By Zach Colona
The first game of the MLB season was held on April 5 at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. The Cubs lost to the Saint Louis Cardinals 3 – 0 and the rest of the MLB played the following day, including the Philadelphia Phillies who lost their home opener to the Boston Red Sox in an 8-0 blowout.
Unfortunately, the Phillies have a tough season ahead with little hope because of their mediocre pitching staff and an average offense at best.
The Phillies once dominating players, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jonathan Papelbon, are all 34 or older, compared to Cole Hamels who is 31. Hamels has the biggest impact out of these players, yet he only gets to pick the ball up once every five games.
Although the Phillies can greatly benefit from trading Hamels, they cannot seem to move him despite negotiating with the Rangers, Giants, Dodgers and Red Sox.
The Phillies’ main goal is not to lock down a huge superstar because they will not get one for Hamels, instead the Phillies hope to trade him for first-round picks.
I think the Red Sox would benefit the most from this possible trade.
If they added Hamels to their starting rotation, they would have one of the top pitching staffs in the league, with three dominant starting pitchers including Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello and Hamels if they can make a deal.
Some teams, such as the Chicago White Sox and The New York Yankees, could be among the top in the league if they can stay healthy and make some small acquisitions.
The White Sox are predicted to do well with a “beefed up rotation,” said Aaron Gleeman, a NBC Sports journalist. The Yankees are predicted to do average at best.
The Yankees and the White Sox are the two teams that can shake up the league if their coaches can get the best out of their players.
The White Sox made some smart moves in the offseason by picking up David Robertson, a big-time closer and a couple good hitters, most notable Melky Cabrera, since these players have a huge impact on the team and can help players get into the right mindset.
“The White Sox had an intriguing offseason in making five major acquisitions without giving up any significant contributors from 2014,” said ESPN’s David Schoenfield.
Maybe these five pickups can boost the 2015 White Sox into playoff contention.
The Yankees also have some potential. As much as you can say positive about former Yankee Shortstop Derek Jeter, losing him actually helps the team.
Jeter is 40 years old and lacked the athletic ability that he once had while giving a younger Didi Gregorius a chance.
ESPN’s head baseball writer and analyst Buster Olney also ranks the Yankees bullpen as the second best in baseball.
The main things they have going for them are their top three pitchers, C.C Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda, who are all back and healthy.
According to MLB’s website, three of these pitchers were held to a combined 41 games.
If these three can stay healthy, the Yankees could really do well in the playoffs. The team finished with a winning record even while missing their top three pitchers for a significant part of the season.
But perhaps the most interesting question is who will win the Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Awards.
Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners and Tanaka are top candidates for the American League Cy Young award.
Since Hernandez always pitches well, I expect him to earn about 20 wins. Tanaka pitched for the first time in America last season, and he started out 9 – 0. After his first nine games a shoulder injury ended his rookie season.
I also have to include starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who captured both major the NL Cy Young Award and the NL MVP Awards last season so he cannot be counted out this season.
Candidates for the MVP are usually a surprise, but it’s hard to not talk about the reigning MVP and not consider Mike Trout. Trout is a favorite to win MVP again.
I also think that Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, a two time MVP, could be a candidate to win it for his third time. He is one of the best hitters of all time and he has an amazing memory. He is known for his memory of pitchers’ habits and last season he batted over 300, hit over 30 home runs and batted in over 100 RBI’s.
Unfortunately, the game’s most valuable player could not bring the team past the American League Division series. As for this season, Trout has one clear goal: win a championship.
As the season unfolds, we will see what teams come out on top and the players that make it happen.