In less than three weeks, Christmas will be upon us. Not to mention free agency has once again seen big moves made. Both baseball fans and front offices have their Christmas lists for their teams. But also, it is not always possible to get everything they want on their lists.
As the countdown continues for the “most wonderful time of the year”, here are a few teams from the National League, and just some things on their respective lists.
Christmas List: Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves came into 2018 with one the youngest rosters in the majors. The gratuitous amount of fight and hunger ultimately got Atlanta the NL East pennant and a spot in October. Ultimately, their playoff run ended to a much more experienced LA Dodgers team. What should appear on the Braves’ Christmas wishes is a couple of seasoned veterans with playoff experience. The knowledge that player(s) has obtained can help Atlanta not only keep their division pennant, but also make deeper playoff runs.
Another item on their Christmas List is an impact batter. Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman, and Nick Markakis did good amounts of damage. Not to mention Atlanta boasted the 5th highest team batting average last season. But they also ranked 19th in the league in most home runs hit. Adding more power in the batting order could extend their dominance.
Christmas List: Chicago Cubs
A big part as to why the Chicago Cubs are so imposing has been their pitching. In each of the last four seasons, the Cubs have ranked in the top 10 in lowest team ERA and batting average allowed. However, age will not play in the pitching staff’s favor for long. Most of their starting pitchers, like Jon Lester, are either in their 30s or approaching 30 years old. On Chicago Christmas list for 2019: young pitching prospects. These young guns could add to the pitching prowess of the Cubs, with the proper coaching, of course. Scouts and front office people should keep eyes out for any standouts in the minors and the next MLB Draft.
Christmas List: San Diego Padres
It’s pretty tough to be a Padres fan, especially in this decade. After going 90-72 in 2010, San Diego seemed headed in the right direction. But alas, 2010 would be their last winning season. On top of no World Series titles to call their own, the dark cloud hanging over Petco Park has no plans of leaving anytime soon.
Among the National League teams’ Christmas lists, San Diego’s is one of the longest, if not THE longest. Obviously, fans want a winning 2019 season for Christmas. But there is a steep mountain to climb before they get there. In addition, Christian Villenueva is now playing in Tokyo, Japan, which opens the competition even more open. With Hunter Renfroe and Craig Stammen as their best players right now, the Padres have a long way to go before reaching that winning season. As much as Padres fans probably are tired of hearing this, but it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
Christmas List: Washington Nationals
Without their All-Star, Bryce Harper, the Washington Nationals have work to do after this departure. Not to mention Harper turned down a 10-year, $300 million offer from the organization. Washington, meanwhile, has brought in former Arizona Diamondback ace, Patrick Corbin, and has beefed up their catcher position. Their fielding defense is well-oiled as well, arguably the best in the National League. Their offense, however, is now seriously lacking in fireworks, with Anthony Rendon as the next biggest bat.
What should grace the top of the Nationals’ wish list is another offensive savvy prospect. Ideally, this prospect could be a Miguel Cabrera-type hitter: quick learner, low pop-up rate, rarely makes the same mistake twice, and overall formidable contact hitter. With new additions, the Nationals continue to gear up for 2019. Manager Dave Martinez still has to find his footing as the new skipper. Not to mention he is the direct successor of Dusty Baker. But once he has, Washington could be back to reign over the NL East sooner than expected.
Featured image courtesy of Mark Gonzalez/Chicago Tribune
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