MLB Week in Review (Off-Season Preview)

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The MLB season is over and the Houston Astros are the last team standing after an epic World Series that went seven games.

That is a significant win but not only because of what the city has been through this year and the 55-year wait for a title in Houston.

Houston’s championship is also a sign of the new era in the MLB much like the Chicago Cubs were a sign last year.

The trend is just continuing through 2017 and teams are catching on but this World Series might be the final nail in the coffin.

For years the league was always one where the division between the haves and have-nots was massive and had everything to do with money.

The richest teams were the ones who could build a team and dominant but continue that domination with more spending.

The biggest payrolls often had the best chance of winning because they could sign the best players and create super teams.

Teams like the New York Yankees could just keep spending and keep buying the top players in the league leading to years of championships.

Everyone tried to compete bumping up their salaries and a few succeeded but not many could sustain it for very long.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were a part of that trend when they saw new ownership take over in 2012 and boost their payroll to levels rivalling the Yankees.

It was what they need to return to being competitive but they had entered the payroll battle slightly too late.

No trend will last forever and the spending had to stop somewhere as teams just couldn’t keep up with the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers.

So the smaller teams that could never make the amount of money needed so they thought of another way to compete.

Teams began committing to the rebuild giving up all of their biggest assets in order to bring in young talented players.

No team made more of a commitment to the rebuild than the Houston Astros who stripped things right down to the bare bones.

They suffered through some pretty rough years seeing two straight 100-loss seasons in what looked like a very bad period for the Astros.

Lurking in the farm system though was a wealth of talent that was only getting better with every bad season.

It may have seemed like things were never going to get better but the talent that they had assembled began to make their way into the MLB.

It was predicted in 2014 when Sports Illustrated printed a cover story anointing them as the 2017 World Series champions simply because of the talent that was coming.

They made good on it this year and the talent that they had built through the draft along with a few key additions took the title.baseball-sidebar

It was the same strategy that the Cubs used only a year before as a few rough years turned into a World Series championship.

With the home-grown Astros beating the payroll of the Dodgers things might be ready to shift in a major way and at the worst time.

There is only a year left until what could be the biggest free agency class in the history of the MLB but the taste for free agents might be dying down.

This off-season will be an indication of whether or not the league is taking notes or needs some more convincing.

One of the biggest spending teams is already on the other side as the Yankees made a big impression this season with a young mostly homegrown team.

Some teams are sure to go out and pay for the big names this off-season to try to sign their way to a championship.

The demand might not be there though and those skyrocketing prices for big names might be stabilizing.

It won’t end the bidding wars as Japanese star Shohei Ohtani is sure to get a lot of teams to fork over big paychecks while Jake Arrieta, Jay Bruce, Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer could all demand big money.

There may be big names but this winter teams could also decide that a rebuild is the best way to go no matter how painful it might be.

They have seen that strategy work two years in a row now and for those teams, without the big budget, they could pass on trying to land that big name and focus on their farm system.

The off-season will be an interesting one as teams make the shift or stick to the old way with all looking to be on top a year from now.

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