After a year that once again proved the futility of preseason predictions, with the Royals proving they were no fluke as American League champions as they went on to win it all, and the Mets topping a supposedly invincible Nationals team en route to a division title and their first pennant in 15 years, the calendar is ready to come off the wall, replaced by the 2016 edition.
It should be another wild year, with the Diamondbacks having announced to the world that they plan to be contenders, the Red Sox and Tigers seeking worst-to-first revivals and the Cubs looking to follow their NLCS appearance with a first pennant since 1945 and first world title since 1908.
What’s in store for 2016? Here are 10 bold predictions.
1 of 10 Strasburg leaves, Harper stays
After another out-of-the-playoffs finish, the Nationals will see the end of an era that had so much higher hopes when Stephen Strasburg not only reaches free agency, but proves that there still is plenty of money for free agents under the new CBA by signing an eight-year, $310 million contract with the Dodgers that keeps Bryce Harper in line to be the first player with a $40 million average annual value when he hits free agency after 2018 — or maybe Clayton Kershaw, should the lefty (who will win another Cy Young in 2016) opt out of his deal after 2018.
Strasburg’s departure from Washington will trigger talk about the Nationals thinking about trading Harper at the peak of his value, following a second straight MVP, but with Max Scherzer still there, Washington will decide to hang on to its superstar outfielder for at least one more year.