The 80-89 Win Club

Approximately one quarter of the teams in baseball won between 80 and 89 games last year. None of the seven clubs made the playoffs, but all of them were within striking distance of a postseason berth. The teams have had wildly different approaches to the 2011-12 offseason — at least so far. I've broken the clubs down into two groups, with their 2011 win totals in parentheses and links that send you to the club's offseason transactions summary:

Aggressive Spenders

Restrained Spenders

Two teams — the Cardinals and Tigers — graduated from the 80-89 win club to the postseason in 2011.


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52 Comments on "The 80-89 Win Club"


aricollins
3 years 8 months ago

What this post needs is a poll: who among the 80-89-win-club will vault themselves into the playoffs this next season?

My vote: Braves and Angels.

Vmmercan
3 years 8 months ago

Do both wildcards count or only the winner in the sudden death?

aricollins
3 years 8 months ago

I guess both wild cards? I mean, who can guess which team will win a one-game playoff…

joeybw
3 years 8 months ago

It’s all about health with the Braves, they were a playoff team last year that never had the best offense and the great pitching staff fell apart outside of Hudson, they stay healthy and they still have a great shot because it’s still about pitching no matter what the Marlins and Nats did. Nats scare me more though, I will say that.

I don’t like the CJ signing, not to mention he only goes every 5 days anyway but I don’t see him being that good. Albert is Albert but the Machine needs to stay healthy because with Trumbo either being traded or having his focus on playing 3B, Pujols might be that whole offense. Personally, I say trade whoever you have to and get Trout in that lineup everyday. Angels will win their division. Rangers are going with too many unknowns in Feliz as a SP (been a while since he’s done that), Darvish in America and either Ogando who was figured out in the 2nd half or Harrison who is blah. Not to mention Lewis who comes alive for the playoffs but the season….not impressed. Offense will make it close but I think the Rangers are in the WC race this year.

Nick Sossamon
3 years 8 months ago

Why don’t you like the CJ signing may I ask?  A five year, relatively cheap deal for a guy with not a lot of mileage on his arm and nearly a 10 WAR the past two years.  Plus he’s pitching in a pitcher’s haven in Anaheim against two poor offensive teams (soon to be three with the Astros coming).  Lefties also have a better track record of aging well, and he has the arsenal of pitches to not rely purely on velocity. 

There’s no reason to not like the signing in my opinion. 

Guest
3 years 8 months ago

The only thing that makes your point valid is the fact that the sox just gave danks 13mil a year……so wilson is not too hateful by comparison

aricollins
3 years 8 months ago

NL West isn’t that strong, so I could see the Giants sneaking in and doing some damage, as they did in 2010.

3 years 8 months ago

Shoulda thrown the Reds in this (79) because of their huge offseason!

northsfbay
3 years 8 months ago

We have the trendy picks every year. The teams that make the most moves. Last year we had the Rockies and the A’s. We will see what happens.

joeybw
3 years 8 months ago

Just above: 91 wins, the Rays who have extended Moore and signed Molina. Not thinking marquee names but lots of “Rays moves” coming very soon, Friedman will be very busy in January. Getting himself a 1B, hopefully a young one like Rizzo or Trumbo, a DH, probably Damon, a bullpen arm like Ayala or Wheeler or Rays are supposedly hard after Andrew Bailey and as was posted on this site, I believe Matt Joyce will get an extension. Friedman might as well be in a coma for November and December, he almost refuses to make moves so even the Moore extension and Molina signing weren’t expected, he fills out his roster in January.

My hopefuls: Mark Trumbo or Anthony Rizzo, Johnny Damon and Andrew Bailey
Some other options: Carlos Pena, Brett Pill, Kendrys Morales, Joel Zumaya, Luis Ayala and a signing that I would like but don’t see happening because we love Damon, Luke Scott.

My pipe dream: Prince Fielder takes a 3 year deal after all. This will not happen and I will not waste time even hoping for it but I will buy an authentic Red Sox Crawford jersey if it does happen…then I will burn it.

3 years 8 months ago

i looked at the people the angels signed and then at the people the dodgers signed, and then i laughed

joeybw
3 years 8 months ago

Dodgers have built one great AAA team! I mean, I love the Kemp extension but maybe they should of spent all that money they used on back up players for a Beltran type to hit behind Kemp.

3 years 8 months ago

how silly. we all know that old utility guys are the new market inefficiency

CAD_Monkey
3 years 8 months ago

The fact that both were labeled “aggressive spenders” made me cry.

Casor_Greener
3 years 8 months ago

Dodgers didn’t need that much.

aricollins
3 years 8 months ago

Resigning Kemp was probably a good idea (though does no one else remember when he sucked a whole, umm, ONE YEAR AGO?), but yeah, they didn’t ADD any real talent, just kept what they have.

Scott Tyler
3 years 8 months ago

Cardinals….. Wainwright back, Fielder gone…Braun, who knows…..Cards win the Central

davbee
3 years 8 months ago

Uh…Pujols, gone…LaRussa, gone.  Cards win the Central?  FAIL.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 8 months ago

NL Central is up for grabs when you consider both teams from that division that went to the playoffs lost their star hitter. Losing Pujols will hurt the Cards but getting back Wainright and adding Beltran will certainly help. With the Reds adding Latos it seems more likely a 3-team race but on paper I’d say the Cards are the favorite.

Guest
3 years 8 months ago

And the reds sneak in and rob the division!!

3 years 8 months ago

I know it sounds crazy, but I think the Royals actually have a shot (yes, I know; they were a sub-80 win team last year)… at least at one of the two WC spots.  Especially if they happen to add another quality pitcher via trade (perhaps Matt Garza?).  Their offense should be explosive if not at least very interesting next season; with Cain leading off and Gordon/Hosmer/Butler/Moustakas in the middle of the order. They remind me of the Texas Rangers prior to 2010…great young offense, just waiting for the pitching to come through… Right now, I think they have a much higher upside than the Indians, at least… I could see them even finishing second in the AL Central.  

joeybw
3 years 8 months ago

Royals are not a crazy pick, they can be the Rays of 08 (and well 2011), the Rockies in I believe it was 2009, the almost Padres of 2010, the D’Backs of 2011

They get some good performances out of their pitchers and that offense is good enough to give them a chance. I think right now they are tied with the Sox for 2nd behind the Tigers.

Guest
3 years 8 months ago

actually i have the royals as one of my “look out” for teams……they are in a decent position to do something

3 years 8 months ago

Not exactly a huge Dodger fan here, but this is a team that has lost more than they’ve gained, IMO.   Kuroda is a bigger loss than any or all of the pitchers that they have signed, and they’ve done zero to address the lack of offense nor plug the holes in the lineup.

Another club that has failed to improve is the Tigers.  Ordonez, Guillen, Perry, Zumaya, and Betemit are gone.  Dotel is added, and little else.  Two platoons of Santiago/ Raburn and Inge/ Don Kelly are both pathetic, very addressable, and haven’t been addressed.  

Move on!

Ferrariman
3 years 8 months ago

i wouldn’t call losing Ordonez, Guillen, Perry, and Zumaya as a bad thing, in fact, i’d say thats “addition by subtraction”

3 years 8 months ago

The problem is what they’re replacing these guys with.  Platoons of Santiago/ Raburn or Inge/ Don Kelly are ridiculous and inadequate.  Delmon is no Magglio.  The team is no better than what they finished the season with.

Paul Shailor
3 years 8 months ago

The only guy on that list that remotely contributed to our club last year was ordonez.

3 years 8 months ago

What about restrained spenders who didn’t even win 70 games? I mean there was some doubt during the course of the season that they weren’t even going to achieve 60 wins! I think they need some “LOVE” too! So lets give a great big “SHOUT OUT” to my favorite baseball team “The Baltimore Orioles” for showing “Restraint” during a time when most teams wouldn’t!

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 8 months ago

The words you’re looking for are “accepting mediocrity.”

sec3mysofa
3 years 8 months ago

Mediocrity would be a huge improvement for Baltimore.

craigkimbrelfan
3 years 8 months ago

Obviously everyone immediately thinks of the collapse and how Frank Wren hasn’t done anything.  What can you really do, though?  This was a team that was always in the top three to five in MLB through August.  A horrendous five win September put St. Louis in the playoffs by a game.  I think more than anything, the goals should be to keep everyone healthy, get Heyward hitting again and teach Fredi how to manage a damn bullpen.

Guest
3 years 8 months ago

that poor bullpen was spent!! starters have to help more

joeybw
3 years 8 months ago

Probably will but it will only be authentic if Fielder is signed by the Rays. Otherwise I am just buying a kids BP Crawford jersey and burning that and I’m bored even saying that.

Guest
3 years 8 months ago

or use it as toilet paper

joeybw
3 years 8 months ago

A huge concern for the Tigers (btw, I don’t see this happening but it’s a concern) Verlander threw like 280 innings last season and he absolutley NEEDS to be an ace for the Tigers to win the division. I love Fister but they can’t win a division with him as a #1.

MB923
3 years 8 months ago

I agree with most of this.

The Braves do not have a good offense though.

Guest
3 years 8 months ago

you are very close with that…..even if toronto gets another starter thats still a little iffy

grownice
3 years 8 months ago

  Non stop verbal mediocrity at its finest folks! Do you ever not babble the same garbage on every blue jays thread? Nobody cares.

Casor_Greener
3 years 8 months ago

Yeah I’m surprised the great Toronto GM hasn’t signed anyone yet. Pinning your hopes on a resurgence of Rasmus and a first time surge of Snider could lead to disaster.

kurtits
3 years 8 months ago

try optimism, or even suggestions!

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

not sure why you think its a dumb fan base? People have stopped going to games, its not like they are following blindly..

your act is tiresome.

Bluejaysnation
3 years 8 months ago

The Jays will be a better team this year not only from full years of Rasmus/Lawrie/KJ but from the subtraction of mediocre players that caused us game last year Rauch/Francisco. With Santos they will be much improved. Your negativity is getting old and calling Jays fans dumb when you call yourself a fan of them doesnt fair well for you.
Going from a 80-89 win team to a 95 win team is alot of luck and you cant buy them by throwing money at overpaid FAs.
So sit back in your lazyboy and your bottle of whiskey muttering to yourself and enjoy the game as we leave the professional stuff to our leader AA.

3 years 8 months ago

Of all the pitchers to possibly worry about breaking down, wouldn’t Verlander be at the very bottom of that list?

He’s thrown 200+ innings in five consecutive seasons with not even a hint of injury.  His 250 innings in 2011 was only 10 more innings than his previous high, and he showed no signs of slowing after that season.

There’s only 3 pitchers who have logged more innings over that time, and Verlander’s only 28 years old.

I’m not saying the Tigers couldn’t use some help in their rotation, but Verlander is about as close to a sure thing as you can get with an MLB pitcher.

grownice
3 years 8 months ago

Brett Lawrie.

3 years 8 months ago

snider did practically nothing for them last year and neither did rasmus or the guys he replaced (patterson, davis). even if they both spit the bit, the jays will be at least as good as they were last year (probably better with the improvements elsewhere on the field). 

i dont think that would qualify as disaster. 

joe smith
3 years 8 months ago

Im not sure why your surprised. The only free agent AA has ever given a MLB contract to is John McDonald.

3 years 8 months ago

Oh he has a suggestion (and much like the same overused hate, he has the same overused suggestion). Take a “mediocre team” and sign Prince Fielder to a massive contract. Apparently if we sign 1 player, we’ll no longer be a “mediocre team”. Dumbest fanbase in North America? It’s people like him that made it so.

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

 don’t forget the ghost of aaron hill.

Casor_Greener
3 years 8 months ago

maintaining mediocrity is not a virtue in my eyes

3 years 8 months ago

Keep in mind, no Jon Rauch or busted Frank Francisco in the ‘pen. +5 wins, minimum.

0bsessions
3 years 8 months ago

Actually, he threw 271 innings this year, 31 innings more than his previous high.

While his clear injury history is good, the amount of innings he’s thrown at so young of an age COULD be cause for concern.

Morley C
3 years 8 months ago

I’m surprised no one has mentioned no JoJo Reyes, no Jayson Nix, no Corey Patterson either. Addition by subtraction.