As the 2024 Major League Baseball season looms on the horizon, a handful of teams are bracing for challenging times ahead. Amidst off-season reshuffles and strategic overhauls, these squads are anticipated to face uphill battles within their respective divisions.
Here's a look at the five teams that are expected to have a tough go of it this year.
Pirates' Off-Season Upgrades
Starting with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who sit at the fifth spot, the team has indeed been active in the off-season, bringing in seasoned pitchers like Martin Pérez, Marco Gonzalez, and Aroldis Chapman to strengthen their rotation.
The addition of Rowdy Tellez promises an uptick in power-hitting, while the return of veteran Andrew McCutchen sparks a sense of nostalgia. However, even with these strategic moves, the Pirates are set to navigate through the fiercely competitive waters of the NL Central, which could prove to be a formidable challenge.
Moving to the nation's capital, the Washington Nationals claim the fourth spot on this list. Amidst a phase of reconstruction, the Nationals have welcomed new talents like Nick Senzel and Dylan Floro. Despite the success of last season's acquisition, Candelario, the team's overall composition suggests that the journey through the challenging NL East will be anything but smooth.
In the third position, the Chicago White Sox are staring down a difficult season even within the relatively less daunting AL Central. The team, which is in the throes of a rebuild, has made notable signings such as KBO MVP Erick Fedde and pitcher Michael Soroka.
Yet, their strategy of leaning towards short-term contracts and potential trade opportunities hints at a year focused more on recalibration than immediate success. The Colorado Rockies, positioned second, have made modest additions to their pitching lineup with Cal Quantrill, Jalen Beeks, and Ty Blach.
Despite the promise shown by emerging talents like Nolan Jones, Ezequiel Tovar, and Brendon Doyle, the Rockies seem poised for a season centered on player development and long-term strategy, rather than short-term victories.
Topping the list, the Oakland Athletics are gearing up for what might be another challenging year. Following a season that saw them amass the most losses in the MLB, their minimal off-season activity, highlighted by the acquisition of reliever Trevor Gott, does little to elevate expectations.
With the lowest payroll in the league and the impending departure from the Oakland Coliseum, the Athletics are firmly in rebuild mode, with an eye on future prospects rather than immediate triumphs. As these teams gear up for the 2024 season, their strategies and off-season moves will be put to the test in the competitive landscape of Major League Baseball.
Fans and analysts alike will be watching closely to see if any of these squads can defy expectations and turn their fortunes around.