Back in September, when the season was all but over, I created a poll to see what the SM readers expected out of the M’s, prior to the team making any moves in the offseason. I advised the voters to use whatever criterion they wanted, allowing them freedom to predict both the improvement from the current team, as well as any acquisitions they saw coming in the offseason.
The poll featured six ranges of win totals: Less than 70, 71-75, 76-80, 81-85, 86-90, and more than 90. I voted for 81-85, and specifically projected 83 wins. I foresaw improvement from the kids, as well as us bringing in a solid middle of the order bat, which would account for the 8 win improvement from 2012.
Here is what you guys thought back in September:
As you can see, people did not see too extreme of a change for the upcoming year. 76-80 came in 1st, meaning most people expected a small improvement over last year. From there, 81-85 (the group I fell into) came in second, and 86-90 was the only other range chosen, pulling in votes from a few optimistic fans.
These projections came before any real moves had been made, and were based on various assumptions on what kind of changes Jack and company would make, making it tough to get a great idea of what was in store.
So how do the actual moves compare to what I was expecting? I am personally expecting about 84 wins this year, one above what I originally projected. They did what I expected in acquiring a middle-of-the-order bat (or two) in Kendrys Morales (and Mike Morse). He should provide the true power bat this team needs, so they do not have to rely too much on the young guys. However, I do expect a bounce-back year from Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero, and yes, Justin Smoak. All that combined should add close to 10 wins to last years total.
In addition to Morales and Morse, the M’s brought in veteran outfielders Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay, and veteran lefty Joe Saunders. However, they also lost Jason Vargas and John Jaso. How those moves will effect the success of the team is up to you. Below is the poll, identical to the one from September. What do you expect now that the offseason is over, and the improvement, or damage, is done?
In addition to voting in the poll, feel free to leave your choice in the comments, as well as some details on why you chose what you did.