OPENING DAY Offseason Recap: 3 Key Takeaways
Christmas comes early this year as we get the earliest Opening Day in MLB history and it was scheduled to feature all 30 teams. I’m still trying to decide if Mother Nature interfered or the Reds and Nats mutually agreed to sit this one out due to lack of talent and crippling inability to win a playoff series, but I digress. An eventful offseason no doubt but I feel three headlines can sum it up: “Defending Champs get Better,” “Yankees do more Yankee Shit,” and “Japanese make West Coast Waves.”
“Defending Champs get Better”
If we learned anything from last year, it would have to be that the Astros are a damn good ball club. While it was no secret they were stacked with young talent, it was expected they were a few years away. SPOILER ALERT: They are here and will be for a while. The offseason acquisition of 27-year-old Gerrit Cole should help solidify that presumption. I look for him to find comfort in the 4th spot of that rotation and have a bounce-back campaign in 2018. Once Gurriel returns from suspension for “bein’ all racist” in the World Series, all of their starters will be back and look to repeat as World Champs.
“Yankees do more Yankee Shit”
Not be outdone by the team that ousted them in Game 7 of the ALCS, as the title suggested, the Yankees did more Yankee shit. Despite having arguably, the second-best right-fielder in the game, they go out and sign the best in Giancarlo Stanton. Despite leading the MLB in bombs last year (241), they sign a guy who hit 59 of his team’s 194. AND, despite making it to Game 7 in a projected “down year,” they part ways with their skipper, Joe Girardi. And who do the damn Yankees select to manage the re-vamped Bronx Baby Bombers? Aaron F***in Boone. In the profound words of every basic white girl ever, “I can’t even!”
“Japanese make West Coast Waves”
I’m not sure where to start, the return of Ichiro or the introduction of Ohtani, so I’ll default to proof taking precedence over potential.
Ichiro Suzuki is BACK at 44 years-young and is “run swinging” his way into the Opening Day starting line-up for the Mariners tonight at Safeco. The hype was very real for this guy, recording the most hits by a foreign-born player and 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons, the most by any player, EVER. I look forward to seeing what he does for Seattle this season.
At 23 years-old, Shohei Ohtani has a lot live up to. He brings a versatility that hasn’t been seen at the Major League level in quite some time, as both a position player and starting pitcher. The 6’4”, 200 lb, left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing prospect struggled for the Angels throughout Spring Training, posting an ERA of 27.0 and a batting average of .125. Maybe he’s saving us best stuff for the regular season. We will see Sunday when he takes the mound in Oakland, maybe sooner if he’s able to get some at-bats prior to that.
Dick Doyle is the Lead MLB Analyst for The SoBros Network. A former player and coach, Doyle is a firm believer in that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Follow on Twitter: @SoBro_DickyD