Next step for each team without a World Series title
After the Texas Rangers won their first World Series in franchise history in 2023, the group of current MLB teams without a World Series championship shrunk to five. As it stands the Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, and Tampa Bay Rays. Each team is at a different stage in their pursuit of winning a title and each has several things that need to be addressed in order to get them over the hump, but what’s the next step that could be taken for each club to better their chances of winning a title?
Tampa Bay Rays: Invest In Some Veterans
The Rays are the perfect regular-season team. They have a seemingly endless supply of great pitching, a data-driven offense led by Randy Arozarena, and dominate the regular season. They most recently appeared in the World Series in 2020 upon which they fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the shortened season and 2023 showcased a postseason problem that has limited them for the past several years; a lack of offensive prowess. This is an odd problem since the Rays typically have a great offense throughout the regular season. In fact, they are a finalist for the first-ever Team Silver Slugger award. They get contributions from just about everyone in the lineup but come postseason time the last few years that prowess disappears. In four games between 2022 and 2023, they have hit just one home run and scored two runs as a team.
The Rays are known for working on a budget but there is still room to spend for established offensive talent that can help lead the team. Preferably a veteran with some postseason experience or a well-established free agent could help foster a different culture for the Rays. Some more offensive star power could have a Bryce Harper of Corey Seager effect on the Rays, thus helping players like Yandy Diaz, Arozarena, and the rest of a young offense. Just look at the effect that former Ray Evan Longoria had on the Arizona Diamondbacks.
San Diego Padres: Work On Homegrown Talent
The Padres have been big spenders over the past few years, making bold moves and throwing money around in order to pull in big names. As a result, they have greatly diminished their prospect depth while spending a lot of money to not go anywhere. The team has suffered from infighting, resulting in the departure of manager Bob Melvin, and the report recently came out that the team had taken out a $50 million loan to help cover things like payroll. The Padres spent big to retain Manny Machado and acquire the services of Xander Bogaerts and now have the challenge of trying to extend Juan Soto. They also have the challenge of resupplying their starting rotation and other bullpen pieces.
It’s okay that the Padres have spent money on their roster, just look at the Rangers, but the Padres have neglected the draft and development aspect of their team. The majority of the roster is full of free agents or established player trades. There have been fruitful prospect trades, like those that initially brought over Jake Cronenworth or Fernando Tatis Jr. but the shortage of quality arms and bats coming through the system is worrying. The Padres need to supplement the star power they have with homegrown talent in order to maintain continued success.
Seattle Mariners: Go All In
The Mariners have been on the rise for the past several years. 2022 saw the team finally return to the postseason, ending the longest drought in professional sports, but 2023 saw the team fall short in a tough AL West. The Mariners are in the thick of their window of contention and both players and media have criticized President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto for his lack of moves. Cal Raleigh, the Mariners catcher, felt that the team didn’t do enough to improve the roster throughout the season to help get them over the edge. Dipoto put his foot in his mouth after some end-of-season comments about how he’s running the team.
The Mariners are extremely talented. They have an incredible starting rotation and an incredible cornerstone piece in Julio Rodriguez. They are a well-run organization but now it’s time to take the next step and do what it takes to improve the roster even more. There will be plenty of top-notch offensive options for multiple areas of need that the Mariners need to make sure they pursue. The foundation is there for them already, but that now needs to be supplemented in a big way with a big splash. Could they persuade Shohei Ohtani to come to the Pacific Northwest? Or perhaps a bonafide slugger like Jorge Soler or a trade for a reliable second baseman like Brendan Rodgers could be beneficial. The Rangers went all in and it paid off in 2023, perhaps the Mariners could do the same.
Milwaukee Brewers: Improve Quality and Quantity of Depth
The Brewers haven’t been to a World Series since 1977, despite a long tradition of reaching the postseason. 2023 marked a stretch in which the Brew Crew has reached the postseason five times over a six-year span. Their success is headlined by a high-quality starting rotation and strong bullpen with some offensive bats sprinkled throughout. They have begun to trend towards a younger squad which gives them a simpler step to take moving forward.
Depth is important for any team and the Brewers aren’t going to spend a ton of money like other teams might, but that means they will have to work on improving the quality and quantity of their depth options. The team brought in a wide of variety of players throughout the season, but nothing really stuck out. First base especially has been a revolving door of characters with Rowdy Tellez being the main staple. The offense has left a lot to be desired and they have to find out how to acquire reliable players that can either produce on a daily basis or every couple of days. The Brewers are on the cusp and with the rise of other teams in the NL Central, they can’t afford to stand idly by anymore.
Colorado Rockies: Refocus Their Organizational Plan
Unlike the other teams on this list, the Rockies haven’t been to the playoffs recently. 2018 was the last time the Rockies made the Wild Card and they lost saw the World Series in 2007. 2023 marked the fifth consecutive losing season since that 2018 season as well as their first 100-loss season in their 31-year history. Pick most any category and the Rockies are likely struggling with it. There is hope with young talent making their way through the system, along with rising stars such as Ezequiel Tovar, Brenton Doyle, and Nolan Jones as well as some intriguing pitching prospects. Pitching continues to be the biggest hurdle for the team and even that doesn’t have a simple solution.
The next step for the Rockies lies at the top with ownership and the front office. A common critique of the team is that they are insular and perceived as a team without a plan or vision. They have tried to dabble in different philosophies and ideas but everything has had the same general idea that just hasn’t worked. There is hope that change is slowly getting implemented throughout the organization, but the team is still well behind the league in multiple areas and if they want to compete again, they have to refocus their plan and vision and exhaust their resources to fulfill those plans.
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