Great Moments in Good Clubhouse Guys

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This hadn’t occurred to me, but my HBT colleague Bill Baer notes something amiss with the Phillies’ season plan over at Crashburn Alley: Michael Young’s signing was accompanied by talk about building a better clubhouse, but then the team goes out and gets Delmon Young and now Carlos Zambrano. Who, for all of their charms, have never been mistaken for good clubhouse guys. Particularly Zambrano.

It’s almost as if teams sign whoever they can and laud them with whatever handy label they have at their disposal at the time to make everyone think there’s more of a plan and philosophy in place than there really is.

But I do sort of hope this works, even if it means the Phillies winning a lot of games. Because I think it would put to rest the whole idea of good citizens making for good baseball teams, chemistry mattering and all that jazz.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves