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The MLB stories you would be reading if April didn't exist

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If we were just a month into the baseball season, the narratives would be quite different.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Every year, I write the same intro, and every year, it's worth repeating: April is the worst month to be a baseball writer. You need to employ every rhetorical trick available to waffle your way through wishy-washy analyses and opinions. "Is (X) something we should get used to? Maybe. But it's to early to tell! We'll see you tomorrow for the same damned column." It's not like May provides us with all the information we need to know, but at least some of the surprising players and teams level off.

To help you realize just how silly all of our April takes and opinions were, we're going to pretend that April didn't exist, and the only information we have to form our compelling baseball opinions has been accrued since May 1.

Like this sample headline if April didn't exist:

It's not fun to watch Bartolo Colon pitch anymore, and the Mets should give up on him

Sample of the volatile baseball opinions contained within:

I get it. Bartolo Colon is old and he doesn't have the same physique as other pitchers. When he swings, when he hits, when he runs -- oh, goodness, when he runs -- he presents a stark contrast to what we're used to seeing on a baseball field. He's a reminder that there are a lot of ways for baseball players to succeed, and that guile can be just as important as physical gifts. He's remarkable in a lot of ways.

One problem, though: He can't pitch anymore, and he's pitching for a team that can't afford to have someone like that.

Colon has started the season 4-2, which is just fine, but his ERA is one of the highest in the league, an even 6.00. He's allowed seven homers because, of course he has. Why wouldn't you see this coming? He's 42 and relies on ultra-fine command, which requires the muscle memory and capabilities that you don't usually find with a 42-year-old who features, er, questionable athleticism.

The Mets could afford to stick with him if they didn't have prospects to plug in, but Steven Matz is waiting, just waiting, for our Matz/Mets headlines and puns. It's time to release Bartolo Colon, everyone.

★★★

Sample headline if April didn't exist:

Meet the Rangers, the best team in the AL West

Sample of volatile baseball opinions:

That's the thing about baseball. It all makes sense in hindsight. If you had told me that Prince Fielder was going to return from spinal fusion surgery (!) and be one of the best hitters in baseball again, the Rangers would have been a little more interesting in the preseason, sure. Then if you had told me that Shin-Soo Choo was going to rebound and become a serious Comeback Player of the Year candidate, my ears would have perked up just a little more. Delino DeShields is going to be a pure leadoff hitter and a Rule 5 steal? Well, now we're getting somewhere. It all makes sense when you put it like that.

And how did Josh Hamilton get on the team? Seems like I would have remembered that story from the offseason.

The pitching has a shot to be average, too. Wandy Rodriguez was often overlooked in his prime, so it makes sense that he's overlooked in the twilight of his career. Nick Martinez and Yovani Gallardo might just be average, but when you're scoring like the Rangers are, average is a mighty fine thing to have.

This team has a shot. They're already 2 1/2 games up on the Astros and Angels, and there's no reason they shouldn't stay there for at least another month.

Also, apropos of nothing, the Rangers have had a Chi Chi, a Keone, a Stolmy, a Roman, a Neftali, and two Rosses pitch for them this season. That seemed important.

★★★

Sample headline if April didn't exist:

The woes of the last-place Tigers

Sample of volatile baseball opinions:

If you had peered into the future and looked at the bullpen, and only the bullpen, you would assume the Tigers would be fine. Maybe, even, that they were the best team in the AL. Because if their bullpen was fine -- that one concern of the team that had mostly everything -- the Tigers would be mostly unstoppable.

Here we are. The Tigers' bullpen is fine. And the team is lousy. Miguel Cabrera is doing his thing, sure, but how many of the other spots in the lineup can the Tigers afford to punt? Nick Castellanos has been a mess on both sides of the ball, and Jose Iglesias is hitting like Rey Ordonez in his prime, which isn't a good thing. The scary thing is that the lineup might be the most functional part of the team.

Shane Greene is a failed experiment and Anibal Sanchez is an expensive long-term mistake. There's someone named Kyle Lobstein in the rotation, and it's working out exactly as you would think for the worst-named pitcher since Grant Balfour and Homer Bailey.

It's still early, sure. But the Tigers are already in last place, and they're eight games behind the surprising Twins. It's not too late to catch up, but it's also not too early to start looking ahead toward the trade deadline and seeing if there's a way to get something for David Price before he walks.

★★★

Sample headline if April didn't exist:

The Twins are doing the same thing the Rangers are doing, just switch some of the names out

Sample of volatile baseball opinions:

No, seriously, just switch the names out. You don't need to read another version. But I think the Twins can keep this up because they're doing it without Joe Mauer. Just wait until he gets hot in the second month, everyone. Just wait.

Kyle Gibson is proving this wacky pitch-to-contact scheme correct, and he's probably the best pitcher in baseball now, give or take. Look at the Twins, everyone! Look at these Twins. The Twins/Rangers ALCS is going to be wild.

★★★

Sample headline if April didn't exist:

Troy Tulowitzki is basically Nomar Garciaparra, and the Rockies are screwed

Sample of volatile baseball opinions:

Nomar Garciaparra through age 30: .322/.370/.549, 132 OPS+, 44 WAR. The only problem is that he averaged just 112 games per season.

Troy Tulowitzki through age 30: .298/.371/.515, 123 OPS+, 38 WAR. The only problem is that he averaged just 101 games per season.

The comparisons are spooky, especially when you get to the part where they aren't similar: Garciaparra never got that big contract from the Red Sox. The Rockies gave it to Tulo, and now they're reeling. His .264/.284/.393 start to the season is bad, but what's even scarier are the three walks and 22 strikeouts in 84 at-bats. Those are the numbers that are supposed to stabilize quickly, and they're hinting that something is seriously, seriously wrong.

Maybe it's just an undisclosed injury, and he'll be fine with improved health. But here's your reminder that baseball players don't have to keep being good because you're used to it. The question used to be, "Will the Rockies trade Tulowitzki?" Now the question is "Can they?"

★★★

Sample headline if April didn't exist:

Andrew McCutchen is still a very, very good baseball player

Sample of volatile baseball opinions:

Wait, why is this even an article? He's just fine. Better than fine, really. He's one of the very best. He's hitting .330/.419/.566. But that shouldn't surprise you. He's been really good for a very long time now.

I don't understand why my editor assigned me this topic.

It would be an interesting story if he were bad last year, but he wasn't. This is pretty much what we expected. I had the first-overall pick in my NL-only fantasy league, and I took McCutchen. Other players have done a little more, sure, but I don't regret the pick at all. Why would I? He's been excellent. He was supposed to be excellent.

Why is this a headline? What a weird headline. Sorry about wasting your time, everyone.

★★★

Sample headline if April didn't exist:

Ha ha haaa, what is Bryce Harper even doing?

Sample of volatile baseball opinions:

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaa, I mean, well, shit.