What Will Be The Biggest Storyline Of The 2019 MLB Season?
This is one of 10 burning questions in our 2019 MLB season preview. To see all of our bold predictions, click here. All answers to the question are from Baseball America’s editorial team.
Carlos Collazo: The continued youth movement in the game.
Justin Coleman: The National League East will be one of the most competitive divisions this season, with four clubs having made multiple upgrades to their 2019 rosters.
J.J. Cooper: The growing storm clouds as the owners and the players’ union get closer and closer to the 2021 expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. Commissioner Rob Manfred understandably wants pace of play improvements, but the players are more focused on the diminishing share of MLB revenues that are going to players. A second consecutive rough offseason for many veteran free agents has made it clear last year was not an aberration.
Kyle Glaser: The lack of activity in free agency. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado were the headliners this offseason, and it’s only going to get more prominent with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Chris Sale, Anthony Rendon, Paul Goldschmidt, Madison Bumgarner and Xander Bogaerts all due to be free agents after this season.
Kegan Lowe: The play of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. We spent all offseason talking about where they would sign and for how much. Now that the season is starting, was all the hand-wringing over years and dollars worth it? Are the teams that refused to invest heavily in long-term contracts for either Harper and Machado gaining some immediate satisfaction? Or will Harper and Machado make all of the teams that seemingly passed on them look foolish?
Josh Norris: The relations between the players and the owners will be the biggest storyline. Sure, there will be a break in the action in the summer when the action on the field heats up, but the conversation all spring and toward the latter part of the season will revolve around why it took so long for two generational talents and an elite closer, plus a glut of other talented players, to find deals.