HardballTalk’s Playoff Predictions

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Back in March, we made predictions for the season. They weren’t terrible as far as predictions go. We picked the Red Sox to win the east and the Blue Jays as a Wild Card team. We picked the Mets, Cubs, Dodgers and Giants to make the playoffs, whiffing on the Nats and instead putting the Pirates in. Bill had the Cubs beating the Astros in the World Series. I had the Giants beating the Red Sox. Bill’s World Series outcome and my whole matchup could still happen.

Given that we, as always, led those predictions with the caveat that all predictions are just guesses which should not be taken seriously, we can’t really crow about ours. But they weren’t terrible as far as these things go, so why not take a stab at the playoffs too?

The playoffs are weaponized randomness. The one-and-done Wild Card games are like Russian roulette, only with worse odds. As such, those prediction caveats apply even more in the postseason than they do for the regular season. Picking playoff winners is a fool’s errand. Luckily, we are not afraid to look foolish.

We’ll be breaking down each series as they get going, but as a general observation, the Red Sox strike all of us as the strongest team in the AL and the Cubs strike all of us as the strongest team in the NL. As you’ll see below, both Bill and Ashley think the Cubs beat the Sox in the World Series. I think the odds favor that matchup at least, and possibly that outcome, but I’m choosing to be difficult. So that I may be able to say I stuck with my preseason predictions the whole time,, I’m going to have the Giants beating the Red Sox in the Series. This requires that the Giants beat the Cubs, which I do not think will actually happens, but who cares?

All of that said, Madison Bumgarner winning a one-and-done and Even Year B.S. working again would be a clear sign that the cosmos like to mess with us. On some level, I like the idea of the cosmos messing with us, so I’m comfortable with it.

Predictions:

CRAIG:

Wild Card
Orioles over Blue Jays
Giants over Mets

ALDS: Rangers over Orioles in 5
ALDS: Red Sox over Indians in 5
NLDS: Giants over Cubs in 5 (UPSET SPECIAL!!)
NLDS: Dodgers over Nationals in 5
ALCS: Red Sox over Rangers in 6
NLCS: Giants over Dodgers in 7 (THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!)
World Series: Giants over Red Sox in 7

 

BILL:

Wild Card
Blue Jays over Orioles
Giants over Mets

ALDS: Rangers over Blue Jays in 5
ALDS: Red Sox over Indians in 4
NLDS: Cubs over Giants in 4
NLDS: Dodgers over Nationals in 4
ALCS: Red Sox over Rangers in 6
NLCS: Cubs over Dodgers in 6
World Series: Cubs over Red Sox in 6

 

ASHLEY:

Wild Card
Blue Jays over Orioles
Mets over Giants

ALDS: Blue Jays over Rangers in 5
ALDS: Red Sox over Indians in 5
NLDS: Cubs over Mets in 5
NLDS: Dodgers over Nationals in 5
ALCS: Red Sox over Blue Jays in 4
NLCS: Cubs over Dodgers in 6
World Series: Cubs over Red Sox in 5

Now that that nonsense is over, let’s watch the games and see what really happens.

Rays’ Díaz gets $24 million, three-year deal, avoids arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract on Tuesday that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.