Padres Remain Part of Title-Less Eight


With a new year always come new optimism, goals, and gym memberships. For the 2016 San Diego Padres the optimism comes less from the Major League level except for the fact that Petco Park will be hosting the 2016 MLB All Star Game for the first time in its history.

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However, when you look at the other teams that have yet to win a World Series Championship, you might be inclined to think a little less positive. It is easy to also add in the Cubs here as after all they haven’t won a title since 1908. They seem the most likely to win a title next after making it all the way to the NLCS last year and THEN adding Jason Heyward.

The Tampa Bay Rays have only been a franchise since 1998, but continue to churn out competitive teams despite meager payrolls and do have Evan Longoria and other young pitching talent. 2016 doesn’t look to be a good year for them to make any change in their status.

The Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos franchise also is without a championship going back to the Expos expansion in 1969. Despite being heavy favorites last year to go all the way led by Max Scherzer and 2015 NL MVP Bryce Harper, they couldn’t get enough offense going or out of their own way. They fired manager Matt Williams and have brought on veteran skipper Dusty Baker to try and change their fortunes. This team has the talent and pocketbook to compete with the Mets in the NL East and could easily win it all in 2016 if they can get past the Cubs.

The Seattle Mariners have been around since 1977, and though they had some glory years in the 1990’s with stars like Ken Griffey Jr, Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez and Edgar Martinez have never even played for the World Series. Only them and the Nationals share that distinction. They are distinct in that they have Felix Hernandez who year in year out is one of baseball’s best pitchers and new GM Jerry DiPoto is quickly making moves to make them competitive quickly. They play in a difficult division though – with two more of the Titleless Eight in Houston and Texas. I don’t think they will get it done this season.

The Texas Rangers were a great story of 2015 – as they went all in on Cole Hamels at the trade deadline despite being over 6 games back at the time. It worked masterfully, as they won the division despite the Angels being favorites and the Astros holding down the top spot most of the season. They still have Cole Hamels, and if Prince Fielder can do what he did last year again, they will be right up there again. The big question for them is what they can get out of Derek Holland and other members of the rotation. They have shored up their bullpen and bench this off-season, but I believe they will have a tough time keeping up with Houston. They made back to back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011 and lost to the Giants and Cardinals respectively.

The Houston Astros are full of youth and a perfect example of a rebuilding project gone right. Led by Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and Dallas Keuchel last season, ownership went out and got Carlos Gomez and Scott Kazmir to get the Astros to the AL Wild Card, defeating the Yankees before losing to the Blue Jays in the ALDS. They added reliever Ken Giles to supplant their already strong bullpen and I expect them to absolutely have a shot at winning the World Series in 2016.

The Milwaukee Brewers surprised all of baseball by staying competitive in the race in 2014 but fell back dramatically last season despite a better season from Ryan Braun. Though they have Braun and a few other big stars, I don’t see them making many waves in 2016.

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The Rockies as well find themselves in a similar position as the Brewers, in that they have a few stars in Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado – but not enough else around them to really be competitive quickly. They last made the World Series in 2007 where they were swept by the Red Sox. They haven’t made the playoff’s since and in the NL West this season I expect them to simply battle the Padres for fourth place.

The Padres of course went for it all last season but failed to see the returns they were seeking. They have been to the World Series twice in their history, last being swept by the Yankees in 1998. They made the playoffs last in 2006 but with the spending of the Dodgers, Giants, and Diamondbacks this off-season I do not see them making a World Series in 2016. With the right development from their minor league players and a few more shrewd acquisitions, they could be ready for a surprise run in 2017.