Monday, September 30, 2013
Bad baseball: Final tanking standings
By David Schoenfield
So we ended up with the quite the finish here. Lots of bad baseball down the stretch. Lots. Remember: The top 10 picks are protected if you sign a free agent who is given a qualifying offer. Plus, the worse you finish in the overall standings the more money you get to spend in the draft. Yay, incentivized losing!
1. Astros: 51-111
Just in case they were worried about the Marlins catching them, they lost their final 15 games to ensure the No. 1 pick for the third draft in a row.
2. Marlins: 62-100
Kudos to Henderson Alvarez for his final-day no-hitter. In fact, the Marlins swept the Tigers in that season-ending series and won five of their final six, allowing just seven runs over those six games.
3. White Sox: 63-99
Tried hard to catch the Marlins, going 7-21 in September and losing five of their final six. Went 2-17 against the Indians, although no truth to the rumor that the Indians will share their playoff shares with the White Sox.
4. Cubs: 66-96
Ended up tied with the Twins, but get the higher pick based on 2012 record. And boy did they fight hard to get that fourth pick. Lost six of their final seven and 12 of their final 15.
5. Twins: 66-96
Lost 10 of final 11. Too bad they beat the Tigers in extra innings on Sept. 23 or they would be drafting one slot higher. In Sunday's finale, ensured defeat with three errors. In the sixth inning. Nice job, Twins!
6. Mariners: 71-91
Went 6-14 over their final 20 games to slide from a bubble team securely into a top-10 position. Lost their final eight extra-inning games, proving there's an art to successful tanking. Namely: A bad bullpen helps.
7. Phillies: 73-89
It looked like they would jump out of the bottom 10 but then lost nine of their final 11. No wonder Ryne Sandberg got the job for next year! The final game was huge, as the Phillies came up big with a 12-5 loss to the Braves.
Now, this is where things get really interesting. We had a four-way tie for spots 8 through 11. The tiebreaker is 2012 record. So ...
8. Rockies: 74-88
Those two one-run wins over the Dodgers on Saturday and Sunday didn't help, but the tiebreaker gives them the edge. Not that they'll be pursuing Robinson Cano or anything.
9. Blue Jays: 74-88
How nervous was GM Alex Anthopoulos watching the Jays nearly rally from a 7-0 deficit on Sunday? They did beat the Rays twice on the final weekend but still lost 12 of their final 19.
10. Mets: 74-88
The Mets had the most to lose if they finished out of the top 10, since they presumably could be pursuing some of the big free agents this winter. Luckily the offense came through with three straight 4-2 losses to the Brewers (before winning the season finale 3-2).
11. Brewers: 74-88
Well, this is what a 15-12 record in September will do to you. No Kyle Lohse for the Brewers this offseason!
12. Padres: 76-86
Yes, Padres fans, there were 11 teams worse than yours.
13. Giants: 76-86
The Giants went 10-5 over their final 15 to at least avoid becoming just the second World Series winner (after the 1997 Marlins) to finish in last place the next season. So there's that.
14. Angels: 78-84
A 21-7 stretch in August/September ruined any chance the Angels had of finishing with a top-10 pick. So if they went to throw $250 million at Cano, it will cost them their first-round pick.