Top 10 MLB teams going into the 2013 season
With Opening Day just a month away, we bring you our list of the top 10 best baseball teams going into the 2013 season.
10. St. Louis Cardinals
Despite not having a stellar season in 2012, the Cardinals proved they can come through in tough situations by beating the Braves in the NL Wild Card game and coming back from a six-run deficit to beat the Nationals in the NLDS. However, their bats fell silent in the NLCS and followed by not making any significant moves in the offseason. Regardless, the Cardinals are still a solid team with a lot of potential to have another great year.
9. New York Yankees
The Yankees were unusually quiet this past offseason, with former Red Sox and rival Kevin Youkilis being the only noteworthy addition. He will be needed from the get-go to fill in for Alex Rodriguez while he returns from hip surgery. Closer Mariano Rivera, who missed most of last season with a torn ACL, is set to return along with Derek Jeter, who was injured during the 2012 playoffs. Do the Yankees have enough to bring these two future Hall of Famers another ring?
8. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays had a huge offseason, making headlines when they acquired Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, among others, from the Marlins. They then added Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey and gave a risky one-year contract to Melky Cabrera. The Blue Jays are virtually a new team, giving fans hope of ending their current 19-year playoff drought, the third longest in the majors.
7. Cincinnati Reds
Despite their disappointing playoffs last year, the Reds did what they needed to do this offseason to fill their gaps. They turned to Shin-Soo Choo to address the center fielder position, and also signed infielder Jack Hannahan. We think the Reds have what it will take for another strong season, and maybe just enough to improve on last year’s performance in the playoffs.
6. Atlanta Braves
Two Uptons is way better than one for the Atlanta Braves, who acquired brothers B.J. and Justin Upton to play in the outfield alongside Jason Heyward, giving the Braves one of the strongest outfields in baseball. It will take some time for fans to move on from Chipper Jones’ retirement, but the Upton brothers will sure help ease the transition into the post-Chipper era, especially if they can make it past the Wild Card game this year.
5. Los Angeles Dodgers
Signing Zack Greinke to a six-year, $147 million contract may sound crazy to some, but it just may be crazy enough to work for the Dodgers. We think that Greinke, who was perhaps the top free agent on the market not named Josh Hamilton, may be the last piece of the puzzle to turn the Dodgers into strong contenders this year.
4. Washington Nationals
The Nationals have slowly been building a long-time struggling team into a winning franchise, and outfielder Denard Span and starting pitcher Dan Haren may be just what was missing in DC. Could they be the ones that help the Nationals bring the first-ever World Series championship to the nation’s capital?
3. Los Angeles Angels
As if Albert Pujols and young stud Mike Trout didn’t provide the Angels with enough power, they added outfielder Josh Hamilton by signing him to a five-year, $125 million deal. They then went out and added pitcher Jose Vargas to a lineup that already consists of Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, making them one of the most solid clubs in the league.
2. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers’ biggest acquisition of the offseason was outfielder Torii Hunter, who had a very impressive 2012 season. By adding him to a roster that already included the likes of Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez, the Tigers are true contenders for the AL pennant, and maybe this is the year where they finally win it all.
1. San Francisco Giants
Perhaps the biggest change for the reigning World Champions is Tim Lincecum’s new hairdo. They did lose Melky Cabrera and closer Brian Wilson, but they did just fine without them in the playoffs. The Giants have now won two of the last three World Series and may just have enough to repeat, which would make them the first team to do so since the 2000 Yankees.