Happy New Year! The grand illusion of New Year's celebrations is that they make us believe that, somehow, the future will be better than the past, that no matter what bad things happened last year, next year will be different. It doesn't often happen that way … but many of us are optimistic and hopeful. The New Year is also the time of resolutions, some of which we may actually keep.
So, in the spirit of optimism that the New Year brings, today at the Thirty, we give each MLB team one resolution for 2019. What went wrong in 2018 might be fixed in 2019, if they can just stick to these resolutions. As with most resolutions, it's easier said than done. But there's nothing wrong with hope.
Blue Jays: Let's make Vlad Jr. feel at home
The Blue Jays have a markedly aged lineup (half of which is over 30) for a team that doesn't have a ton of hope to compete for a title this season. But 2019 will forever be known as "The Year Vladamir Guerrero Jr. Landed in Toronto." It'd be nice to let Vlad Jr. work his way into MLB shape rather than have to feel like the franchise's immediate savior.
Orioles: Let's not lose 115 games again
The Orioles are starting completely over; it's going to be a while. But not losing a franchise-record number of games seems like a good place to start, right? The Orioles aren't contending this year, but signs of progress would be nice.
Rays: Let's get to the playoffs
With all the smart moves the Rays have made this offseason, and with all the strategic inventiveness they've displayed, it's time to see some results. Steamer has the Rays as the ninth-best team in baseball and the second AL Wild Card team. The Rays have missed the past five postseasons. It's time to shock the world again.
Red Sox: Let's win another one
The Red Sox have done just about everything else in the last decade-plus, but there's one thing they haven't done since 1915-16: Win two in a row. The last team to win two World Series in a row was the Yankees. That's a record the Red Sox would love to take away from them.
Yankees: Let's go get Manny Machado
The match is perfect in every way, both good and bad. Manny has said he's waiting until 2019 to sign. Let's get this done and make the prophecy complete.
Indians: Let's get home-field advantage in the AL Division Series
Even with the improvements in Minnesota and Chicago, Cleveland is still the class of the division. The Indians need to take advantage by winning enough games to at least have home-field advantage in the first round, if not the entire playoffs. There are many wins to be had in this division. The Indians need to get them.
Royals: Let's get two prospects in the MLB Pipeline Top 100
The Royals are going young and building for the future, but they don't actually have a great farm system set up right now. Brady Singer, No. 60, is the only Top 100 prospect they have right now. This is the year to make sure you get yourself some more.
Tigers: Let's see some vintage Jose Cabrera
It has been two full seasons since we saw a healthy, raking Miggy. This is a Hall of Famer right in front of us. It'd be a gift to get to see him be that again.
Twins: Let's get four 30-homer hitters
Signing Nelson Cruz was the perfect move for a team that needs to up its power game. You don't need to squint to see Cruz, Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler and Miguel Sano all hitting 30 or more. If that happens, this is a Wild Card team at the very least.
White Sox: Let's see Eloy Jimenez establish himself
The phenom prospect should be up by June, at the latest. If he can even approach the freshman season that, say, Ronald Acuna Jr., put up, the White Sox have a cornerstone star for the rest of the prospects to filter in around.
Angels: Let's get Michael Trout a playoff win
As long as he doesn't have one and he's still in Los Angeles, this is the resolution. Or else he likely won't be there much longer.
Astros: Let's get a fourth (or third!) starting pitcher
At this point, they essentially have everything else.
Athletics: Let's get Matt Chapman an extension
He's a player you build around, the fans love him and you have a new ballpark you're trying to hype up. Get your budding superstar locked in.
Mariners: Let's get the fans something to tide them over
The Mariners made smart moves this offseason, but they were clearly steps backwards in the short term for a team that still has the longest postseason drought in baseball. There are better times ahead, but those long-suffering fans deserve something to make them happy. (Yusei Kikuchi was a nice start.)
Rangers: Let's get Joey Gallo's average up to at least .220
Gallo's a valuable hitter at .206 and .209. Imagine what he'd be if he hit about 10 points higher.
Braves: Let's get some of those pitchers up and healthy
Mike Soroka, Kyle Wright, Touki Toussaint, Luiz Gohara and Bryse Wilson are all top 100 prospects who are close to ready for the big leagues right now. Get three or four of them going at the right time, and watch out for the Braves.
Marlins: Let's see some progress, any progress
After the initial ugliness of their outfield selloff, Derek Jeter and company have made some quietly rational and smart long-term moves. But no one will believe it until they start to see it on the field.
Mets: Let's make Brodie look smart
Guess who Steamer has as the 10th best team in baseball and the second NL Wild Card team? The Mets! If that happens, they may bronze their new GM outside of Citi Field.
Nationals: Let's be the 2001 Mariners
All right, so maybe the Nats don't win quite that many games. But if the Nationals are looking for a team to emulate that lost a superstar and rebounded to be even better than before, that's the one.
Phillies: Let's get another star so the fans don't tear this place apart
The Phillies went into the offseason willing to spend "stupid" money, and yet they still don't have any major superstars (with apologies to Andrew McCutchen and Rhys Hoskins). Can they get one if Harper and Machado don't come?
Brewers: Let's steal the Cubs' mantle
The Brewers won the NL Central last year, even if it still seems like the Cubs won it. If the Brewers win another one, no one will ever be able to dismiss them as a fluke or a result of a Cubs' dropoff: They'll be the new captains now.
Cardinals: Let's get to the postseason
No need to overthink this one. The Cardinals have missed the playoffs for three consecutive seasons, the longest stretch for the franchise since 1997-99. They've invested substantially in this year's team. The stakes couldn't be more clear.
Cubs: Let's get this Joe Maddon situation resolved, one way or another
One would have thought that bringing a World Series trophy to Wrigley Field would get you a lifetime contract, but there have been clear differences between Maddon and his front office in the last two years. The Cubs will either double down on Maddon after this year, or go another direction entirely.
Pirates: Let's Get Mitch Keller up to Pittsburgh and have a truly scary rotation
Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer, Trevor Williams and Keller: Is that potentially the best starting four in the division? Maybe the whole National League?
Reds: Let's plate 800 runs
The rotation is still going to be an issue, but with the lineup additions and a fully healthy Joey Votto, the Reds could potentially get to 800 runs for the first time since 2005.
Diamondbacks: Let's find a new home for Zack Greinke
The D-backs are cleaning house, and the best way to truly clear some payroll and maybe bring in some talent, would be dealing Greinke. If he's old-school Greinke for the season's first three months, some contender will eagerly come calling.
Dodgers: Let's get over the hump this time
Losing two straight World Series is … not fun. The Dodgers do not want to be baseball's Buffalo Bills.
Giants: Let's give Farhan Zaidi some room
The Giants won three World Series in five years, giving their fans unbridled joy in the process. Now the bill is coming due. Now is not the time for sentimentality. Zaidi is one of the smartest men in the sport. Let him do what he's here to do.
Padres: Let's let everybody know we're coming
The Padres are stealthily, studiously building something intriguing out there. But fans -- and the rest of baseball -- need to see some forward movement to start believing. With the D-backs and Giants taking a step back, this would be a terrific season to show it.
Rockies: Let's get Nolan Arenado signed
He's the face of the franchise and its recent resurgence. Let's get this done.