The irony of this off-season as opposed to last off-season is there is none of the uncertainty coming into 2016 as there was coming int 2015, yet there seems to be nearly as much angst.
Last off-season, there were question marks up and down the lineup and everywhere you looked. The front office didn’t know what it had, and didn’t know how to respond. So they simply didn’t. They went into the season with no left fielder, no center fielder (not a qualified one, at least), no bullpen, and not much of a rotation. And the positions they did seem to have set had more questions than a five-year-old.
Sure, there are questions heading into 2016, but they aren’t the scary kind like, What if someone hits the ball to left field?
Choo and Fielder and Profar were the coming off major injuries. Moreland had yet another disappointing season. Martin was the center fielder (no team in major league history had ever won a playoff game with Leonys Martin as its center fielder). Darvish needed Tommy John surgery in September except nobody wanted to admit it so they ignored it until spring. Andrus was Andrus. Odor was the great unknown. Who would catch? Who would pitch? Who would close? Who is this Banister guy?
This year, the questions are more localized. Who is going to hit left-handed pitching? Where is the power going to come from? Who is going to get the starts until Darvish come back? Can Profar take shortstop away from Elvis? And, the biggest unanswered question so far, where has this team improved to ensure it can go deeper into October?
Beyond that, it’s just simply the same concerns every team has heading into every year. Will they stay healthy? Will they perform to the numbers on the back of their baseball cards?
Compared to last off-season, this one is like a big bottle of Pepto-Bismal. My stomach feels a whole lot better about baseball on January 3, 2016, than it felt on January 3, 2015.