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Predicting the 2020s for Each of the 30 MLB Teams

It's hard to know what's going to happen in baseball this decade. Will Mike Trout finally have a World Series ring? What will Bryce Harper be up to? What unnecessary mess will the Mets get themselves into next?

After spending most of the last few weeks writing about baseball in the 2010s, it’s time to divert our attention to the decade ahead of us. It’s hard to know what’s to come in baseball. Just look at all that changed in our game over the last 10 years. Many times, the most logical expectations look absurd in retrospect, and the most unlikely of guesses come true. But that’s part of the fun of making predictions.

We’ve made one prediction for each of the 30 MLB teams in the 2020s. Bookmark this bad boy and in 10 years tell us just how wrong we were. I’m sure we’ll appreciate it.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Chase Field’s swimming pool will expand into the outfield as part of a pilot program for how to handle baseball as sea levels rise. — Emma Baccellieri

Atlanta Braves

Freddie Freeman’s 2014 contract extension—which has him in town through 2021—will be followed by another one to keep him around until 2026. His cat will remain chronically chill, God willing. — EB 

Baltimore Orioles

Adley Rutschman, selected first overall in the 2019 MLB draft, will be the starter on almost every All-2020s MLB teams when we’re making those lists 10 years from now. — Matt Martell

Will the Red Sox trade Mookie Betts before he hits free agency?

Boston Red Sox

The 2020s will not be kind to the Red Sox. After trading Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers for Joc Pederson, top pitching prospect Dustin May and 18-year-old catching prospect Diego Cartaya, they will struggle to compete with the Yankees, Blue Jays and Rays in the AL East. Boston fans will look back bitterly at the Mookie Trade—though it will not be as one-sided as the deal that sent Babe Ruth to the Bronx—and see 2018 as the end of a Red Sox Golden Age, just as they did with 1918 in the 20th century. — MM

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs will trade Kris Bryant before the 2020 season, and will also deal catcher Willson Contreras. By the second half of the 2020s, only Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo—in the final years of his accomplished big-league career—will remain from their 2016 team that won it all. The once-promised Cubs dynasty will be no more. — MM

Chicago White Sox

The best decade in White Sox history was the 1950s, when the team had a winning percentage of .550, a Rookie of the Year (Luis Aparicio), MVP (Nellie Fox), Cy Young (Early Wynn), and a trip to the World Series (they lost).

They’ll top that in the 2020s: a winning percentage of .555, a Rookie of the Year (Luis Robert), MVP (Eloy Jimenez), and Cy Young (Michael Kopech), and a trip to the World Series (they’ll lose). — EB

Cincinnati Reds 

Baseball’s first professional franchise, the Reds will revolutionize the game in the 2020s by using a strategy that was common in the late 1870s—the two-way player. Sure, the Angels have Shohei Ohtani and the Rays have Brendan McKay, but Cincinnati will be the first team to regularly use multiple position players as high-leverage relievers. Michael Lorenzen has performed as well as the Reds could have hoped as an outfielder and reliever. Recently, they reportedly signed Matt Davidson, who has made three career MLB pitching appearances (three innings, no runs, two strikeouts) and has said he wants to pitch more often. This is only the beginning. — MM

Cleveland Indians

Cleveland will maintain baseball’s longest championship drought—with a remarkable commitment to financial flexibility and no desire to use such flexibility to actually stretch for anything. — EB

Colorado Rockies

Is this the decade when the Rockies have their first-ever Cy Young winner? Let’s say this is the decade when the Rockies have their first-ever Cy Young winner. Let’s say that we don’t know his name yet, that he won’t be in the system for a few more years, that he’ll get so many whiffs and so little contact that no one will even have to bother trying to caveat anything about his flyball-to-home-run ratio. It’s nice to say so, right? — EB

Detroit Tigers

In the many, many, many analyses of Miguel Cabrera’s contract written in the ‘10s, there was relatively little attention paid to its vesting options for 2024 and 2025—$30-million one-year options that will vest automatically if Cabrera places in the Top 10 in MVP voting in 2023 and 2024, respectively. That’s perfectly fair, of course, because there was no reason to pay much attention to them; you can picture those being negotiated for either $3 million or $300 million as easily as $30 million, because what difference would it make?

In 2023, 40-year-old DH Miguel Cabrera will hit 50 home runs. It will be fun and weird and a total surprise. He’ll be a fan favorite; he’ll be voted Comeback Player of the Year; he’ll be used as anecdotal support for all sorts of vaguely inspiring storylines. He’ll get a bunch of ninth- and 10th-place MVP votes, because why not? What difference would it make? — EB

Houston Astros

The cynic in me wants to say the Astros will get off with a relatively easy punishment in the sign-stealing investigation—losing draft picks, international bonus pool money and small suspensions for minor front office personnel and maybe manager A.J. Hinch—but that’s not a fun prognostication (unless you’re from Houston). Instead, commissioner Rob Manfred will come down hard on the Astros, suspending Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow for the entire 2020 season. In the end, though, the Astros will still make the playoffs in 2020 and remain one of the decade’s most competitive teams. — MM

Kansas City Royals

The Royals will turn the only unassisted triple play of the decade on Aug. 12, 2026. — EB


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Los Angeles Angels

Not only will Mike Trout make the playoffs in 2020 for the first time since 2014, but the Angels will be a perennial postseason contender throughout the decade. *Cue infomercial voice* But that’s not all! The Angels will win their next World Series title before the Dodgers. How’s that for a spicy take. — MM

Los Angeles Dodgers

At some point, Dodgers fans in the greater L.A. area will be able to easily watch the team on television. (Bold, we know.) — EB

Miami Marlins

The Marlins’ MLB-worst home run total in 2019 was not simply the result of the roster. It was the curse of the removal of the home run machine in the previous offseason. And the curse will prevail—not necessarily condemning the team to baseball’s lowest home run total in each season of the ‘20s, but keeping it consistently in the bottom half, at best. Such is the price for uprooting such great public art. — EB

Milwaukee Brewers

Following the 2020 season, the Brewers will restructure Christian Yelich’s contract. Right now, the 2018 MVP is playing under one of the most team-friendly contracts in the league—an extension worth $7 million AAV that he signed with the Marlins before the 2015 season. If one win above replacement is worth about $8 million, then Yeli was worth $117.6 million in his two seasons with Milwaukee. The Brewers have him under contract through 2021, with a team option for 2022. Instead, they will extend Yelich through 2030 (his age 38 season). Ten years, $300 million seems about right. — MM

Minnesota Twins

The Twins will win another postseason series—in 2022, exactly 20 years after their last one. Unfortunately, they will lose that ALCS to the Angels, just as they did in '02 (ALCS MVP Jo Adell, obviously). — EB 

New York Mets

Fred and Jeff Wilpon’s transfer of executive power to majority owner Steve Cohen in 2024 will be messy and confusing in a way that may not be particularly substantive but will definitely still somehow dominate the news and cause at least one dreadfully awkward press conference, which will be memed for years to come. — EB

Sep 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA;  New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the third inning against the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium.

New York Yankees

Aaron Judge will win the AL MVP and lead the Yankees to their 28th World Series championship in 2020 before signing a 10-year, $365 million extension to stay in New York for the rest of his career. Judge is one of the most productive players in baseball, though he’s missed a combined 110 games over the last two seasons. Right now, Spotrac calculates Judge’s market AAV at $28.5 over eight years. Once he stays healthy for a full season, the Yankees will give him $36.5 million per year, making him the highest-paid player (AAV) in MLB history. — MM

Oakland Athletics

Like they did with Josh Donaldson, the Athletics will trade budding star Matt Chapman before he reaches free agency in 2024. Franchise players come and go but the magnificent Oakland Coliseum lasts forever. — MM

Philadelphia Phillies

The Harper Solstice—the mid-point of the 13-year contract—will take place in July 2025, to be celebrated with bat flips, creative eye-black and clown questions, bro. — EB

Pittsburgh Pirates

A lot can happen over the next 10 years, but sheesh, the Pirates are in bad shape. Bad trades, poor player development and in-fighting have set the organization back after the 2013-15 postseason clubs. This isn’t a prediction so much as it is a diagnosis, but as any good doctor would say to an ailing patient—if you don’t change your ways, and change them soon, this is going to get worse before it gets better. I doubt their owner Bob Nutting is reading. — MM

San Diego Padres

The team’s return to brown uniforms will spark a fashion movement the likes of which baseball has never seen. A Padres brown jersey will be the ‘20s equivalent of a Charlotte Hornets starter jacket in the ‘90s, a statement piece that reaches beyond the boundaries of the game. It will be Cool, worn by influencers and trend-conscious teens and people who don’t watch baseball. It will mean something. It just won’t be about the Padres. — EB

Seattle Mariners

The good people of the Pacific Northwest deserve better than the longest postseason drought in North American professional sports. Sadly, we all can’t have nice things. General manager Jerry Dipoto will continue to have the quickest trade trigger in the sport but will be let go after Seattle falls short of October a few more times. — MM

San Francisco Giants

The Giants will receive karmic payback for the ‘10s’ even-year magic with odd-year curses. There will be a weird smell in the clubhouse. Doors will slam. The gulls will circle. A pop-fly will be dropped for no conceivable reason. Then it’ll disappear, only to return in two seasons. — EB

St. Louis Cardinals

Now 37, Yadier Molina has not played fewer than 110 games since he became the Cardinals’ full-time catcher in 2005. He will continue to suit up for St. Louis each year and reluctantly say he'll retire at the end of the 2030 season. Smell ya later, TB12! — MM

Tampa Bay Rays

After making the postseason four times in the first seven seasons of the decade, the Rays will move to Nashville in 2028. The abandoned Tropicana Field will become a popular St. Petersburg nightclub, “The Thirst Trop,” known for its cheap liquor and trap music. — MM

Texas Rangers

New decade, new ballpark, same team. There’s a lot to be excited about in Texas, and fans will have a competitive team to cheer for over the next 10 years. Still, the Rangers will not bring home their first World Series title in franchise history. — MM

Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays, led by the best young core in the game today, will win more World Series in the 2020s than the Red Sox, Astros and Dodgers. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will win the AL MVP Award at least once before 2025, making the Vlad Guerreros the first father-son duo to win the MVP award. — MM

Washington Nationals

For the 10-year reunion of the 2019 World Series team, Fernando Rodney will mark the occasion by shooting an actual arrow into the sky. It will somehow still turn into a celebration of Juan Soto’s relative youth. — EB