The arrival of Major League Baseball’s exhibition season always gets me thinking of the upcoming season. Spring has to be near.

I will preview the 2024 season in a few weeks. Let me tease the preview by giving you a few playoff teams from last year that may struggle to repeat success.

Let me start by saying that I feel the defending World Series Champions Texas Rangers may find this season tougher than before.  The Rangers are going to be without pitchers Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer for at least the start of the season. Pitching will be an issue.

Spring Training Is Here

Another issue is the American League. The AL is very strong. Realistically, the Rangers have four spots to vie for: the West crown and the three wild cards. The West has two other teams who seem like serious playoff contenders, the Astros and Mariners, and the East might have as many as five clubs battling for a postseason berth.

I think that the Tampa Bay Rays will finally digress. It seems like we doubt the Rays every spring, only for them to show up every fall. I feel we will see a down year in Tampa. The Rays will enter the season without pitchers Shane McClanahan, Drew Rasmussen, and Jeffrey Springs. Add in the Tyler Glasnow trade, and Tampa Bay will be relying on an unproven starting rotation.

I am thinking that the Minnesota Twins may miss out in 2024. They let some good players leave while teams like Detroit and Cleveland appear ready to challenge the Twins in the AL Central. The Twins’ winter was defined by loss. Sonny Gray, Kenta Maeda, and Tyler Mahle all departed, leaving Minnesota with a remade rotation. They also traded away Jorge Polanco and bid adieu to closer Emilio Pagán.

The Milwaukee Brewers also suffered loss during the offseason. Manager Craig Counsell bolted to the rival Chicago Cubs. All-star pitcher Brandon Woodruff was released. Another All star pitcher Corbin Burnes was traded. Of the four teams I discussed, I think the Brewers have the highest odds of not seeing playoff action this fall.

If my first thoughts come true, there will be four new teams playing October baseball. I will let you know in a few weeks who I think they are. It may be your favorite team. Hope springs eternal when it comes to baseball in the spring.