The Diamondbacks already begin 2014 with a sizable handicap, as top starter Patrick Corbin will miss the entire season after Tommy John surgery. How many teams have won a World Series missing their ace? It's a short list, and Arizona won't be joining it.
2 of 30David J. Phillip/AP
Speaking of teams cut short by elbow injuries: The Braves did the Diamondbacks one better and lost two starters to elbow injuries in the spring. A thin rotation won't be able to lift Atlanta to its first championship since 1995.
3 of 30Mark LoMoglio/Icon SMI
What does it say that Chris Davis' season for the ages couldn't bring a title to Baltimore? The Orioles have a mediocre rotation, a bullpen with a homer-happy first-time closer and are missing their homegrown stud in Manny Machado. Oh, and they play in arguably baseball's toughest division.
4 of 30Elsa/Getty Images; Gene J. Puskar/AP
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox pulled off the improbable worst-to-first run last season. Don't expect a repeat. Losing Jacoby Ellsbury will hurt; losing him to the rival Yankees hurts worse. Boston has to contend with 38 games against the Rays and reloaded Yankees this season, which will dent its World Series hopes.
5 of 30Todd Rosenberg/SI
"Wait 'til next year" remains the common refrain at Wrigley. Chicago's future is bright with Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and other top prospects. But the team on the field now has holes all over the lineup and a bullpen that inspires no hope. Make it 107 years and counting with no title for the North Side of Chicago.
6 of 30Brad Mangin/SI
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox lost 99 games last year, and though they made some nice moves in the offseason, it won't be enough to bridge the gap from last place in the division to first overall. Jose Abreu is untested, and the rotation is dangerously weak behind Chris Sale.
7 of 30Charles Rex Arbogast/AP
The team lost a lot of offense with Shin-Soo Choo going to Texas and did little to replace it. Aroldis Chapman's injury weakens a shaky bullpen, and the Reds can't count on ace Johnny Cueto thanks to durability concerns. Joey Votto remains the league's most underrated hitter, but even his otherworldly offense won't be enough for Cincinnati.
8 of 30Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Another rotation with depth issues, despite some promising young arms, to go with a bullpen that will inspire heartburn all across Ohio this season. Kansas City's improvement and Detroit's continued success make the Indians' path to the postseason that much tougher, too.
9 of 30Dustin Bradford/Getty Images
If the Rockies could ever get a full season out of both Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, maybe they could sneak into contention. But health issues with their two stars have hurt them before and will likely hurt them again in 2014, and Colorado doesn't have the depth to make up for it, especially in a rotation missing ace Jhoulys Chacin for the first month and change.
10 of 30Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
No Prince Fielder in the lineup, no Jose Iglesias at shortstop, an unproven rookie at third base, no outfield depth thanks to Andy Dirks' injury, and the closer is 39-year-old Joe Nathan. Miguel Cabrera's MVP-level production makes Detroit a contender, as does the imposing trio of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez. But even with those three pitching lights out in the last postseason, they still fell short. If they're off their game, Detroit's title hopes go up in smoke.
11 of 30Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Back-to-back-to-back 100-plus loss seasons in Houston, and there's not much of a reason to expect that streak to end this year. Houston's offense will be one of the league's worst; ditto the rotation. The Astros' front office is looking to 2015 and beyond by collecting top draft picks and inexpensive young players. In other words: Don't go planning any parade routes in downtown Houston for a while.
12 of 30Tony Gutierrez/AP
Kansas City Royals
It's been 28 years and counting since Kansas City's last postseason appearance, and while that streak may end this season, don't expect a World Series win to follow. The Royals' lineup is young and impatient, and the likes of Bruce Chen and Jason Vargas in the rotation don't exactly scream "title favorite." Things are on the upswing in Kansas City, but a championship isn't in the cards yet.
13 of 30Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Los Angeles Angels
The game's best player is in L.A., but that doesn't make the Angels title favorites. Mike Trout needs more help than what the Angels are offering; specifically, he needs Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton to rediscover their All-Star selves, not to mention the rotation to develop some options beyond Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson. An AL West title run? Sure. A World Series run? Don't bet on it.
14 of 30Jae C. Hong/AP
Los Angeles Dodgers
The game's richest team has constructed a roster most franchises would dream to have. But there are problems in the outfield, where Andre Ethier continues to slide and Carl Crawford can't stay healthy and Matt Kemp can't get on the field. Second base is a big question mark, and durability concerns surround the team's best offensive player in Hanley Ramirez. The Clayton Kershaw-Zack Greinke duo is formidable, but they both will need to be Cy Young-caliber to bring the Dodgers their first title since 1988.
15 of 30Marc Serota/Getty Images
Remember the last time the Marlins tried to build a World Series contender? Jeffrey Loria's dreams of buying a trophy were burst by mid-May, followed by the expected roster teardown. This iteration of the Marlins is full of impressive young talent but short on experience and depth, and the offense remains a big work in progress. At least that'll save Loria the money on confetti and parade floats.
16 of 30Jeffrey Phelps/AP
Ryan Braun is back, but is that enough to catapult the Brewers into World Series contenders? Probably not. Last year's team dug itself a giant hole with a miserable May thanks to some awful pitching in the rotation and bullpen. There's not much reason to expect either of those units to be substantially better in 2014. Braun or not, there isn't enough on this team to make World Series dreams a reality.
17 of 30Elise Amendola/AP
From perennial contender to likely basement dweller: The Twins have fallen on hard times as of late. Top prospects abound in the minors, but the major league team is lacking in impact players, Joe Mauer is aging, and the rotation is middling. The offense isn't much of a sight either.
18 of 30Joshua Sarner/Icon SMI
New York Mets
New York's 2014 title hopes died back in August of last year, when Matt Harvey tore a ligament in his elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery. His absence is a huge hole in the rotation that the Mets will struggle to overcome, and the offense isn't potent enough to carry the team, either. Top prospects and good young players are coming, and Harvey will return, too. Just don't expect postseason baseball in Queens this year.
19 of 30Gene J. Puskar/AP
New York Yankees
The Yankees missed the playoffs in 2013, and in response dropped nearly $500 million in free agent contracts in the offseason. Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Masahiro Tanaka will all help, but they won't make this team any younger or more durable. Virtually every starter is on the wrong side of 30, and the team's infield may very well be the league's worst with Robinson Cano now in Seattle. Derek Jeter's final season won't see him being fitted for ring No. 6.
20 of 30Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images
Well, Billy Beane has already said that his, er, stuff doesn't work in the playoffs. A regular-season powerhouse, the A's always seem to fall short in the postseason, be it the lack of a top starter or an offense that can't scratch out runs against aces. Losing Jarrod Parker in the spring to an elbow injury only further hurts Oakland's chances; the rotation is thin without him and fellow injured hurler A.J. Griffin. The likely outcome: The A's once again make the playoffs, only to go home without a trophy.
21 of 30Ross D. Franklin/AP
They had the makings of a dynasty after their 2008 title win, but by now, the Phillies' title chances have passed them by. The roster is old just about everywhere, and there's no depth either on the big league club or in the minors. Ruben Amaro Jr. hung on too long to his veterans, who are fully in their decline stages, and there's no infusion of youth or talent to be found in the farm system to bolster Philadelphia.
22 of 30Fred Vuich/SI
Last season was the kind of magical run you normally only see in the movies: The hard-luck team finally breaks its long streak of futility and gives fans a reason to cheer again. Only there was no happy ending in 2013, and Pirates fans shouldn't expect one in 2014. The team did little in the offseason to improve a team that couldn't get past the better Cardinals in the playoffs, and will be in a dogfight in the division with St. Louis and Cincinnati that could leave Pittsburgh on the outside looking in when it comes to the postseason.
23 of 30Mike McGinnis, Andy Hayt/Getty Images
San Diego Padres
The Padres will be better in 2014 than 2013, but championship better? Don't expect it. San Diego still needs help on offense and in the rotation; injuries have already robbed the team of Cameron Maybin and Josh Johnson. The Padres struggle to score and need perfect health in the rotation to have a shot at the division crown, much less the World Series.
24 of 30Christian Petersen/Getty Images
San Francisco Giants
Another NL West team that should be better in 2014, the Giants have won two titles in the last five seasons, but a third is likely out of the question. At least, unless Tim Lincecum and Tim Hudson both turn back the clock, and the team finds some above-average offensive solutions in the outfield (minus Hunter Pence). The Giants just won't be able to keep pace with the league's better offenses.
25 of 30Darron Cummings/AP
Robinson Cano is a great player, but he can't do it alone. The Mariners will be better with him in the lineup, but they failed to pick up a top right-handed bat to complement him, instead hoping for rebounds from the likes of Corey Hart, Logan Morrison and Justin Smoak. None of Seattle's young players have panned out as hoped in the lineup, minus Kyle Seager. Felix Hernandez is still one of baseball's best, and Hisashi Iwakuma makes for a good partner in the rotation. But the Mariners are top-heavy and thin all around. Cano's first season in the Pacific Northwest won't come with a title.
26 of 30Winslow Townson/SI
St. Louis Cardinals
As good as last year's Cardinals squad was, they still fell short in the World Series to Boston, thanks to some key bats going cold at the wrong time and some uncharacteristically poor defense. Make no mistake: This team is still very good. But the offense lost Carlos Beltran, the back of the rotation is no great shakes, and the NL Central is no gimme. Nor will the NL playoff race be any easier with the Nationals and Dodgers likely to push the Cardinals for the game's best record. St. Louis is one of the World Series favorites for sure. But they'll need some luck and some underperformance by their rivals to deliver a third title in eight seasons.
27 of 30Mike Carlson/AP
Tampa Bay Rays
The plucky little team that could won't be able to in 2014. Matt Moore has mysteriously lost his control; Jeremy Hellickson is on the shelf; the offense lacks an impact bat aside from Evan Longoria and Wil Myers. The Rays are banking on another career year out of James Loney and for some equally career-high performances out of the likes of David DeJesus, Desmond Jennings and Yunel Escobar. The sum of Tampa's parts won't equal a first championship for the franchise.
28 of 30Zuma Press/Icon SMI
How do you win a title with no viable rotation? The Rangers are going to try to do just that. The disabled list in Texas is already bursting at the seams; Derek Holland and Matt Harrison are there for the long haul, and Yu Darvish just joined them short term. Add in an injury to top rookie Jurickson Profar, and the Rangers resemble a MASH unit more than a ball club. The offense will keep them in games, but without that above-average pitching, Texas' World Series chances are slim to none.
29 of 30Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays won the offseason for 2013, and look how far that got them. Injuries and underperformance combined to derail Toronto's playoff chances. Apparently, the Jays decided to take a different tack this offseason, doing little to nothing to address the many holes on their roster. The rotation is a mess, and the team's two most important offensive players, Jose Bautista and Jose Reyes, are durability concerns. Edwin Encarnacion will keep them afloat, but the Jays won't come close to a championship in 2014.
30 of 30Alex Brandon/AP
The popular World Series pick in 2013, the Nationals instead slumped to second place in the NL East behind the surprising Braves. You can blame injuries for a lot of that, but Washington still lacks firepower in the lineup beyond Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond. The rotation is still powerful, but Doug Fister will start the season on the disabled list, and the bullpen is in the hands of a shaky-looking Rafael Soriano. The Nationals will contend in 2014, but the World Series may be a step too far for this roster.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!