How Every MLB Fanbase Feels This Spring in 140 Characters or Less
Finding out how MLB fanbases feel as spring training 2013 begins is as simple as following their reaction on Twitter. Concise users express themselves easily in 140 characters or less.
The recent offseason was highlighted by several huge player transactions and announcements. As you'll read, plenty of fans continue to celebrate/rant about what happened.
In a few cases, professional writers were on the pulse of a particular team.
Social media shows that baseball's diehards are restless for the sport to return.
The Arizona Diamondbacks traded two of their most talented players during the offseason: right-hander Trevor Bauer and outfielder Justin Upton.
Both had character concerns and were coming off weak years. Nonetheless, the rest of the league held them in high regard.
The D-Backs exchanged Bauer and Upton for Randall Delgado, Didi Gregorius, Martin Prado and others. Such players satisfy important needs, but there's a consensus that the team settled for less than it should have.
Mike Axisa of CBS Sports is of that opinion, too:
Looking at what the D'Backs got back for Upton and Bauer, I can't help but be really underwhelmed.— Mike Axisa (@mikeaxisa) January 24, 2013
Expectations should be high for the 2013 Atlanta Braves.
Over the winter, they dumped surplus starting pitchers and bolstered the lineup with a couple young power hitters. Plus, Brandon Beachy and Brian McCann are on the way back from major surgeries.
But understandably, fans would prefer to have Chipper Jones at the hot corner. After 19 Hall of Fame-caliber seasons, the icon decided to retire.
News of Jones spending some time at Atlanta's spring training facility reminded Jeff Vickers that he won't be in uniform:
Thought jusr re-entered my mind.. No more Chipper Jones for the Braves.
— Jeff Vickers (@jvickers78) February 15, 2013
Hopefully diehards will move on from this sulking phase by Opening Day.
At first glance, the 2013 Baltimore Orioles roster looks very familiar to the one that led them to the postseason.
The projected batting order and bullpen, for example, solely include players who were with Baltimore for some portion of last summer.
At least the O's have more rotation depth now. Tsuyoshi Wada is coming back from Tommy John surgery, and Jair Jurrjens is on the verge of signing a major league deal.
These developments excite Marissa Helmsy:
Orioles adding depth to their pitching!!! I have a feeling they are gonna have a really good season too!!— Marissa✨ (@MHelmsy23) February 13, 2013
Boston Red Sox
Meanwhile, everything is new for the Boston Red Sox.
They have inked a handful of free agents, including Ryan Dempster, Stephen Drew, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino. Closer Joel Hanrahan arrived via trade.
Though the Red Sox finished last in the AL East in 2012, there's reason to believe that they can contend.
The biggest potential weakness is the starting rotation. When healthy two summers ago, John Lackey posted a 6.41 earned-run average while making an eight-figure salary. Again, he's expected to take the mound every fifth day, and Daniel Fienberg has serious doubts:
Any time I muse, "Maybe things could come together in a good way for the Red Sox," I'm reminded: John Lackey's back!— Daniel Fienberg (@d_fienberg) February 14, 2013
For what it's worth, reports indicate that the 34-year-old is in "The Best Shape of His Life" (h/t Hardball Talk).
Chicago Cubs fans are generally passionate yet pessimistic after suffering without a championship for the past century.
That mentality is changing with Theo Epstein leading the front office. He has followed a very clear rebuilding plan that could actually make the Cubs relevant in the coming years!
But aside from a few outliers, nobody believes the team is ready yet.
Stephen Obst tweets that prospects will eventually lead Chicago to greatness:
Chicago White Sox
By default, the Chicago White Sox finished second in the AL Central in 2012.
Aside from the Detroit Tigers, there wasn't another tough team in the division.
However, each of the weaklings took action during the offseason, particularly the Cleveland Indians. They signed power-hitting free agents Mark Reynolds and Nick Swisher and most recently committed $48 million to center fielder Michael Bourn.
Southside Showdown wonders if the Sox can build on last season's 85 wins despite the Tribe's improvements:
The Cincinnati Reds retained key free agents like Jonathan Broxton and Ryan Ludwick. Acquiring Shin-Soo Choo gives them a capable leadoff hitter.
Transitioning Aroldis Chapman from closer to starter is certainly a risk. However, a bigger workload means he could make more of an impact.
Nick Iannuzzi and Reds fans around the globe feel pretty confident:
The Reds are about to win the World Series this year #MLB— nick iannuzzi (@NickNuzzi97) February 14, 2013
It was a winter of unprecedented spending for the Cleveland Indians, who guaranteed more than $100 million to Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher alone.
They also brought in countless starting rotation candidates, ranging from a former top prospect in Trevor Bauer to reclamation projects Scott Kazmir and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Quantity doesn't assure quality, tweets Brody Cook:
Indians doing big things. Still worried about our starting rotation. Could really use a number 1 and were in business #Tribe
— Brody Cook (@Bro_D_10) February 13, 2013
The Colorado Rockies definitely didn't do enough to address their league-worst starting rotation. Once again, the high altitude of Coors Field is expected to make life very difficult for the team.
that the starting pitching remains as vulnerable as the tethered goat in "Jurassic Park," Woody Paige about Colorado Rockies pitching.
— Trey Atkins (@wallsandgates) February 11, 2013
Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners agreed to a record-breaking seven-year extension.
Now, Detroit Tigers fans want to lock up their ace before he's eligible for free agency.
Over the past two summers, Justin Verlander has been baseball's greatest starting pitcher. Aside from being unusually durable, his filthy repertoire leads to high strikeout totals.
NBC's Mike O'Brien likes the idea of the right-hander finishing his career in Motown:
Other than Jose Altuve and Lucas Harrell, there might not be another above-average MLB player on the Houston Astros.
This club wasn't competitive in 2012. A move to the AL West should only worsen Houston's chances of succeeding.
Finishing with triple-digit losses for a third straight year is a forgone conclusion, according to Lil C:
Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals have totally revamped their starting rotation. With bounce-back years from several position players (e.g., Jeff Francoeur, Eric Hosmer), they might manage a winning record.
But fans are aiming even higher.
J.C. Dykes—"Aspiring GM of the Royals," according to his Twitter profile—isn't comfortable with failed first-round draft pick Luke Hochevar on the club:
Royals should just go out and get Lohse go all in. We need more pitching. Trade hocheaver clear some money and get the guy.— J.C. Dykes (@JdotCdotDykes) February 13, 2013
Los Angeles Angels
Everybody has zeroed in on the Los Angeles Angels lineup.
More specifically, the idea of Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols and Mike Trout in the same uniform has L.A.'s fanbase salivating.
Take Alberto Borrayo, for example:
Pujols, Trout, and Hamilton... Oh man can't wait for the @angels to start playing.— alberto borrayo (@Tunesz) February 15, 2013
Los Angeles Dodgers
New Los Angeles Dodgers ownership has spared no expense to build a championship-caliber roster. They even spent billions of dollars on a regional sports network to ensure that everybody can watch them steamroll through the National League.
Most teams envy their duos of Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez in the middle of the order and Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke atop the rotation.
But Vincent Vildosola insists that we can't look too far ahead:
Dodgers lookin good on paper thoe. Lets see how spring training goes— Vincent Vildosola⚓ (@MiNiUnleashed2) February 14, 2013
During the second half of 2012, the Miami Marlins were committed to getting rid of undesirable veterans. They moved Anibal Sanchez, whom they had no intention of re-signing, and said goodbye to Heath Bell and Hanley Ramirez because they weren't living up to their lucrative contracts.
Still, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes remained under contract. That gave the Marlins a chance of being relevant in the future.
When news broke that Miami was dumping those talented individuals, All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton had to speak up:
Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & Simple— Giancarlo Stanton (@Giancarlo818) November 13, 2012
Since the 12-player blockbuster became official, the Fish have only completed low-cost signings with declining players, including Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco.
Just two seasons ago, the Milwaukee Brewers were excellent. They fell short of the World Series but won 96 games (a franchise record) and advanced to a championship series for the first time in nearly three decades.
Even in 2012, the Brew Crew caught fire in August and September and nearly made it back to the playoffs.
However, their winter was largely disappointing. Aside from a few relievers, Milwaukee was reluctant to offer major league contracts. The lineup and starting rotation weren't addressed.
Hardball Talk reacts:
The Minnesota Twins made an unpopular decision by sacrificing two-thirds of their starting outfield to replenish the pitching corps.
Ben Revere and Denard Span were both young, dynamic and affordable.
Mike Mackin is still supportive of the club but bitter about those offseason trades:
New York Mets
Much like the Minnesota Twins, the New York Mets are focused on the future. That meant exchanging a present star for several youngsters with great potential.
Unable to satisfy R.A. Dickey's extension demands, New York deemed it appropriate to sell when his stock was at an all-time high.
The knuckleballer apparently had a special place in Sean Barkey's heart:
Damn I miss Dickey on the mets already— Sean Barkey (@SeanBarkey) February 14, 2013
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees still have enough talent to be a championship contender.
But like always, there's a risk that their old bodies will break down during the season. And in 2013, the Bombers might be older than ever.
Newcomers Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis will soon turn 36 and 34, respectively. The Yankees re-signed Hiroki Kuroda (38), Andy Pettitte (41) and Ichiro Suzuki (39).
Darren Meyer is probably concerned:
On a different note...Yankees are really old. Ichiro hafner jeter arod youkilis.
— Darren Meyer (@Drmeyer18) February 14, 2013
For the first time since 2009, the World Baseball Classic will interrupt spring training. It could be challenging to prepare for Opening Day while key players compete in the international competition.
Not the Oakland Athletics!
Their men aren't interested in risking injury with the MLB season approaching.
Frederick Slominski is relieved that all the notable A's will stay in major league camp:
I second this emotion. “@sniff009: Zero players for Oakland in WBC.I am OK with this.”— frederick slominski (@norcalvol) February 12, 2013
The Philadelphia Phillies front office isn't fond of advanced statistics.
When the team seeks new position players from outside the organization, it values batting average and run production. That explains the recent acquisitions of Yuniesky Betancourt (minor league deal), Delmon Young and Michael Young.
But ESPN.com's Mark Simon—and countless others—see the bigger picture. With their poor defense and lack of plate discipline, these newcomers arguably make the Phillies weaker:
Your 2013 Phillies -- subtraction by addition (Young, Young, and Yuni Betancourt ... wow)— Mark Simon (@msimonespn) January 28, 2013
The Pittsburgh Pirates fan experience must have been brutal in 2012.
After initial offensive struggles, the Bucs caught fire at midseason. Andrew McCutchen contended for the batting title and NL MVP award. Into August, Pittsburgh was a second-place team sitting comfortably above the .500 mark.
But everything fell apart during that final month. The Pirates recorded their 20th consecutive losing season, extending the longest streak in league history.
After acquiring a few free agents, Alex Lenigan urges them to take the next step:
San Diego Padres
'Twas another low-key offseason for the San Diego Padres.
Aside from re-signing Jason Marquis and completing a four-player trade with the Oakland Athletics, there isn't much to report.
Ryan Hamner jokes that much of the 2013 roster will be comprised of unheralded prospects:
Spring training.. The time of year where I try to learn what AAA players are going to be starting for the Padres this year— Ryan Hamner (@hamner17) February 11, 2013
San Francisco Giants
Cody Beers represents the San Francisco Giants fanbase—still basking in the glory of last year's championship yet realistic about how they ought to make an offensive upgrade.
General manager Brian Sabean retained 2012 heroes Jeremy Affeldt, Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro on multiyear deals. Santiago Casilla also inked an extension during the winter.
Beers is correct about the pitching quality...if Tim Lincecum gets back on track:
the Giants will be in the world series out of the NL. thats if they get one more bat. their pitching is stacked.— cody beers (@cody_beers) February 15, 2013
Being rejected by Justin Upton did not deter the Seattle Mariners from adding firepower to their lineup.
They reached out to veterans Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez and received Michael Morse in a three-team trade. Confident in their starting rotation depth, the M's also swapped Jason Vargas for Kendrys Morales.
Combining all that new offense with the arrival of the Houston Astros in the AL West all but ensures that Seattle won't finish in the cellar.
On the other hand, it's tricky to project how this team will perform in 2013.
Kasko Macklin shares an article from Bleacher Report's own Madison Guernsey:
I see the 2013 season going one of two ways for the Seattle Mariners.They could resurrect their offense with the... bit.ly/WpvGwt— Kasko Macklin (@diqisorb) February 14, 2013
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter might have thrown his last pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals. He's dealing with a nerve issue that sidelined him for most of 2012.
Meanwhile, former Redbird starter Kyle Lohse remains available in free agency. Unlike other suitors, the Cardinals can sign him without losing their first-round pick in the upcoming draft.
Mark Sexton thinks it's a perfect match.
Tampa Bay Rays
By all accounts, top prospect Wil Myers has really impressed the observers at Tampa Bay Rays camp.
The expectation is that he'll begin the 2013 season at Triple-A.
Richard Janvrin believes the Rays can win, regardless. Other fans feel the same considering the depth of their pitching staff:
I really don't see how the #Rays don't win the division especially if Wil Myers gets a call-up.— Richard Janvrin⚾ (@RichardJanvrin) February 12, 2013
Texas Rangers supporters still feel bitter about their quiet offseason.
The club had prospects to deal and money to spend. It seemed the Rangers would inevitably acquire an All-Star-caliber player in his baseball prime.
Instead, they made short-term investments in veterans like A.J. Pierzynski and Lance Berkman.
Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News reacts as all their fans did:
Toronto Blue Jays
At first, there was widespread enthusiasm about the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays and their championship aspirations.
But Mark Buehrle's situation has temporarily gotten fans riled up.
Alexander Mednick is among those upset to learn that the province of Ontario doesn't permit the left-hander's dog:
Merger of two loves of mine: Blue Jays and Pit Bulls.Sorry to the Buehrle family...it's rough: sports.nationalpost.com/2013/02/14/blu…— Alexander Mednick (@MednickAlex) February 15, 2013
"Natitude" isn't going away. At least not this year, when the Washington Nationals seem as stacked as an MLB team.
Coming off a playoff berth, GM Mike Rizzo replaced John Lannan with Dan Haren, Sean Burnett with Rafael Soriano and Mike Morse with Denard Span.
Following those obvious upgrades, Michael Choate is just counting the moments until his club starts dominating the regular season:
For all of my spring training tweets...