Last year’s World Series winners the Kansas City Royals are still looking good in 2016 though some are suggesting that their run might be over. Certainly they’ve lost some of their star players of the previous season, but they’re still in possession of enough talent and know-how to conceivably repeat their success. National League champions the New York Mets also stand every chance of making it all the way to the top this time.
Cubs come together
The team that everyone’s really talking about right now, however, is the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs won 97 games in the 2015 season and made it into the NLCS for the first time in twelve years. Moreover, they did so while fielding four rookies and with an inconsistent bullpen that only really found its feet as the season progressed. Now though they’ve really beefed up their line-up, with new signings including veteran starting pitcher John Lackey. Lackey had a strong season with the St Louis Cardinals last year, and the Cubs have also picked up Ben Zobrist from the Royals to play mostly second base. Add in ace outfielder Jason Heyward, swing pitcher Adam Warren and a returning Trevor Cahill and you’ve got a strong mix of solid veterans and young talent that’s got a lot of observers very excited indeed.
The San Francisco Giants have also had their odds slashed however after putting together a potentially world-beating rotation. Jeff Samardzija didn’t do brilliantly last season with the Chicago White Sox, but the Giants have every reason to hope the $90m they’ve paid for him will be justified next season. Another hot player joining the Giants is pitcher Johnny Cueto, whom they’ve bagged for $130m.
Also looking impressive right now are the LA Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox, following their $217m signing of David Price. The Arizona Diamondbacks are rising up the rankings after paying a record-breaking $206m for pitcher Zack Greinke, while the Toronto Blue Jays, the Washington Nationals, the St Louis Cardinals and the Houston Astros are all also in the running.
Place your bets
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Any one of the major teams could still do well next year, and hopes are high that individual players will have strong seasons as well. After some big money trading during the off-season, the major teams are getting their line-ups together, and pundits are already calling the odds. The fans as ever are locked in a heated discussion as to the wisdom of those choices, and no doubt will continue the debate for some time to come.