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2014 Opening Day power rankings

March 29, 2014

It's been a long, cold, polar vortex-infused winter -- but it's finally spring, and the 2014 baseball season is about to begin. With Spring Training now in the past, we've got a clear picture of the state of each team's roster. Here's a look at a special edition of power rankings -- as teach team is paired up with a song from an artist on tour in 2014 that best represents that team on Opening Day.

No. Team Artist, Song Comment
1 St. Louis Cardinals Aerosmith
"Dream On"
St. Louis enters the 2014 season with the deepest, most complete team in Major League Baseball. The Cardinals addressed their two major needs -- a shortstop who can hit, and a centerfielder who can field. Jhonny Peralta and Peter Bourjos are major upgrades for a St. Louis team that won the World Series in 2011, came within one win of returning to the World Series in 2012, and came within two wins of winning the World Series in 2013. The Cardinals and Cardinals fans can certainly dream on -- the future is as bright as the recent past for the Redbirds.
2 Detroit Tigers KISS
"Detroit Rock City"
Tigers fans can only wonder "what if" following last season's ALCS loss to the Boston Red Sox. What if Jim Leyland brought in Phil Coke to face David Ortiz in Game 2? We'll never know. But what we do know is the Tigers just backed up about 50 dump trucks filled with money to Miguel Cabrera's house, to ensure that the other-worldly hitter remains in Detroit until he's in his 40s. As ill-advised as it is long-term, the Tigers are the favorites in the American League once again. Detroit should be rocking once again in October.
3 Los Angeles Dodgers Neil Young
"Rockin' in the Free World"
Are the Dodgers the new Yankees? The Guggenheim Partners are sure acting like it -- at least with their checkbook. The Dodgers have not been shy about spending money, and enter the 2014 season with the highest payroll in baseball, dethroning the Yankees for that title. Even though the Dodgers are reckless with their wallet, they're a very, very good team, with the best pitcher on the planet in Clayton Kershaw. If the Dodgers stay healthy, they should win the NL West, and face off against the Cardinals once again in the NLCS.
4 Washington Nationals Motley Crue
"Kickstart my Heart"
Washington entered the 2013 season as the favorites to represent the National League in the World Series. The Nationals recorded the most wins baseball in 2012, before the Cardinals' scrappy tag-team duo of Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma (!!!) ruined the Nationals' season in 2013. The Nationals missed the playoffs in 2013, but still have one of the most talented rosters in baseball. With Davey Johnson out as manager and Matt Williams in, the Nationals are hoping the leadership change will kickstart a team that has World Series potential once again.
5 Boston Red Sox Queen
"We are the Champions"
The Red Sox enter the 2014 season as defending World Series champions, but they didn't improve a lot during the offseason. Grady Sizemore will open the season as Boston's centerfielder, and he could hit the disabled list if he sneezes the wrong way. Boston will miss Stephen Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury, but top prospect Xander Bogaerts should be Boston's first franchise shortstop since Nomar Garciaparra.
6 Tampa Bay Rays Goo Goo Dolls
"Iris"
Tampa Bay once again enters the 2014 season with a highly-competitive team. The Rays' offense should take a step forward in 2014, as Evan Longoria remains in his prime, and Wil Myers should continue to progress and turn into another legitimate middle-of-the-order threat. Tampa held onto David Price, who will anchor Tampa Bay's rotation, and should factor into Cy Young contention. With weak attendance numbers, and northeast fans often refusing to acknolwedge other teams exist, the Rays will need a hot start in order for the casual baseball fan to know who they are -- otherwise we may be subject to a Yanks/Sox information beatdown. Again.
7 Texas Rangers Journey
"Don't Stop Believin'"
It's been tough times for the Rangers ever since appearing in back-to-back World Series in 2010 and 2011. Texas blew the AL West on the final game of the season in 2012, and were quickly dispatched by the Orioles in the Wild Card round. Last year, the Rangers failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Nolan Ryan left for the Astros, and to some, it looks like the Rangers may have missed their window. Not so fast. General manager Jon Daniels acquired Prince Fielder in a trade, and signed outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. As long as the Rangers can stay healthy -- or at least, hold on until Derek Holland and Jurickson Profar return from the disabled list, the Rangers should be World Series contenders in 2014 and beyond.
8 Oakland Athletics Cher
"Believe"
Billy Beane is up to his old tricks, winning back-to-back AL East crowns -- and this time, he's doing it without the big three of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. A's fans will have to believe in life after their aces once again, as Bartolo Colon left via free agency, while Jarrod Parker underwent Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire season. Oakland still has a solid team, but the AL West will be more competitive than it was during the past two seasons. The A's need Yoenis Cespedes to take a step forward in his third season, after suffering through a sophomore slump in 2012.
9 Pittsburgh Pirates Aloe Blacc
"The Man"
For the first time in two decades, the Pirates qualified for the postseason in 2013, and centerfielder Andrew McCutchen took home the NL's MVP award. McCutchen is certainly the man in Pittsburgh, but did the Pirates do enough in the offseason to compete with the Cardinals in the NL Central? Pittsburgh lost A.J. Burnett, Justin Morneau, Marlon Byrd and others in free agency. Edinson Volquez will attempt to replace Burnett, and the Pirates seem content waiting on top prospect Gregory Polanco to replace Byrd in the outfield. Pittsburgh may take a step back in 2014, but remain a very real threat.
10 Los Angeles Angels Eminem
"Love the Way You Lie"
$365 million just doesn't buy what it used to. Angels owner Arte Moreno will end up spending $365 million on Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton by the time their contracts expire. Moreno signed Pujols prior to the 2012 season and Hamilton prior to the 2013 season with the intention of winning multiple World Series titles in the next few years. So far, the Angels haven't even been in contention -- which is particularly amazing since they have the best player on planet Earth in Mike Trout. It's just been one very expensive lie for the Angels and Angels fans so far, but this is a talented, albeit thin, team, that should contend in 2014.
11 Cleveland Indians Luke Bryan
"Crash My Party"
The Indians nearly crashed Detroit's party last season, finishing just one game behind the Tigers en route to a Wild Card berth. Unfortunately for the Indians, they fell in the Wild Card game to the Rays. The Indians lost Ubaldo Jimenez through free agency, but will replace him with the extremely talented Danny Salazar. Cleveland's outfield defense between Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn and David Murphy should save quite a few runs, and an infield of Carlos Santana, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher is pretty underrated. We'll see if the Indians have the pitching to make another deep run -- but this looks like a pretty solid baseball team.
12 New York Yankees Avril Lavigne
"Here's to Never Growing Up"
It's the same old song and dance in the Bronx. The Yankees watched the Red Sox win the World Series last season -- and how did they react? New York handed out long-term contracts to Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Masahiro Tanaka, while signing the aging Carlos Beltran to a three-year deal. The Steinbrenners could have opted to invest in New York's farm system, but instead went back to their antiquated habits of forfeiting draft picks in free agency, and signing players in their 30s to long-term deals.
13 San Francisco Giants Fleetwood Mac
"Little Lies"
Someway, somehow, Giants general manager Brian Sabean has been the architect of two World Series teams in the last four years, as the Giants won the Fall Classic in 2010 and 2012. San Francisco's claim to fame in recent years has been its pitching staff, led by Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum. Despite a major fall in production the last two seasons, Sabean re-signed Lincecum to a two-year, $35 million contract. Even though that money was better spent elsewhere, Sabean decided to lie to himself and convince himself and his personnel that they're better off using that money on the present version of Lincecum. Hey, the Giants will still be good this season, so there's that -- but that contract could prohibit the Giants from taking another major step forward over the next two seasons.
14 Atlanta Braves Nine Inch Nails
"Hurt"
Ouch. The season hasn't even started, but Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy injured their ulnar collateral ligaments, and were forced to undergo Tommy John surgery. Atlanta still boasts a talented team, but the Braves will desperately need the Upton brothers to play up to their abilities to help boost a lineup that now features Evan Gattis as its everyday catcher. Third baseman Chris Johnson should see his BABIP regress to the league average as well. The Braves are good -- but the Nationals are better right now, and the Nationals aren't hurt like the Braves are.
15 Cincinnati Reds Bruce Springsteen
"Born to Run"
The Reds' best chance to win the World Series seems to have come and gone. The Reds went up 2-0 in the 2012 NLDS on the San Francisco Giants, but then lost three consecutive games -- at home -- to lose the series 3-2. The Reds backed into the playoffs last year as the NL's second Wild Card team, before being ousted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now in 2014, the Reds are replacing the highly-productive Shin-Soo Choo with speedster Billy Hamilton. Hamilton may have been born to run, but will he hit enough to make an impact? Cincinnati will need Brandon Phillips to worry more about getting on base than his RBI total at the end of the year, and will need Mat Latos and Johnny Cueto to remain healthy to be a factor in the NL Central race.
16 Baltimore Orioles Katy Perry
"Dark Horse"
All the talk in the AL East seems to be about the Red Sox, Yankees or Rays. The Orioles were extremely fortunate to make the playoffs in 2012, and, as expected, took a step back in 2013. Baltimore, however, may be underrated headed into the 2014 season. The Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz at the onset of Spring Training, solidifying both the rotation and lineup. If Manny Machado shows no signs of his damaged knee once he returns from the disabled list, the Orioles will be a very real threat in the American League.
17 Kansas City Royals Lorde
"Royals"
Sorry, this one was too easy. Royals general manager Dayton Moore desperately wants to make the playoffs -- as he illustrated last offseason when he traded Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi for James Shields and Wade Davis. Shields was Kansas City's ace in 2013 and will be again in 2014 -- but he's ticketed for free agency following this season. It's unlikely that this particular Royals team -- or any under the guidance of Moore -- will actually be baseball royalty, but this should be a fun team to watch this season.
18 San Diego Padres Jimmy Buffett
"Cheeseburger in Paradise"
San Diego is a beautiful city, and I imagine it's the closest American city to paradise. Cheeseburgers are also pretty good, though not quite great. That's sort of where the Padres are right now. They play in a nice city, they have a very pitcher-friendly, beautiful ballpark, but they're just kind of there. Andrew Cashner will lead San Diego's rotation, and he's got top-of-the-rotation talent. Ian kennedy is pretty good, and could rebound in San Diego, but the Padres just don't have anybody who truly stands out. Even Chase Headley, San Diego's top position player, isn't quite a superstar -- he's good, but inconsistent. This Padres team could sneak into the playoff race, but this isn't a team that's going to make a deep run into October.
19 Seattle Mariners Billy Joel
"You May Be Right"
The Mariners made the biggest move of the offseason, signing second baseman Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240 million contract. Cano's contract left many wondering what Seattle's next moves would be, since the Mariners are clearly going for broke in the near-future. The Mariners did very little, signing Corey Hart and Fernando Rodney while trading for the under-achieving and outspoken Logan Morrison. The Mariners have the look of a half-in, half-out team, but hey, maybe Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik is right -- and maybe the Mariners will win the AL West this year. I doubt it.
20 Toronto Blue Jays The Eagles
"Lyin' Eyes"
On paper, the Toronto Blue Jays looked like a legitimate World Series contenders last season. How could you not love a team that added Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle to a core that already featured Brett Lawrie, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarncon, Brandon Morrow and Colby Rasmus? Well, injuries exposed Toronto as paper tigers last season. The Blue Jays simply have no depth in the rotation, and ineffectiveness from Morrow or Dickey, or an injury to either, will result in another long season for Canada's team.
21 Colorado Rockies Lady Antebellum
"Need You Now"
The Rockies aren't a terribly good baseball team, but they're not particularly bad. Superstars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are two of the best players in the game, but they have problems staying healthy. If the Rockies are going to contend, they'll need Tulowitzki and Gonzalez to stay healthy. Colorado will need a lot to go right to contend this season, but should be an interesting club to watch, with Nolan Arenado, Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer supplementing Gonzalez and Tulowitzki in the lineup.
22 Philadelphia Phillies Alice Cooper
"School's Out"
Did Ruben Amaro ever go to school? He may have just played "School's Out" on repeat all throughout his high school and college years. The Phillies are a very old team. Ryan Howard is no longer good. Jimmy Rollins isn't really good, and it won't be long until Chase Utley isn't good either -- though he was great last season. Philadelphia has two prime assets in Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, but instead of trading Hamels and rebuilding the farm system, Amaro signed Hamels to a contract extension -- and opted against trading Lee. Now in 2014, Philadelphia's assets are depreciating, and it won't be long until they're looked at like the Yankees of the National League. Philadelphia needs to rebuild sooner rather than later.
23 New York Mets Daughtry
"Waiting For Superman"
Give Sandy Alderson credit, he's done a pretty good job in Queens so far. The Mets aren't likely to contend in 2014, but Mets fans will be able to watch Zack Wheeler and Travis d'Arnaud progress and gain valuable Major League experience this season, while premium talent like Noah Syndergaard matures in the minor leagues. With a young core supplemented by David Wright, Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, the Mets are just biding their time until 2015 -- when their Superman, Matt Harvey, returns.
24 Milwaukee Brewers Linkin Park
"In The End"
Remember when the Brewers traded for C.C. Sabathia in 2008, hoping to return to the World Series? Or when the Brewers traded for Zack Greinke in 2011, hoping to return to the World Series, only to be dispatched by the Cardinals in the NLCS? Good times. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin did everything he could to get the Brewers back into the Fall Classic, but fell short. Now, Milwaukee's window looks like it's shut. The Brewers do have superstar Ryan Braun under control for years to come, but even he comes with a cloud of uncertainty after serving a 60-plus game PED suspension last season. Milwaukee's farm system has no impact talent on the way, and this just looks like a franchise with a third-place ceiling for for forseeable future.
25 Arizona Diamondbacks Backstreet Boys
"I Want it That Way"
Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers wants his baseball players to play a certain way -- he wants grit and tenacity, qualities that aren't terribly quantifiable, and often are syonymous with "mediocre player who tries really hard and slides a lot." Towers traded the uber-talented yet under-achieving Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves prior to the 2013 season, bringing back Martin Prado -- a gritty, versatile player, who tries really, really hard -- as the jewel of the trade. The Diamondbacks were irate last season when the Dodgers celebrated clinching the NL West crown by jumping in the pool at Chase Field. With Patrick Corbin out for the season, the Diamondbacks should once again end up watching another NL West team celebrate winning the division -- and it might even happen at Chase Field again.
26 Chicago Cubs Rihanna
"Umbrella"
Cubs fans are nothing if not loyal. No matter how bad the Cubs are, Cubs fans will head out to Wrigley Field to watch their favorite team lose, hoping that some year, the Cubs will finally win the World Series. That year will not be 2014. Chicago fans will certainly stick it out to the end with the Cubbies, and hey, the future is somewhat bright for the South Siders. Cubs president Theo Epstein has done a pretty good job rebuilding Chicago's farm system, but now it's up to Chicago's player development personnel to produce quality major league players. The Cubs should improve in 2014, but they won't be a factor in the playoff race.
27 Minnesota Twins Dave Matthews Band
"The Space Between"
The Twins are in a tough spot. Minnesota has the best prospect in baseball in Byron Buxton, but he's likely to spend most of the season in New Britain, with the Twins' AA affiliate. Minnesota also has one of the best-hitting prospects in baseball in Miguel Sano, but Sano underwent Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2014 season. Minnesota revamped its rotation, signing Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, while moving superstar catcher Joe Mauer to first base in order to keep the former MVP healthy. The Twins aren't going to be good in 2014, and they're in a bit of an awkward spot -- they're waiting for two uber-prospects to arrive in Minnesota, while still signing middle-tier free agents.
28 Chicago White Sox Lana Del Rey
"Summertime Sadness"
White Sox fans are in for another long summer this season, as the North Siders simply won't be able to compete with the other teams in the division. White Sox fans will be able to watch ace Chris Sale take the mound every five days, and watch Jose Abreu and hope he's able to hit like Yasiel Puig. To Chicago's credit, the White Sox did make a savvy trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks, bringing Adam Eaton and Matt Davidson into the organization. Eaton and Davidson project to be long-term answers at centerfield and third base -- so things are at least moving in the right direction.
29 Miami Marlins Miley Cyrus
"Wrecking Ball"
Where to start? Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is certainly a wrecking ball. Loria did his best to put a competitive Marlins team together in 2012, to coincide with the opening of Marlins Park. The Marlins signed Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, and attempted to sign Albert Pujols before he eventually signed with the Angels. Miami finished the season with 69 wins, and then traded Reyes, Buehrle and Josh Johnson to the Blue Jays. Miami has an interesting young roster led by Jose Fernandez and Mike Stanton -- and has plenty of young talent on the way. We'll see if Loria keeps this young nucleus intact in the future -- but the past suggests that the Marlins will have a firesale again in the future.
30 Houston Astros Rod Stewart
"Young Turks"
Astros fans should take "Young Turks" to heart -- time is certainly on Houston's side. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow rebuilt the Astros in an extreme fashion, and the result has been turning Houston's barren farm system into the best farm system in baseball. Houston isn't going to compete this season, but the foundation is there -- Astros fans will likely get to watch top prospects George Springer, Carlos Correra and Mark Appel in Houston at some point later this season. The Astros once again have the No. 1 overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft, and will infuse the system with even more impact talent. The Astros will be a very real contender sooner rather than later.

Agree? Disagree? Comment below to let us know how you would rank the top teams headed into the 2014 season!

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