One might recall back in March when there was negotiations between the players and owners on ending the lockout that one of the players’ biggest concerns was the number of teams taking part in extreme tanking. That is, essentially punting the season before it starts, hoping to lose as many games as possible in order to get a better draft pick while stripping payroll to the bones for several reasons.
The extreme losing obviously makes way for extreme winning, as simple logic and math would dictate.
The trend is more evident here than anywhere else in the game. It used to be uncommon to see so many teams getting to 100 wins or 100 losses in a season. Even as recently as 2016, the Cubs won 103 and the Twins lost 103 and that was it. In 2015, the Cardinals won exactly 100 and no team lost 100. In 2014, no teams hit triple digits in wins or losses.
Those three years were the last gasp before an influx of 100-game winners and 100-game losers.
Years with 100-win teams
2022: 4 (Astros, Dodgers, Mets, and Braves)
Take note that 2022 was one Yankees win away from setting the record. It’s still tied with just one other season and that season very recently happened.
It’s actually even more extreme than this.
Only three teams have ever won more games than this year’s Dodgers at 111: The 2001 Mariners and 1906 Cubs each won 116 while the 1998 Yankees won 114.
Prior to 2019, we’d only had one season with multiple 106-plus-win teams (1998 with the Yankees and 106-win Braves). Then, in 2019, the Dodgers won 106 and Astros won 107. And last year, the Giants won 107 and Dodgers won 106. Of the 24 teams we’ve ever seen with more than 105 wins, six — 1/4, or 25 percent — have happened in the last five full seasons.
Years with 100-loss teams
2022: 4 (Athletics, Nationals, Red and Pirates)
There have only been 24 recorded seasons where a team lost at least 110 games and four of those came in the last four full seasons. Two happened last year, but fortunately our worst team this year lost “only” 107. Of course, of all the seasons we’ve ever seen, only 36 teams have ever lost more games in a season than these 2022 Washington Nationals.
Hopefully the changes in the collective bargaining agreement have their intended effect and just take a few years to take hold. While the extreme winning is actually pretty fun, it comes at the expense of extreme losing and seeing 3-4 teams losing over 100 games — sometimes well over — every single year is bad for the game.