Every year there are disappointments. But, this year's Major League Baseball season seemed to bring much more underperformance than usual.
Some regular World Series contenders didn't even come close and the league's three biggest payrolls all missed the MLB postseason. Here are the five most disappointing teams of the 2023 campaign:
5. St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis entered this season as runaway NL Central favorites. Heck, the Cardinals were actually my pick to win the World Series this year.
On paper, they had it all: solid rotation, MVP bats, offensive depth, and a few good bullpen pieces. In actuality, they had none of it.
If there was one positive for Cardinals fans this season, the year was largely quick and painless. It became so obviously clear the Cards were going nowhere in 2023 very early on, so fans could just move on before summer even started.
4. Los Angeles Angels
This one's more of a lifetime achievement award for the Angels' disappointment. Few people expected them to be actually good this year, with win projections and title odds slating them as more a slightly above average team.
But, for the hundredth season in a row, the Angels failed to meet even those reasonable expectations. Assuming Shohei Ohtani walks in free agency, the Angels will have successfully wasted his entire time in Anaheim with nary a playoff appearance to show for it. Embarrassing.
The Angels locker room today after learning they’ll be without Trout and Ohtani for the foreseeable future: pic.twitter.com/mt6HmhlQci— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) August 24, 2023
3. San Diego Padres
Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Manny Machado. How does the middle of that lineup not win more games?
There was some key underperformance in SD, for sure. Machado had a tough year, the offensive depth crumbled, and Blake Snell was the only starting pitcher to stay healthy for over 26 starts.
But, the Padres were also probably the unluckiest team in baseball. SD posted a +104 run differential, higher than four teams that made the postseason. They were 9-23 in one-run games, too, easily the worst close-game record in MLB. The lack of luck doesn't overshadow the disappointment here, though.
2. New York Yankees
At various points last winter, the Yankees floated anywhere from first to fourth in World Series odds. In the American League, they were the obvious favorites, signing back Aaron Judge and bringing in Carlos Rodon in the winter. They didn't live up to a lick of those expectations.
I'm not sure the Yankees' 82-80 record really encapsulates how frustrating and disappointing the 2023 campaign was for NY fans. For a franchise that expects greatness, this year's team was anything but. Aside from Judge and Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole, nobody else on the Yankees did much of anything — so when Judge got hurt things went off the rails. Of New York's five most-used hitters this year, only Gleyber Torres posted an OPS above the league average.
Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole just look so damn sad man...— db (Sports=Pain) (@db1207_) August 16, 2023
This just sucks. pic.twitter.com/tGs2qJnsGE
1. New York Mets
Money can't buy happiness — at least not in Queens, New York.
With new owner Steve Cohen splashing his cash, the Mets ran a whooping $343 million payroll this season. The $65 million more the Mets spent on players this season than any other team was more than the Oakland A's spent, total.
What happened next, we really should've seen coming. Signing Cy Young candidates Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Kodai Senga, Jose Quintana and others wasn't enough to overcome the curse that sits over Citi Field. No matter how much they spend, the Mets will always Met.
Disappointment is a constant state for Mets fans. They were the most disappointing team in 2023, but that's nothing new.