Your annual "all hope is lost in the AL East" story

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It’s from Ken Rosenthal this year, who thinks that the rest of the AL East should “just give up.”  It’s less an argument than a rundown of the the deals the Red Sox and Yankees have made so far this offseason, and which Rosenthal thinks aren’t over yet (“I guarantee you, their outfield next season will not be
Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner”).

Look, I know it sucks really, really bad to be a fan of an AL East team that isn’t New York or Boston, but multiple people write this same article every year, and it’s a lazy exercise.

Lazy because it it ignores the fact that the Rays are a really, really good team from top to bottom. A team that, while they definitely underperformed last year, was in striking distance for a large part of the season.  A team whose fans certainly aren’t giving up.

Lazy because it assumes that Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada are going to be effective forever. That Kevin Youkilis won’t take a little step back. That CC Sabathia or Jon Lester or anyone else won’t blow out his elbow.  I’m not suggesting that the Jays, Orioles and Rays need to pin their hopes on some disaster to win anything, but why is it so hard to analyze what actually happens in a given year as opposed to just assuming that what happened last year will happen next year?

The financial structure of the game is what it is, and for many fans, it’s depressing.  But if it’s so depressing that you “just give up” on following the games and rooting for your team, you may as not watch any baseball at all.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.