As the 2023 MLB regular season comes to a close, early October golf trips and vacations have been long planned for many of the league’s teams. A grueling 162-game season is bound to come with a lesson or two about the direction of your franchise and/or the capability of your leadership.

Here is what MLB’s losing teams of 2023 learned this year, including some harsh truths and tough realities. Teams that flirted with .500 for most of the year, like our hometown Red Sox and Yankees, are excluded. Being mediocre is often worse than being bad…

New York Mets – Wall Street was wrong, money does sleep 

Almost $350 million in payroll, paying Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander to play for other teams, darn close to last-place, and a checked-out Buck Showalter. This was supposed to be the year where they would cruise to 115 wins, but money does not equal success in baseball (ask Brian Cashman) and in just six months, the future in Queens looks bleak. 

Oakland Athletics – They have some interesting (trade) pieces

Listen, we know that Oakland has no interest in competing as long as they are in Oakland. I get it, I suppose. But they’ve had a couple of guys breakout this year – Esteury Ruiz has stolen 63 bases hitting primarily leadoff, Brent Rooker has hit 29 homers with a 128 OPS+, and Zack Gelof* has had a 13/13 season in only 62 games. They won’t be in Oakland for long, so look for all these names at next year’s trade deadline. 

*I’m really high on Gelof. I think he could be a “big banner in the ballpark” kinda guy.  

Los Angeles Angels – Nothing. They’ve learned nothing. 

I hate them. And you should too. 

Colorado Rockies – It will never get better.

They don’t have major league talent, they don’t have minor league talent, and they’ve never really shown that they know how to run a franchise. GM Bill Schmidt is a lamb, and they like it that way. As long as they keep making their money, things aren’t going to change. 

Chicago White Sox – It might get better.

This season has been a disaster. In a division that was for anyone’s taking, they might lose 100 games. Liam Hendricks got diagnosed with cancer and when he returned healthy, he pitched for about a week until he needed Tommy John. Andrew Benintendi got the biggest contract in franchise history and hasn’t been worth a dime of it. Mike Clevinger is a POS.

But they fired Rick Hahn and promoted Chris Getz to GM, so they at least want to make it look like they care. We will see…

Detroit Tigers – Well, at least the Lions are fun again! 

Dan Campbell! Jared Goff! Amon-Ra St. Brown! Aidan Hutchinson!

Kansas City Royals – Well, at least the Chiefs are still good!

Andy Reid! Patrick Mahomes! Travis Kelce! Taylor Swift!

Washington Nationals – The rebuild won’t take as long as they thought.

When the Nats shipped out Max Scherzer and Trea Turner in ’21, then turned around and dealt Juan Soto a year later in ’22, it made 2019 look like the distant past. It was full rebuild time. However, they’ve had several bright spots this season and it might not take as long to rebuild as they initially thought. The two most important positions are filled: CJ Abrams has earned 3.5 WAR at shortstop and Lane Thomas has been good for 3.3 WAR in centerfield. Keibert Ruiz has been solid behind the dish. Lone All-Star Josiah Gray has improved significantly since his first full season last year. Stone Garrett* was even playing pretty well before his leg exploded in the Yankee Stadium outfield. They’re gonna be worth the price of admission sooner rather than later. 

*a perfect baseball name 

Pittsburgh Pirates – It could be worse…

They were at least good for some of the season! They held first place in the division for a while! Mitch Keller has turned out to be a stud and could be a Cy candidate if he just, you know, kept the earned runs down. Ke’Bryan Hayes has held down third for a 4.3 WAR. And don’t forget that O’Neill Cruz will return next year. This year wasn’t it, but they got better and that’s all they can ask for. They’ve definitely seen worse. 

Cleveland Guardians – Some shakeups are needed.

They should’ve been a division contender, but instead, they stunk. They are wasting the talents of José Ramirez, Josh Naylor, Steven Kwan, Andrés Giménez, Tanner Bibee … and don’t forget that Emmanuel Clase can be really good. With Terry Francona not-so hinting at retirement, they might need some larger shake-ups organization-wide. Performance like this from a team like this doesn’t make any sense. 

San Diego Padres – Old guys don’t play as well.

Rich Hill, Nelson Cruz, Matt Carpenter, Yu Darvish – all above 35 years old. Gary Sanchez and Michael Wacha’s best days are behind them. That’s also true of Xander Bogaerts, who is wrapping up a career-terrible year – the first of his eleven-year contract. They’re only the tenth oldest team, believe it or not, but the Dodgers, Astros, Braves, and Rangers at least know what to do with those old guys. The Padres, on the other hand, are both old and hopeless. 

St. Louis Cardinals – This is what rock-bottom feels like.

It can’t get any worse than this, right? 

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