Top 5 Talking Points of Opening Week

After a Spring Training full of free agent drama and off-field controversies, the opening week of the 2024 MLB season certainly hasn’t disappointed baseball fans around the globe, with some fascinating stories already developing. Here are my Top 5…

Is The Miami Marlins’ Season Already Over?

The adage, “You can’t win a pennant in one week, but you can lose one” has never seemed more appropriate, with the Marlins slumping to an 0-8 record after consecutive losses to the Pittsburgh Pirates (4), Los Angeles Angels (3) and St. Louis Cardinals (1).

The miserable Marlins are the first team since 2016 (both the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins) to lose at least eight games to start a season, with each of those teams ultimately losing nine straight before notching their first respective win.

The biggest worry for the Marlins is the overworked and under-performing bullpen, which is collectively working to a 6.58 ERA, allowing 29 earned runs in 39 2/3 innings. Offensively, Luis Arraez, who had a breakout 2023 season hitting .354 with 43 extra-base hits, is just 6-for-32 (.188), while the continually over-hyped Jazz Chisholm Jr. is just 5-for-27 (.185), despite slugging a grand slam against the Pirates. Can the mainstream media please drop its obsession with this guy? Sigh.

Having already suffered six more losses than National League East favorites, the Atlanta Braves, even reaching the 90-win mark widely tipped to punch a wildcard berth is looking unlikely, with the team needing to play at a .584 clip through the remaining 154 games. Possible? Perhaps. Likely? Absolutely not!

Big Contracts? Bigger Failures!

Long-term contracts rarely work. Long-term contracts rarely work. Long-term contracts rarely work. Okay, has it sunk-in yet? The latest examples of these ever-increasing financial disasters are Anthony Rendon, Francisco Lindor, Kris Bryant and George Springer. In fairness, a few of these guys have sucked for a little while now, but their respective slumps to start the 2024 season are dreadful – let’s take a closer look…

Anthony Rendon (Los Angeles Angels) – probably one of the most hated guys in baseball after some shocking comments during the off-season about his commitment levels, Rendon has started the season 0-for-19. The injury-prone 33-year-old will take home $38.6 million in 2024. Ouch!

Francisco Lindor (New York Mets) – hard to like and easy to hate, the flamboyant shortstop will earn a whopping $34.1 million this season. While the season is still young, his 1-for-24 (.042) start suggests he’s on pace for a fourth mediocre season in Queens (.772 OPS since inking a 10-year-deal). The overall numbers aren’t horrendous, but they’re certainly not worth $341 million…

Kris Bryant (Colorado Rockies) – most guys see a rise in offensive numbers playing in the high altitude of Coors Field, but Bryant’s poor 2023 season has flowed into 2024, with the outfielder and former No.2 pick just 2-for-20 (.100) so far – both singles. His anticipated 7-year tenure in Colorado is looking increasingly grim, and the $28 million he’ll earn this season is appearing to be quite the waste…

George Springer (Toronto Blue Jays) – despite slugging two solo home runs, one of the most hated guys in baseball (thanks, Astros!) is just 3-for-25 (.120) to start a season in which he’ll make a cool $24.2 million. Now in his fourth season north of the border, the declining OPS has become quite the pattern – .907, .814, .732, .627. Alert! Alert!

The Weak, Get Weaker

Okay, I’m not going to waste too much time on these perennial losers, some of which have clearly stopped caring – “Oh, hey there John Fisher!”, but…

The Chicago White Sox are 1-5 after being swept by the improving, but still pretty mid Detroit Tigers, splitting two with the Atlanta Braves, and losing the first of four against the plucky Kansas City Royals. After an embarrassing 101-loss season last year and just breaking even at .500 in 2022, it’s hard to fathom just how far this team has sunk since it won 93 games in 2021 on its way to the American League Central title. Yet, here we are…

The Oakland Athletics are possibly the worst team in MLB history and their demise from a fun 2018-2020 period is sad to see. After 102 and 112 losses in the last two seasons, the A’s are back at it again having slumped to 1-6. The team has a total payroll of just $43.2 million, struggles to pull a crowd over 3,000 people, will be playing at a Minor League ballpark between 2025 and 2027, and will probably fail when they finally reach their so-called utopia in Las Vegas after that. Pathetic.

Since punching consecutive wildcard tickets in 2017 and 2018, the decline of the Colorado Rockies has been rapid and ugly.

  • 71-91 in 2019
  • 26-34 in 2020 (COVID-impacted)
  • 74-87 in 2021
  • 68-94 in 2022
  • 59-103 in 2023

2024 has started poorly too, with the Rox losing six of seven against the Arizona Diamondbacks (1-3) and Chicago Cubs (0-3). But wait for it, it gets even darker. The team’s next 21 games are all against postseason hopefuls – the Tampa Bay Rays, Diamondbacks, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres and Houston Astros. By the and of April this team will probably rival the Athletics for the worst team in baseball.

The First Place Pirates, Tigers and Angels… Wait, What?

Yes, you read that right – the Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels are all in first place. While it probably won’t last long, it’s pretty cool to see.

The strong start from the Pittsburgh Pirates is probably the most unexpected story of the season so far, although the ‘Buccos’ have faced two teams stuck in a winter freeze. An offensive surge that produced 31 runs in four games against the Miami Marlins led the team to an unexpected series sweep, before the line-up stayed hot against the Washington Nationals, scoring a further 18 runs in three games. The key contributors have been Michael A. Taylor (12-for-25, 1.083 OPS), Bryan Reynolds (10-for 31, .995 OPS) and Connor Joe (9-for-26, 1.084 OPS), while they’ve been well supported through the entire line-up. Next up though, they face the highly-touted Baltimore Orioles (4-2) who have started the season somewhat inconsistently. It’ll be a fascinating 3-game series…

While the Tigers have enjoyed a soft schedule to start the season, they’ve taken care of business and swept aside the Chicago White Site in three, before taking two of three against the lowly New York Mets. Had it not been for a 9th inning implosion in Game 2 of the double-header last night, they’d be 6-0. Considering the winning ways, the offense has been relatively quiet (ranking 24th of 30 in MLB), with the dominance coming from the pitching staff which is working to a 2.04 ERA – second only to the Boston Red Sox (1.54). The bullpen has been outstanding, working to an MLB-best 1.03 ERA and being the key reason behind three consecutive one-run victories against the White Sox to start the season. Impressive!

After losing the first two games of the season to the Orioles 11-3 and 13-4, Angels fans were quite rightly melting down on X (formerly Twitter) and Mike Trout was probably crying in his hotel room. In fact, he was – I heard the audio recording from a friend of a friend, who’s cousin stayed in the room next door, trust me ‘bro. A strong outing from Reid Detmers to round out the opening series and notch a win followed though, before the team swept the slumping Marlins on the back of 20 runs in three games. Suddenly, the team is 4-2 and in first place. All jokes aside though, Mike Trout (3 HR, 1.015 OPS), Taylor Ward (8-for-25, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 1.080 OPS) and Logan O’Hoppe (7-for-16, 1.175 OPS) have all been huge and really given long-suffering Angels fans something to cheer about. Unfortunately, 16 of the team’s next 19 games are against the powerhouse American League East opponents, so it’ll be interesting to see where they’re placed come late-August…

Mookie Betts Leads (Almost) Every Offensive Category

There’s really not much more I need to say about how well Mookie Betts has started the season, other than sharing this post (tweet) below…

Since departing the gloom of Boston for the sunshine of Los Angeles in 2020, Betts has really stepped it up a notch, establishing himself as one of the game’s elite hitters, with a .926 OPS in what’s now his fifth season. The 7-time All Star, who is still just 31-years-old, is destined for Cooperstown and the Boston Red Sox are probably ruing his departure every single day.

Hits: 308

11 thoughts on “Top 5 Talking Points of Opening Week

  1. Comparing lindor to these other scrubs when he was 30/30 last year w 98 rbis just shows a severe lack of understanding for the sport

  2. that’s a really good read, thanks.

  3. Haha some good laughs in there! No mention of my Yankees though?

  4. I think criticism of Lindor’s offensive numbers is totally fair, but when you call him “flamboyant” and “easy to hate,” you sound less like an analyst and more like a gossip columnist.

  5. Forgot to add how laughable Angels fans really are. They are planning to give Rendon a standing ovation on their opening home game.

  6. If Cleveland’s pitching stays healthy you think they are legit contenders? Also, Trevor Bauer would be a tremendous add to a couple of these teams, pretty shitty he is being blackballed by the owners and the league seemingly.

  7. So right on Jazz Chisholm

  8. Wait, the Mets still have fans? #WhoKnew?

  9. Lindor is solid. Great defensively, but we extremely overpaid for him. He at most should’ve gotten 8/240 (even then he’d be underperforming) but we gave him 100 mil more.

    What leaves a bad taste in my mouth is Cohen offered him 10/325, and he played hardball for an extra 16m ????

  10. You always seem to nail it Dan. Great read!

Leave a Comment