The Holiday Season has arrived. Thanksgiving is celebrated on Thursday, and while Major League Baseball takes a brief break to celebrate the event, each team can spend time reflecting on what it has to be most thankful for right now:
Atlanta Braves built a record 14-year run of first-place finishers around a rotation that included three future Hall of Famers. Today, they have strong young arms again anchored by Shelby Miller, Julio Teheran and Williams Perez, each of whom will pitch at 25 years old in 2015.
Arizona Diamondbacks have a franchise player in first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, and they have him signed to a club-friendly contract that guarantees him $25.85 million the next three seasons, with the club holding an option for 2019 at $14.5 million.
Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette are strong personalities, but they have worked together well. Life is more tranquil at Camden Yards.
Boston Red Sox get one more year of David Ortiz, who will play his final season at age 40, hoping to add to a resume that has seen him reach the 30-home run, 100-RBI plateaus in each of the past three seasons. After being a spare part with the Twins, he has made himself a Hall of Fame candidate in Fenway.
Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon invoked an opt-out clause with Tampa Bay a year ago and signed with the Cubs, where his laid-back persona was the perfect tonic for a youthful roster that rewarded the front office by claiming a National League Wild Card spot. Now, he has the Cubs talking about taking the next step.
Chicago White Sox lefty Chris Sale won't be 27 until next season starts, but the former first-round Draft pick is already among the game's elite starting pitchers. In his four full big league seasons he is 53-37 with a 2.95 ERA, and four All-Star selections.
Cincinatti Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who was limited by injuries in 2014, bounced back at the age of 31 to reaffirm his MVP Award potential, finishing third in NL voting after hitting .314 with 29 home runs and 80 RBIs. It was a relief for a franchise that still has an eight-year, $199 million guarantee that could add another $13 million if a club option for '24 is exercised.
Cleveland Indians do not have a key player in their lineup, bullpen or rotation older than 30. That is the basis for the confidence the Indians have that good times are on their way back.
Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado doesn't even have three full seasons in the big leagues yet, but he already has become the face of the franchise. He has won three NL Gold Glove Awards and added his first Silver Slugger Award in 2015.
Detroit Tigers have growing concerns, but not in left field, not after picking up J.D. Martinez early in 2014 after he was released by Houston. Martinez, 28, followed up a Tigers debut in which he hit .315 with 23 homers and 76 RBIs by hitting .282 with 38 home runs and 102 RBIs in '15, erasing suggestions he was a one-year wonder.
Houston Astros erased the ugliness of 416 losses in four previous years by claiming an American League Wild Card spot and taking the eventual World Series champion Royals to five games in the AL Division Series. And individually, Dallas Keuchel won the AL Cy Young Award and was the league's starting pitcher in the All-Star Game, shortstop Carlos Correa was the AL Rookie of the Year Award winner, and former Astros star Craig Biggio was an inductee into the Hall of Fame.
Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore was born in Kansas, grew up a Royals fan and carries his passion for the franchise into his work routine. He has studied the success of the Royals in his youth (seven postseason appearance from 1976-85) and even prepped for his current job in Atlanta under the guidance of former Royals general manager John Schuerholz.
Los Angeles Angelsof Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout will play next season at 24 years of age, having already established himself as the player others are judged against. In four full seasons, he has averaged 153 games while hitting .308 with 134 home runs, 381 RBIs and 109 stolen bases, earning four All-Star selections, four Silver Slugger Awards and the 2014 AL MVP Award.
Los Angeles Dodgers ignored the pre-Draft testing that suggested Clayton Kershaw might not be mentally tough enough coming out of high school, which is why he slipped to the seventh pick in the 2006 Draft, and he has repaid the franchise's confidence. He will turn 28 shortly before the start of next season and already has been a five-time All-Star, three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, the 2014 NL MVP Award winner, and the NL leader in ERA four times.
Miami Marlins have found stability with the opening of Marlins Park in 2012. It was the No. 1 priority of Jeffrey Loria when he bought the team in '02, and 10 years later the Marlins were able to put to rest the questions about their commitment to staying in South Florida.
Milwaukee Brewers' new general manager, David Stearns, 30, is the youngest GM in the game, and he has payroll flexibility in his bid to revamp a franchise that won the only pennant in its history in 1982. Only two Brewers are under contract past 2016 -- RHP Matt Garza ($12.5 million in '17) and Ryan Braun ($100 million through '20).
Minnesota Twins went back to the future in bringing GM Terry Ryan back to oversee the operation after a brief break in the daily demands, and a year ago he brought in Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, a St. Paul, Minn., native, to manage the team. The combination of old and new provided new life for the franchise that, after three last-place finishes in four years, came in second in the AL Central in 2015.
New York Mets have brought back memories of the Miracle Mets of 1969 with a rotation of 20-somethings in Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Jon Niese and Noah Syndergaard. The quartet was a combined 45-33, and the Mets won 64 of their 112 starts en route to the NL pennant last year.
New York Yankees came away getting more than they could have even expected in acquiring Didi Gregorius from the D-backs to fill their shortstop void in the wake of Derek Jeter's retirement. Gregorius provides a foundation for the reviving of a franchise, which by its standards, has struggled in winning only one World Series championship during this century.
Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin has that strong but respectful personality that has made him a perfect fit for the aggressive efforts of EVP of baseball operations Billy Beane. Even with a season gone wrong, Melvin was able to keep the focus on what happened on the field.
Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro was replaced, but not before a late-season trading flurry when he dealt veterans Cole Hamels (Rangers), Ben Revere (Blue Jays), Jonathan Papelbon (Nationals) and Chase Utley (Dodgers) for 10 prospects. Seven of them are ranked in the Phillies' Top 30, including No. 2 RHP Jake Thompson, No. 3 OF Nick Williams, No. 4 C Jorge Alfaro and No. 22 RHP Alec Asher in the Hamels deal, No. 10 OF/2B Darnell Sweeney and No. 26 RHP John Richy for Utley, and No. 14 RHP Alberto Tirado as part of the Revere return.
Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has not only taken the Pirates to the postseason three years in a row, ending a streak of 20 consecutive losing seasons, but his personality has won back Pirates fans. Hurdle, who sits in the stands with fans at Steelers and Penguins games, has seen the Pirates run off four consecutive seasons of more than two million in attendance, which more than doubled the number of two-million attendance seasons in franchise history prior to his arrival.
St. Louis Cardinals fans have earned their reputation for being the best in baseball, packing Busch Stadium in a sea of red on game day. The team has run off a streak of 31 consecutive non-strike-interrupted seasons of more than two million in attendance, 19 of which have seen the Cardinals sell more than three million tickets, including each of the past 12 seasons.
San Diego Padres have dealt with the reality of last season's disappointment, and general manager A.J. Preller has worked quickly to replenish a farm system in need of elite talent. He has made two trades, already adding five prospects who fit in the Padres' Top 30 list. And with his decision to tender qualifying offers to free agents Ian Kennedy and Justin Upton, Preller has set the Padres up to have five Draft picks before the start of the third round in June.
San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy has shown that he makes the best out of the talent he is given. The Giants have, after all, won three of the past six World Series championships despite never being favored to even win their division. Bochy has a quiet, steady approach that belies the big man's toughness, which the players respect.
Seattle Mariners have an ace, Felix Hernandez, who has his own special section, "King's Court," at Safeco field, which is packed with his fans for each home start he makes. Hernandez will pitch at age 30 in 2016, and thus far he has shown no ill-effects from 10 consecutive 190-plus-inning seasons, and the Mariners have control of him through at least '19.
Tampa Bay Rays picked up right-hander Chris Archer in a package of five prospects from the Cubs in the Garza deal in January 2011, and Archer has emerged as a franchise leader, both on and off field. An All-Star on the diamond, his community activities -- including a series of PSA for the Boys & Girls Club and his support of the RBI program -- earned him a nomination for the Roberto Clemente Award.
Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is a force in the clubhouse and a Hall of Famer-in-waiting on the field. During his five years with the Rangers, he has led all MLB third basemen in at-bats (2,589), home runs (117), RBIs (409), batting average (.311) and slugging percentage (.508).
Toronto Blue Jays created quite a stir with the late July trades for David Price, Troy Tulowitzki and Ben Revere, but it was the offseason addition of Josh Donaldson that was the foundation for the Blue Jays advancing to the AL Championship Series. The 2015 AL MVP Award winner brings a tremendous clubhouse presence, the value of which isn't really understood until he is gone (see: 2015 Oakland A's).
Washington Nationals can be thankful that former Commissioner Bud Selig was convinced that a third time could be a charm in D.C. The nation's capital is the only city that has been given three opportunities to support a Major League team, and the Nationals are succeeding where the original Washington Senators (now Minnesota Twins) and expansion Senators (now Texas Rangers) were unable to.
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.