A Wild Offseason Terminates with the Makings of an Exciting Season

by James Stewart, Sports Beat Manager

Following the ninth all time lockout (work stoppage) in Major League Baseball (MLB) history, and the first in over 25 years it seemed as if the MLB and its player’s union would never be able to agree to a new labor agreement.

This would not only push back the start of Spring Training, but also the start of the regular season. To the demise of fans this could potentially lead to some of their favorite teams’ opening games being canceled completely.

After 99 long days on March 12, the MLB player’s union and MLB owners agreed on terms to a new contract which would allow the season to start on April 7. After a long three months fans around the country were finally able to take a deep breath, and know that they would soon be able to watch their favorite teams and players take the field soon.

Teams to Watch

New York Mets: One of the most supported teams here at Glen Rock High School (35% of students picked as their favorite team) is the New York Mets. Led by the starting pitching duo of Jacob deGrom, and newly acquired Max Scherzer, the Mets will look to their pitching staff to carry the load for a team that had their 2021 season derailed by injuries finishing with a 77-85 record.

First baseman Pete Alonso, and shortstop Francisco Lindor will hold the keys to the Mets offense this season who will need to put a lot of runs on the board as over the past few seasons, the Mets relief pitchers have been known to blow games where the Mets hold a late lead.

Other newly acquired players will also need to make immediate impacts for the team, especially outfielder Starling Marte, and third baseman Eduardo Escobar who both signed large contracts with the Mets this offseason.

New York Yankees: Another team that is heavily supported by almost half of the student body (45%) here at GRHS is the New York Yankees. The Yankees will look to extend their MLB record of World Series titles this season by winning their 28th championship since the World Series began in 1903.

The Yankees will lean on the power bats of outfielders Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton to be the driving force of their offense while starting pitcher Gerrit Cole will be the team’s ace on the mound. The Yankees made the playoffs last season with a record of 92-70, but were ousted in the Wild Card round by their arch rival Boston Red Sox by a score of 6-2.

Other players on the Yankees including second baseman DJ LeMahieu, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and newly acquired third baseman Josh Donaldson will have to continue to produce in order for the Yankees to make a deep push into the playoffs.

Los Angeles Dodgers: One of the favorites to win the World Series this season is the Los Angeles Dodgers. By far the most star studded lineup in the MLB comes off a season where they fell two games short of making the World Series and had an amazing record of 106-56.

From outfielder Mookie Betts, to shortstop Trea Turner, and newly acquired first baseman Freddie Freeman, offense will be a premium for the Dodgers this season who will look to continue their dominance in the National League.

Atlanta Braves: The final team that GRHS students will keep an eye on this season are the defending World Series champions, the Atlanta Braves. After losing star first baseman Freddie Freeman this offseason, the Braves were quick to replace him with former Oakland A’s first baseman Matt Olson.

The Braves will also look to their young stars who have hopes of winning back to back World Series for the first time in franchise history. Outfielder Ronald Acuña will make his return from a torn ACL, and second baseman Ozzie Albies will look to continue the success that he found during the Braves postseason run last year.

Old Faces in New Places

Following the end of the lockout, MLB fans here at GRHS and around the world experienced one of the wildest two week periods in MLB history. Several big name superstars were either traded to a new team, or signed to a new club as a free agent, and some signings will shake up the league for years to come.

One of the most surprising deals of the offseason was shortstop Carlos Correa leaving the Houston Astros to sign a 3 year contract worth $105.3 million with the Minnesota Twins. Correa was a key piece of the 2017 Astros team that won the World Series, and Correa will look to be the centerpiece to a rebuilding Twins team that has not won a World Series since 1991.

Another shocking deal this offseason included reigning World Series Champion first baseman, Freddie Freeman signing a 6 year, $162 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Freeman had spent his first 12 seasons in the MLB with the Atlanta Braves, and last season led them to their first World Series since 1995.

Freeman is the latest addition to a star studded Dodgers roster that has won the National League pennant three times over the last five seasons, but has only won one World Series title (2020) over that stretch.

The Texas Rangers also made a splash in free agency this offseason signing former Toronto Blue Jays second baseman, Marcus Semien to a seven year contract worth $175 million. The Rangers also signed former Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager to a 10 year contract worth an eye popping $325 million.

Another star shortstop that changed teams this offseason was former Colorado Rockie star Trevor Story. Story left Colorado to join the Boston Red Sox on a deal that will pay out $140 million over 6 years.

The Red Sox have not captured a World Series Title since 2018, but they fell just two wins short of making the World Series last season, and Story will look to be the missing piece for another championship run in Boston.

Other major deals include Javier Báez signing a 6 year $140 contract with the Detroit Tigers, Kris Bryant signing with the Rockies (7 years, $182 million), and Marcus Stroman signing with the Chicago Cubs (3 years, $71 million).

As big as these deals were, about 40% of students here at GRHS believed that the most important signing of this offseason was starting pitcher Max Scherzer leaving the Washington Nationals to sign a 3 year, $130 million contract with the New York Mets.

The Mets already have an ace pitcher in Jacob deGrom, and Scherzer will only make it even more challenging for opposing hitters when they have to face the Mets.