Winners and losers from MLB's final regular-season weekend as Astros take AL West, stars say goodbye

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The 2023 MLB season wrapped up Sunday with the Astros capturing the AL West and four other postseason seeds being finalized. The last postseason spots were clinched Saturday and the exact seeding -- including Houston's AL West championship -- was finalized Sunday. We also said goodbye to several legends this weekend, including Miguel Cabrera and Adam Wainwright. Others like Zack Greinke and Joey Votto may have played their final games too.

Here is the 2023 MLB postseason bracket:

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Keytron Jordan, CBS Sports

Monday is a league-wide off-day and the postseason begins Tuesday with the Wild Card Series. The Wild Card Series is a best-of-three and all three games are played at the higher seed's ballpark. The winners advance to the Division Series, then from there it's business as usual: Championship Series then World Series.

Here are the winners and losers across baseball from the regular season's final weekend.

Winners: Every team that clinched

It was a busy weekend on the postseason clincher front. More accurately, it was a busy Saturday night. In the span of about 75 minutes Saturday five teams -- Astros, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, Marlins, Rangers -- clinched a postseason berth, completing the 12-team field. The Astros then clinched the AL West on Sunday.

The Blue Jays and D-Backs clinched spots while losing Saturday. Toronto lost its afternoon game to the Rays, then got into the postseason when the Mariners lost to the Rangers. The D-backs clinched when the Reds lost to the Cardinals, not long before their loss to the Astros. Hey, whatever it takes. Sometimes you lose and still get in.

Losers: Fans of Game 163

The Astros are AL West champions thanks to MLB's new tiebreaker rules. All ties are decided mathematically now and Houston won the season series 9-4 against the Rangers, so when they finished with identical 90-72 records, the Astros were crowned AL West champs. In the old days (i.e. before 2022), they would have played a Game 163 on Monday to decide the division. Alas.

Even with Sunday's outcomes, Texas is going to the postseason, though failing to win the AL West is not trivial. The Astros now have a Wild Card Series bye and can reset their rotation next week. The Rangers are heading to Tampa to begin the Wild Card Series on Tuesday. They have to play one additional postseason round and that ups their odds of being eliminated.

Winner: Kim Ng

Ng, the first female GM in baseball history, is now also the first female GM to reach the postseason. Her Marlins cliched a wild-card spot with Saturday's win over the Pirates. It is Miami's first postseason berth since 2020 and their first in a 162-game season since 2003, when they won the World Series.

"This is an amazing moment," Ng told MLB.com following the postseason clicher. "These guys deserve all the fun that they are having right now. But there's more work to do, and I think they know that."

Because clinching a postseason berth wasn't good enough, the Marlins also do not have to go back to New York to complete their suspended game against the Mets on Monday. It is unnecessary for seeding purposes because Miami holds the tiebreaker over the D-Backs.

Loser: Mariners

The Mariners deserve a special mention here. They went 88-74 and missed the postseason by two games this year after going 90-72 and ending their 21-year postseason drought last year. This season is a failure, full stop. The Mariners did not build on last year's success despite having a very strong rotation, a franchise star in Julio Rodríguez, and the emerging J.P. Crawford. After the Mariners were eliminated Saturday, catcher Cal Raleigh called out the front office:

"We've got to commit to winning, we have to commit to going and getting those players you see other teams going out and getting --  big-time pitchers, getting big-time hitters. We have to do that to keep up," Raleigh told reporters, including Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times.

Good for Raleigh. The Mariners opened this season with a $137.5 million payroll, and while that's up from last year ($103.9 million), it was below their 2016 ($142.3 million), 2017 ($154.3 million), 2018 ($157.9 million), and 2019 ($146.5 million) Opening Day payrolls. Ownership and the front office should have to explain why more was not invested in the team after they snapped the postseason drought last year.

Winners: Miguel Cabrera, Adam Wainwright, and other farewells

Miguel Cabrera's Hall of Fame career is over. He played his final game Sunday and retired with 3,174 hits and 511 home runs. Cabrera was removed from Sunday's game in the eighth inning and, as you'd expect, the ovation at Comerica Park was massive:

Cardinals icon Adam Wainwright wrapped up his career this weekend with an at-bat of all things. He did not pitch after picking up his 200th win last week. Wainwright celebrated his retirement with a postgame concert at Busch Stadium on Saturday. Check it out:

Shoutout to Zack Greinke and Brandon Crawford as well. Greinke allowed one run in five innings in what might have been his farewell start, and Crawford came off the injured list in time to say goodbye to Giants fans at Oracle Park.

Loser: Fans who wanted to watch Votto

In what might be his final game with the Reds and his final game as a big leaguer, Joey Votto was ejected for arguing balls and strikes Sunday. Umpire Shane Livensparger tossed him, and although Votto took to social media to say the ejection was justified...

... it was pretty weak. It was possibly Votto's final game and the game was completely meaningless -- the Cardinals and Reds were already eliminated from postseason contention -- so why not let him play? With all due respect, no one went to the ballpark or put the game on television to see Livensparger. They wanted to see Votto. The umpire crew should've shown a little more feel there.

Winners: Teams that bought

Did you buy at the trade deadline? Then there's a good chance you were rewarded with a postseason berth (unless you're the Angels). Here are the teams that needed help at the deadline, got help, and punched their postseason ticket this weekend:

  • Astros: Justin Verlander and Kendall Graveman
  • Blue Jays: Jordan Hicks
  • Diamondbacks: Tommy Pham and Paul Sewald
  • Rangers: Jordan Montgomery, Max Scherzer, and Chris Stratton
  • Marlins: Josh Bell, Jake Burger, and David Robertson

This is how it's supposed to work, right? When you have a need -- every team has a need somewhere -- you go out and address that need at the trade deadline, and ride the fixes into the postseason. Shoutout to these clubs for not resting on their laurels and doing what needed to be done.

Losers: Teams that didn't

On the other side of the coin, it's no coincidence several teams that didn't get the help they needed at the deadline fell short of the postseason this weekend. The Reds needed starting pitching but never got it. The Mariners needed a middle-of-the-order bat but never got it, and, to make matters worse, they traded away their stud closer (Sewald) for spare parts. The Cubs didn't get any bullpen help (apologies to Jose Cuas). All three of those clubs entered the weekend mathematically alive in the postseason race and all three were eliminated Saturday. A little more help at the deadline could've made a big difference.

Winner: Dauri Moreta's wallet

You are forgiven if you don't know who Moreta is. Moreta, a 27-year-old righty reliever, went to the Pirates in the Kevin Newman trade with the Reds last offseason. He had a fine season too: 3.79 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 57 innings. His nickname is Big Bank, and on Sunday, Moreta pulled a wad of cash out of his pocket to celebrate an inning-ending strikeout

Mr. Moreta, report directly to Star Power Index.

Loser: Bobby Witt Jr.

To be 100% clear, Witt had an incredible season, and finished with 30 home runs and 49 stolen bases. One agonizing steal short of a 30/50 season. Witt went 2 for 4 with a triple Sunday, and he got picked off trying to steal in the third inning. He eluded the tag on the rundown, but overslid the bag and was tagged out. The safe call was overturned on replay.

Rough way to see your final stolen base attempt end when you're shooting for 50 steals. Then again, there's no shame in a 30/49 season. A great year for a great player. Witt is a franchise player for the Royals, truly.

Winner and loser: Yankees

On Saturday, the Yankees won their 82nd games and clinched their 31st consecutive winning season. They have not had a losing season since going 76-86 in 1992. It's a remarkable streak, really, and the second longest in baseball history. The 1926-64 Yankees strung together 39 consecutive winning seasons. At the same time, the Yankees picked up their 82nd win in their 161st game. They came into the season expecting to go to the postseason, if not repeat at AL East champs and contend for the World Series, and instead they went 82-80. Congrats on extending the winning season streak, but it's a bit embarrassing it took as long as it did.

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MLB playoff bracket

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Keytron Jordan, CBS Sports

This bracket will be finalized as long as the Astros don't blow their big lead against the Diamondbacks. Rangers fall to the No. 5 seed and get a trip to Tampa after getting shutout on the final day of the regular season. Astros about to clinch their third AL West title in a row.

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Mr. Moreta can report directly to Star Power Index.

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