The 2018 Boston Red Sox had the factors that matter most when it comes to winning a World Series title. Their present on-field talent, payroll ceiling, front office quality, and impact future talent were all part of this year’s championship. What lies ahead? What teams have the right combination of these factors necessary to win a World Series over the next five seasons?
BOSTON RED SOX The Red Sox have a roster loaded with talent. They may lose some of it before 2019 as Ian Kinsler, Nathan Eovaldi, and Craig Kimbrel are all free agents. J.D. Martinez, Chris Sale, and Xander Bogaerts all become free agents after next season and Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. in 2020. The Red Sox has the money to sign four, possibly five, to long-term deals.
If the Red Sox are going to win a World Series again in the next five years, it would likely be in the next three. The AL East is competitive with rival New York and Boston’s farm system is ranked 29th in MLB. That means the future talent just isn’t there.
NEW YORK YANKEES Speaking of the Yankees, they, of course, have sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. They also have a minor league system that is considered one of the best in baseball. GM Brad Cashman is a master at trading middle-of-the-road prospects for short-term help. The problems the Yankees have to include is a first base and at catcher, where Gary Sanchez might not be the guy for as long as anticipated. New York will also miss SS Didi Gregorius for the first half of 2019 because of elbow surgery. Still, the Yankees have enough upside to contend for a World Series over the next five years.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS Yes, the Dodgers have a number of free agents and they won’t be re-signing them all. What Los Angeles does have is a solid core of young players such as emerging star Max Muncy who led the team with 35 home runs last season. Shortstop Corey Seager will return from Tommy John surgery and the Dodgers farm system might be the best in MLB. The Dodgers have the salary cap space to sign ace Clayton Kershaw again and guys like Cody Bellinger and Enrique Hernandez make the Dodgers a favorite to win the NL West for the next several years.
HOUSTON ASTROS The Astros are going to lose P Charlie Morton to Tampa Bay, and Dallas Keuchel is a free agent. But, Houston has the No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball in Forrest Whitley. They also have a top-10 prospect in OF Kyle Tucker. The Astros’ core is locked up for the next few years, but the key for Houston is their division. The AL West just isn’t that good. A 90-win season can get the Astros home-field advantage in a playoff series. A 90-win season for the Yankees might not even get them into the postseason.
ATLANTA BRAVES Emerging from the chaos of the NL East, the Braves took advantage in 2018 and won the division. With Washington looking to reduce their payroll (Bryce Harper), Miami being Miami, the Mets failing, and Philadelphia doing its best to stumble; Atlanta took over the reins of the division. The Phillies might make a run at Harper, but the Braves have some of the best young talents in the majors. Atlanta also has what is considered the best minor league system in baseball. Because of the wealth of young talent on the roster, the Braves also have money to spend which could put them over the top in the coming five years.
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