boy, did they dodge a bullet there. Bautista hit just .203/.308/.366 while striking out a career-high 170 times. Not a great year in Toronto, but this should cheer folks up a little.
Chicago Cubs- Bryzzo
Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo were really the only consistent parts of the team this year. The rest of the young guys seemed to take a step back, while Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester declined. The corners are well taken care of though Cubs fans. And you've still got Theo making moves.
Cincinnati Reds- Billy Hamilton
At least on a 70-92 team you had a guy who stole 59 bags in 139 games. Probably helped get through the long season.
Milwaukee Brewers- A Quick Rebuild
It looked as if the Brewers were set for a step back this season after trading several major players for prospects during the course of the 2017 season and off-season. But, the young team grew up quicker than expected, led by a rotation that got strong seasons from Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Jimmy Nelson. After finishing 86-76, in 2nd place in the NL Central, Brewers fans should be thankful that their rebuild seems to have gone relatively quickly.
Pittsburgh Pirates- Andrew McCutchen Resurgence
McCutchen had a horrible season in 2016, and many were speculating about whether or not he would be able to return to form. He did bounce back nicely this year, hitting .279/.336/.486 with 28 homers and 88 RBI. At the very least, that may make it easier to trade him this offseason. But, it's also possible that he's got a few more years left in him.
St. Louis Cardinals- "The Cardinal Way"
It's now been two straight post-seasons without the Cardinals playing. The good news for Cardinals fans, is that the franchise hasn't missed the playoffs in three straight seasons since '97, '98, '99.
Chicago White Sox- 2018 #1 Overall Pick
The White Sox accomplished exactly what GM Rick Hahn set out to this season. Lose badly, trade veterans for promising prospects, and get the top pick in next year's draft. Check, check and check.
Cleveland Indians- 22 game winning streak
Sure, things didn't work out in Cleveland as the Indians were hoping for a return trip to the Fall Classic to end their drought. But, they did provide us with one of the most ridiculous stretches of baseball that we've seen in a long time. Be proud Cleveland.
Detroit Tigers- Embracing the rebuild
Finally, towards the end of this year, the Tigers started to embrace the idea of rebuilding. A declining, older core of players, started to get moved for prospects that could jump-start the next ascendant team.
Kansas City Royals- That 2015 World Series Title
The core of the title team are almost all free agents this season. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, and Alcides Escobar are all on the market. The Royals aren't going to keep all of them and it's possible they all leave. So, some lean times may be coming, but at least you'll always have 2015 KC.
Minnesota Twins- 26 Game Turnaround, Wild Card Berth
The Twins were the worst team in baseball in 2016. Then, thanks to breakout seasons from some young guys and Ervin Santana continuing his run of luck from 2016, the Twins made the Wild Card Game. That's quite the turnaround and should have the folks in Minneapolis feeling pretty good to end 2017.
Arizona Diamondbacks- First Playoff Appearance Since 2011
The Diamondbacks roared back into the national conversation this season on the back of the steady Paul Goldschmidt, a solid pitching staff and a Babe Ruthian performance for second-half J.D. Martinez. It was a fun ride until they ran into the Dodgers.
Colorado Rockies- First Playoff Appearance Since 2009
Ditto here for the Rockies. Colorado actually found what looks to be a good, young pitching staff capable of playing in Coors Field (Rockies fans find every piece of nearby wood to knock on) while also getting continued excellence from Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon and others. Fun. Until the Wild Card.
Los Angeles Dodgers- World Series appearance
The Dodgers made their first trip to the Fall Classic since 1988. Granted, they lost in 7 games, but with the same group likely back again next year, there's a good chance we see the Dodgers late into the fall next season.
San Diego Padres- #2 pick in 2018 Draft
The Pads are following the same formula (cough tanking cough) that the Astros did a few years ago. Lose a lot, pick up high draft picks, try and find value internationally and hope to be good in a few years.
San Francisco Giants- Being A Preferred Destination For Giancarlo Stanton
Rough year for Giants fans as all the wheels came off. Madison Bumgarner missed a large chunk of the season due to injury, left field was a black hole they could never seem to capably fill, and one of their top young prospects, 3B Christian Arroyo, faltered in his 34 games (.192/.244/.304). But, they're apparently in the Stanton sweepstakes and Stanton has made it known he would prefer to go to Cali so........
Houston Astros- World Series win
This isn't hard. Houston won the World Series and looks like they'll be contenders for quite awhile. I'll be surprised if the partying in Houston stops prior to Spring Training.
Los Angeles Angels- Mike Trout
The one and really only reason to watch this team for the past several years. The best player in baseball.
Oakland Athletics- Progress Being Made on a New Ballpark
Praise the heavens. Oakland has needed a new ballpark in the worst way for years now. Good news! There's a design for a new ballpark. Granted, the A's don't own the land yet but, baby steps.
Seattle Mariners- The Playoff Drought Continuing
This seems weird, I know. Why would a fan base be thankful for the continued futility of their franchise. Trust me I get it. But, there's a certain knowing, empathetic look that you get from other franchise's fans when you're the long suffering fan base. Those can be comforting sometimes!
Texas Rangers- Ageless Wonder Adrian Beltre
Sure, the Rangers season didn't go the way fans would have hoped. But, they got another magnificent year from a 38-year-old Adrian Beltre who hit .312/.383/.532 with 17 HRs and 71 RBI. It may not have been fun watching the team fall short of expectations, but Beltre passing a few career milestones was.
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