On Oct. 5, the 2022 Major League Baseball (MLB) regular season came to a close, and the playoffs are now officially underway. Each team had memorable moments, from the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols becoming the fourth member of the 700-home run club, to the Yankees’ Aaron Judge breaking the American League single-season home run record. The past 162 games offer some insight into what each team needs to improve on for the next season. Four of these teams, however, may need some rigorous tutoring with regards to their pitfalls.
4. Oakland Athletics
Oakland went from taking a run at the Houston Astros in the 2020 American League Division Series to becoming a wasteland, both in terms of fan attendance and quality of play. They amassed a mere 60 wins this year, compared to last season’s 86. But the A’s problems run deeper than their pitiful record. For one thing, their stadium is one of the worst in the league, and experienced issues with feral cats at one point in the season. On top of that, the team itself is looking to abandon Oakland and move to Las Vegas, but has run into innumerable obstacles in the process. Finally, management traded away their best players, including Sean Manaea and Matt Olson. The future of the A’s depends on if they stay in Oakland or not. For now, however, they can only take pride in being the worst team in the American League.
3. Washington Nationals
This Nats season was the culmination of a slow transformation from a decade-long run as a title contender to being the worst team in MLB. The team’s first mistake was re-signing Stephen Strasburg over Anthony Rendon back in 2019. Strasburg made a combined eight starts over the last three injury-laden seasons. Conversely, Rendon finished 10th in MVP voting in 2020, although he has only been partially available for the last two seasons. The second mistake was not developing a serious team to build around Juan Soto. In fact, they traded away another young talent in Trea Turner, and their best pitcher, Max Scherzer, to the Dodgers last season. This supposed reboot culminated most incredulously in the Nats trading away Josh Bell and the aforementioned Soto at the trade deadline. The proven young core that Nats fans thought their team would build around has disappeared. This Nats’ flop is a protracted three-year fall from their World Series glory in 2019.
2. Toronto Blue Jays
If last season was the “trailer” for what was to come, then the Blue Jays’s movie must have been directed by Tommy Wiseau. The Jays started the season with a decent enough, though disappointing, record, and stayed a lick above .500 for most of the year. With so much hype going into the season after the acquisitions of José Berríos and Kevin Gausman in the offseason, the Blue Jays looked like they would have one of the better starting pitching rotations in baseball. But a disappointing regular season forced the Jays to face off against the Seattle Mariners in a three-game wildcard series. Despite being the clear favourite over the Mariners who just got back into the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, the Jays were shut out in game one. In game two, after going up 8-1, the Blue Jays proceeded to give up big play after big play and eventually lost 10-9 in one of the worst chokes in MLB playoff history. An inconsistent bullpen and questionable coaching deserve major blame, yet numerous problems remain.
1. New York Mets
The Mets entered the season as contenders to win the World Series. They exited as yet another embarrassment in a long list of shameful Mets teams. After holding the top spot in their division for almost the entire season and being 10.5 games up in early June, the Mets lost their division lead in the last week of the season after a sweep by Atlanta, their division rival, pushed them into the Wild Card round. But they have Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, you say—two of the best pitchers in the league, to go with Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, and Pete Alonso on offence! Surely they could beat the 89-win Padres team. In classic Mets fashion, they lost the series and got shut out at home in game three. Despite having by far the highest payroll in baseball at $235.6 million, with the Mets, there may be no fixing a history of mediocrity.