Attention is starting to shift to the ball fields of Arizona and Florida where pitchers and catchers are set to report for Spring Training in a matter of weeks.
But while there are come clear-cut favorites to turn those eternal spring hopes of championship dreams into reality, others are looking to make some noise and take inspiration from the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros; teams that rebounded from a sub .500 season in 2014 to make the playoffs in 2015.
One of the sub .500 teams in 2015 looking to make some 2016 noise are the Arizona Diamondbacks. According MLB.com’s Sports on Earth Paul Casella, the Diamondbacks are one of four teams with their eye on the prize.
The D-backs started the offseason by stunning the baseball world when they swooped in and signed ace Zack Greinke away from the rival Dodgers. They didn’t stop there, however, promptly acquiring Miller from the Braves and — most recently — landing shortstop Segura from the Brewers. There is no doubt that the rotation is much improved from a season ago, but the D-backs still have questions regarding the back of their rotation, as well as whether or not they have enough offensive firepower outside of Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock and David Peralta.
The Diamondbacks are coming off a 79-83 season in 2015 and will start to prepare for 2016 on Feb. 17 when pitchers and catchers report to Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, with position players reporting Feb. 22. The first full-squad workout is set for Feb. 23.
Besides the Diamondbacks, Casella included the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners as teams with losing records in 2015 with their eye on the prize in 2016. Casella labeled the Chicago White Sox, Miami Marlins, Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays as borderline contenders, while the San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves as teams that are a work in progress.
According to the latest Las Vegas odds, the Diamondbacks are 20-to-1 odds of winning the World Series this year, while the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants have the best odds at 6-1. Defending World Series champions Kansas City Royals are 14-1 odds of repeating.