finish: 88-74, lost in World Series
of note: Give this club credit for what they didn’t do.
signed Anibal Sanchez… they didn’t let him leave.
didn’t trade Rick Porcello.
a club that is trying to win a championship now… and really only
lost Gerald Laird and Delmon Young… keeping Sanchez and Porcello
makes this a club worthy of a place in the playoffs right now.
Because the foundation is solid. With just a couple of tweaks…
changes: Torii Hunter is the biggest addition. But keep
in mind… after losing him to injury, this club is also bringing
back Victor Martinez in 2013.
two major additions for the Tigers.
the sun shining and calm seas: Best pitcher in the American
League (and likely all of baseball today).
Martinez and Cabrera could develop into a run that matches up
with any trio in baseball… yes, even potentially what people think
could happen out in California. And they’ve brought in Torii Hunter.
are good in Detroit. Not a lot of changes to a team that reached
the World Series. But the changes are all strong improvements.
in paradise: No bullpen. No depth. Very little defense.
haven’t really addressed their problems in shutting games down.
The bullpen arms can be good, and can be bad. It’s not just the
idea of adding a closer. It’s the idea that often you’ll hear
relievers talk about wanting to know their roles… and this group
has none of that right now.
farm system… the bench… not a lot to draw on if they need to.
honestly, this defense is shaky on the good days. They could put
four peach baskets around the infield, call it an out if the ball
goes into a basket, and that might have a higher defensive rating
than the four players they’ll actually use.
expectations: Verlander isn’t alone. Max Scherzer is
one name you should be familiar with. They have a deep rotation.
(And, fortunately for the bullpen, the starters are all capable
of giving seven or more innings on most days.)
offense… good starting pitching… the Tigers will club their ways
to lots of wins, and the longer the starters can go into games
could even lead to several pitching-based wins.
enough to win the division and get into the playoffs. I don’t
know if it can win again there this year though. It’s in October
that they could have problems.
of note: I don’t really see a ton to talk about here
when it comes to acquisitions and such. Instead… I find the contracts
offered to Jake Peavy and Chris Sale to be far more interesting.
club won 85 games last year, and I honestly thought they looked
like toast before the year started. All Peavy did was start 32
games (he hadn’t started more than 19 since 2009, and this was
the first trip north of 30 starts since 2008).
changes: Brought in Jeff Keppinger to play third base.
you want to talk about Pierzynski or Youkilis leaving? No? Really?
Because we can. Pierzynsi was more valuable to this club than
you might think. Still no? Ok… let’s move on then.
the sun shining and calm seas: There are several thoughts
that begin with the dreaded if.
Jake Peavy can stay healthy and make 30 or more starts.
Paul Konerko can lead this batting order.
you see already where this is going. This is a difficult team
to really consider.
manager (Robin Ventura) is here with one season under his belt.
Not a great track record to draw upon.
things could be good… or really bad.
trick is… I like Chris Sale. And by that, I also mean that there
are some young pieces in place here.
in paradise: Well… what there isn’t here is much depth.
How many times have we seen rookie pitchers and players come from
nowhere, get everyone excited, and then burn out just as unexpectedly?
The answer is a lot. And as such, if 2012 was an exception and
not the norm, this club could be in deep trouble considering how
scrappy some of the clubs in the division look.
expectations: I’m putting them in the playoffs because
I think Keppinger will provide solid results as the everyday third
baseman… that Peavy and company can deliver results this year…
and that Konerko and Adam Dunn will help put runs on the board.
don’t expect it to last. As Cleveland and Kansas City tinker with
the chemistry and try to move ahead, Chicago will be the first
team they get in their sights. And once they do… they could both
catch and pass the White Sox.
in mind, this club has been hovering just over or just below the
.500 line for the past few years. Never into the territory of
great… never into the territory of horrible. They’re just… well…
there. And if that’s what they deliver in 2013, and not something
special in a couple of places, then they might get caught by clubs
in the division… never mind the playoff race.
reality, the one reason I’m willing to give this team a playoff
spot is that in addition to what I’ll outline for teams like Baltimore
and Oakland (playoffs for both last year, but I don’t think so
this year) or Toronto (lots of questions involving chemistry),
is that this division is ok… but not great. Yup… the White Sox
will more or less live and die based on how well they play against
the Indians. Royals and Twins. Good luck guys!
of note: James Shields and Wade Davis were part of Tampa’s
organization… and to rush to the point, basically they both (Shields
more, but yes, both) have experience doing what the Royals want
to do… turn an organization that may not have of the resources
of the bigger clubs into an annual competitor.
they are going into a division that honestly isn’t filled with
well-seasoned, MVP-candidate-filled rosters.
changes: Nice. They gave up the likely 2013 AL Rookie
of the Year. But nice.
Shields and Wade Davis in one trade solidified their starting
rotation by providing strong front-end talent. Ervin Santana is
here, and I like that move when it isn’t associated with trying
to massively improve or strengthen the rotation but rather an
attempt to stabilize and slightly improve.
think the risks on minor league contracts is interesting (and
good): Dan Wheeler and George Sherrill are two notable names since
I think we could be looking at an ok bullpen.
then they signed Jeremy Guthrie.
may ultimately regret watching Wil Myers in another uniform… but
considering that this is a club that rivals the most senior of
long-absent from the playoffs, the Royals in 2013 are poised to
be above average on the mound, with a chance to let their youth
develop in the field thanks to the changes they made.
the sun shining and calm seas: Good pitching… young roster…
some talent… wow, are the Royals also going to be part of these
developing organizations we see coming together around the league?
They just might.
few breaks and some good play and this group could join teams
like Pittsburgh and Seattle in runs for cracking an even record.
in paradise: We’ve been hearing for years that the Royals
were loaded on the farm. So what happens? Well… a couple of players
have been average to good, but not much more. And when their best
prospect yet is ready to make the move, they trade him.
expectations: I’m hoping the Royals get rewarded for
being brave enough to trade Myers. Let’s face it… we’ve been hearing
about how they have some decent parts and young talent on the
way, and it just wasn’t happening. It’s a risky move. And it would
be good to see it pay off.
to a degree I think it will. They’ve got strong arms in the bullpen.
The starting rotation may not be dominant… it is now good at the
front and decent all the way through now.
big question will be whether they can find an offense to support
a slightly above average pitching staff. If they do… 80 wins or
more, and third in the division, is there for them.
make that two big questions… because they are going to struggle
on defense. It was bad in 2012… and they added nothing to improve
it in any area.)
of note: I… um… are the Indians actually relevant again?
Yeah. I think they actually are.
changes: Sit down for a second. Because you may not believe
Indians were big players in free agency. They brought in Nick
Swisher and Michael Bourn. They also either signed (or extended)
Brett Myers, Mark Reynolds and Ubaldo Jimenez. (Jimenez was an
extension… and for what he cost to obtain, I’d say they almost
had to do the deal.)
league contracts went to Jason Giambi (who actually left Colorado
before retiring), Jeremy Hermida and a looking-pretty-decent Scott
is a lot to like here. They’re not brilliant, tide-altering
changes. But this is developing into a solid-looking club with
some strengths and depth.
the sun shining and calm seas: They improved the focus
of their batting order with Bourn and Swisher. They should score
enough… and at least more than last year.
the way… love Carlos Santana. Needed to mention him. Strong offensive
defense should be a plus.
if something like Kazmir ever pays off… we could see the Indians
playing meaningful games early in September.
in paradise: Not a dominant starter to be found… and
while Justin Masterson is a nice guy that any rotation would be
happy to have, the questions from other arms are huge.
fact… look only to Kansas City, where James Shields and Wade Davis
are arguably better than any starter on Cleveland’s roster. That’s
expectations: The Indians are two starters away… and
understand, we are talking quality starters… from making a lot
should be fun. They could win more than they lose. But no division
front runner would be concerned by them. (Nor should they be.)
of note: Another club I have too high.
changes: How the mighty have fallen. Mike Pelfrey and
Alex Meyer are some of the big names from the offseason.
am not kidding.
ready for a long summer Twins fans.
the sun shining and calm seas: Forecast is cloudy with
a chance of heavy, steady rain.
in paradise: The rotation is in tatters… if players like
Justin Morneau are on the field, they will be trade candidates…
and even if the Joe Mauer contract is one he manages to live up
to in 2013, it has put the organization into a panic because they
likely wouldn’t spend much money if they even had it to spend.
expectations: Mauer and Morneau are the cornerstones
of an offense that could score runs this year.
trouble is… quantity does not translate to quality. There isn’t
much here without a question mark attached, and a sizeable question
mark at that. Pitching? A collection of arms… whether by injury
or just simply performance… looking to try and restart careers.
top of that… have you noticed all the great outfield defenses
we’ve been mentioning? Well… Denard Span to the Nationals is one
of the reasons some of these clubs are going to have better outfield
defense in 2013. And the Twins are the ones that traded Span away.
So… yeah… they’re worse.