Major League Baseball's arduous 2021-22 offseason featured a 99-day lockout that ultimately resulted in an abbreviated spring training and a delayed Opening Day.Things have frantically fallen into place since the new labor deal came together on March 10, with every team trying to jam most of its winter San Francisco 49ers Jerseysmoves into just a few weeks.Paired with the expanded 12-team playoff field and the opportunities afforded by the universal designated hitter, more clubs were active in March than expected, setting up some interesting postseason races for the new season.Having also crammed these past few weeks, USA TODAY Sports presents its 2022 record predictions, an annual exercise in prognostication attempting to make sense of what went down this offseason and how it fits into team trajectory.
Here's how our panel sees the season playing out:AL East
Four of these teams won 90+ games in 2021 but the Blue Jays were the most active in the offseason, acquiring third baseman Matt Chapman and starter Kevin Gausman – albeit to replace Marcus Semien and Robbie Ray... The Rays have won the division two years in a row but didn't do much to upgrade, and have a lot riding on Wander Franco (and his new 11-year, $182 million contract) taking a significant step forward ... Yankees fans may have hated the offseason, but the team didn't get significantly worse over the winter. The pitching questions persist but they could get a jolt from new infielders Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa... Trevor Story will move to second base for the Red Sox, who swooped in to sign the two-time All-Star and boast one of the best lineups in baseball ... NFL Jerseys for CheapThe Orioles hope to see top prospect Adley Rutschman soon (but not too soon) and are going to lose 100 games again but have players worth watching in Cedric Mullins and Ryan Mountcastle.NL Central
The Brewers Way? Milwaukee has made the playoffs four years in a row, a streak that should continue as the Cardinals didn't do much to close the gap. Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff are the main attractions, but the Brewers' rotation strength lies in the depth with Freddy Peralta, Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer ... It was a surprise to see the Cubs spend semi-big on Seiya Suzuki and Marcus Stroman and Chicago enters the new season with most of the roster turned over ... Cincinnati stayed in the hunt into September last season, but now they've traded Sonny Gray, Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez. They've still got Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle for now ... It should be a fourth consecutive last-place season for the Pirates, who hope Ke'Bryan Hayes bounces back and prospect Oneil Cruz brings some excitement.
After finishing in second place with 106 wins, the Dodgers signed Freddie Freeman, the third recent MVP in a lineup that – don't forget – includes shortstop Trea Turner, acquired last summer ... Baltimore Ravens JerseyThe Giants seemingly have to prove themselves all over again and should push for a wild-card spot, but it's hard to imagine them hanging with their rivals if the win totals get into the 100s again... Last year's slow collapse wasn't a great look for the Padres and Fernando Tatis Jr. is already injured, but they get starter Mike Clevinger back after missing all of 2021 ... The Rockies were surprisingly the top suitor for Kris Bryant, signing him to a seven-year, $182 million contract... Has a team ever lost 110 games as quietly as the Diamondbacks last year? They could match that in 2022.