Five of the six division races in baseball look like crapshoots, and then there is the AL Central, where the temptation is to dispense with formalities and name the Tigers the champions. Oh, they have their issues – chiefly a defense that could be an all-time horror show. But with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder anchoring the lineup, and Justin Verlander the rotation, this looks like a juggernaut.
In light of what transpired afterward, it was probably folly for the Indians to pull the trigger on a prospects-for-veteran trade for Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez last July, when the team was close on the heels of the Tigers. Now, they’re left with a middling team, a diminished farm system and a psuedo-ace who has lost his fastball.
We’ve been predicting for several years now that the player-development machine that is the Royals was on the verge of breaking through. But after a horrendous spring training, in which they lost closer Joakim Soria for the season and catcher Salvador Perez for three months, it appears that breakthrough is at least another year away. Lots to love here, but lots of holes.
When the White Sox offered Robin Ventura their managing job, despite his utter lack of experience, he reportedly said, “You guys are out of your [expletive] minds.” But Ventura was out of his mind as well, for saying yes. This is going to be a brutal year on the South Side, and the rebuilding job has only just begun.
What happened to the Twins, who went from 94 wins in 2010 to 63 last year? Well, what didn’t happen? Their best players (Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer) couldn’t stay on the field. Their farm system went barren. Their ace (Francisco Liriano) lost the strike zone. And they acquired far too many aging ex-Nationals (Josh Willingham, Jason Marquis, Jamey Carroll, Matt Capps, et al.) Good luck with that.
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