you want to see the records I’m predicting for most of the teams,
you can head over to the home of Sports
and find all six columns that review the divisions. Normally I
would place them here as well, but there are two reasons why that
didn’t make sense to me…
That’s an awful lot of work. Really. Plus…
Who cares? This year more than ever, I found myself staring at
the records while I tried to make the numbers match and throwing
my hands in the air. Toronto won 85 games last year… Boston won
89 with a minor-league team occupying about half the starting
roster… and anyone that tells you they know what they’re talking
about when naming the games to be won in the American League Central
this season is full of crap, because that place is just a whirlwind
of crazy possibilities.
the reality is… the exact records don’t really matter. For every
winner in a game there will be a loser… and whether winning 89
or 99, four teams will make the playoffs. So let’s get to it…
the American League… Boston, Minnesota and Texas win the divisions,
and New York takes the wild card.
the National League… Philadelphia, St. Louis and San Francisco
will be joined by Atlanta.
the AL there are lots.
still strikes me as one of the top three American League clubs.
The problem is, compared to Boston and New York there are simply
too many weaknesses (depth of their bench is a huge whole) and
bullpen issues to believe they can get past just the Yankees or
Red Sox for a shot at the postseason wild card. Forget about getting
past both of them to guarantee a spot.
likely we are looking at either someone toppling Minnesota or
Texas for a division crown… or, taking advantage of a weaker division
in the Central or West to have a better record than Boston or
New York when the dust settles.
American League and possible playoff threat I’m not picking to
make it but could… we’ll go with Chicago as a possible division
winner and Oakland as a potential wild card team. If California’s
pitching can rise to a dominant level, I certainly believe they
could win the AL West crown. And Detroit is a possibility. But
Chicago would be my first choice, and Oakland my second if the
original picks don’t make it… White Sox by winning the division
and the A’s by sneaking into the wild card.
is the obvious choice to be able to take a division or the wild
card slot in the National League. Colorado a very close second,
and is also capable of taking their division or the wild card.
Other than that, the National League consists of Cincinnati… last
year’s winner of the NL Central… and not much else.
anyone think the Yankees will trade C.C. Sabathia?
if not… with Adrian Gonzalez already in Boston and the biggest
potential free agent pitcher off the market… we’re pretty much
done with alot of the discussion.
don’t see any major trades that even look likely. That could change…
and probably will change… once we have some teams out of it in
late June and thinking for 2012 and beyond. For now though… it’s
a bit strange. No amazing free agents for a team to get a return
on… no ready destinations that seem like natural fits.
Fielder moving is possible… and since he actually will be leaving
after the season, is an easy choice for trade possibilities. Milwaukee
needs to be out of it for that to happen though, along with finding
a team in the playoff hunt that needs his bat and doesn’t mind
losing him when he bolts for Chicago. Would Oakland… Tampa… or
a team like Minnesota trade for him if the situation was right?
Maybe. But I think Milwaukee will be in the race, keep him, and
settle for getting back two draft picks.
Mets will place just about every player on the market, so I don’t
know if this offers what should be termed a surprise. I think
that includes Jose Reyes along with Carlos Beltran. And, without
a doubt they want to move Francisco Rodriguez. (Trust me, the
Mets want nothing to do with people counting his appearances as
they relate to the option for 2012 kicking in. They will dump
him at the first sign of an even marginally acceptable offer.)
but all of their major trade chips come with tricky scenarios.
Reyes you could offer arbitration to and get draft picks if he
leaves… you likely wouldn’t offer arbitration to Beltran or Rodriguez.
So who would trade for any of them? And what would they be willing
this is a shocker… I would not be surprised to hear Hanley Ramirez’s
name mentioned in June and July. In fact, I would not be surprised
to see him moved ahead of Reyes. Now… two things have to happen.
First, the Marlins need to be out of it. Second, there has to
be a market for shortstops. If I were looking for a shortstop
though, I would inquire about Ramirez before committing alot in
order to bring in Reyes.
thing is… I just don’t know which of the bad teams will be ready
to deal. Let’s check out the American League to show what I mean.
Baltimore and Toronto really don’t have much, since players like
Matt Weiters have virtually zero chance of moving. Now apply the
theory I noted when I said Adrian Gonzalez already got traded
to the Blue Jays getting rid of Shaun Marcum or Mike Napoli. Between
trades and free agency, the Blue Jays are pretty much settled
for now. Pieces Toronto would have moved during this season have
already been packed and shipped. Same theory holds true for Kansas
City and Cleveland overall… though Soria and Sizemore could be
targets. Even Seattle doesn’t have much of value that they would
ripples in the trade waters? Let’s see…
Shoppach is playing for Tampa right now and I think his contract
ends after the season. Since he likely won’t bring back major
draft picks, the Rays could trade him for a decent offer… and
Boston could need catching, so someone they had in their system
might be a thought.
Pena could be available… if the Cubs are done or they need room
for Fielder. Doubt this one though.
here’s a thought. I’ve heard Mark Beuhrle wanting to be in St.
Louis before. Trouble is, I think the White Sox will be in the
race for the AL Central. Still, he may be the best pitcher available
and could bring back a haul from a team needing a starter… but
the Cardinals would likely be the only place he’d approve, and
quick math and no research has me thinking he can veto any trade.
would not stun me at all to see Jonathan Papelbon moved during
the season. But planets need to align to put that in motion.
there’s not alot that makes sense to predict right now.
is a tough one… because there are really no leading candidates.
the first baseman… Gonzalez and Teixeira… are good choices. I
do believe Gonzalez will win the award more than once while in
a Boston uniform. But I think the award goes elsewhere in 2011.
(There’s simply too much betting on how good the Red Sox are…
and media attention being focused on the entire group, with Youkalis
and Pedroia and Crawford in the lineup as well… to think that
he will get credit for winning the way someone on Minnesota or
Tampa would should those clubs get to the playoffs. Make no mistake…
players like Mauer and Longoria are awesome. They are breathtaking
talents as well. But Gonzalez will need to do more in Boston to
win the award this year than either of those two will need to
deliver to get more votes. In fact…)
Minnesota or Texas win their divisions, look at Joe Mauer and
Josh Hamilton to collect plenty of votes. In Detroit, I think
Victor Martinez could get a huge following for his impact on the
pitching staff and the offense. (Don’t forget… Martinez caught
both Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia in Cleveland when they won Cy
Young awards. Justin Verlander could be the third one he’s been
the primary catcher for in five years. (Yes, I believe he was
hurt in 2008 when Lee won. He had caught Lee in Cleveland prior
to that season though, and was there for something like half the
season.) And he gets alot credit for the emergence of Buchholz
be different… I’ll take Victor Martinez. If he’s hitting, Detroit
is winning, and Verlander is doing well, there will be stories
about his impact on pitchers and whether or not he gets the full
credit he deserves.
easy… and likely too correct.
going to take Troy Tulowitzki in Colorado.
than him, look at Milwaukee if you’re trying to think outside
of St. Louis for a home to this award winner. Both Braun and Fielder
could be good candidates. Buster Posey would be a good name in
San Francisco, and Brian McCann for Atlanta.
Verlander is at the top of my list in the AL.
has been building consistent support for efforts in New York…
and if they win with that pitching rotation, it will be because
he was incredible. And I think the Angels and A’s will both present
multiple candidates for consideration.
is so obvious a selection… and Lincecum is a pretty good second
option. Tim Hudon would be a good name… Ubaldo Jiminez… Zack Grienke
already has one, so another is possible… Matt Cain… Cliff Lee…
the list is amazing in the NL.
going to pick Roy Oswalt. Why? To be different. He’s been very
good for quite some time, and is playing for one of the right
teams as far as support is concerned, so throwing his name in
the mix isn’t obscene or outrageous. And, honestly, I don’t want
to go with obvious… Halladay, Lee and Lincecum… though those are
the best bets to make.
of the year
clue. Worthless for me to even guess.
of the year
this one depends on who makes the playoffs.
the American League, I’ll go with Joe Madden, Bob Geren, Jim Leyland,
Ozzie Guillen, and Ron Gardenhire. And, I’ll use that order of
preference. (So… if Tampa makes the playoffs, I’m saying Madden
gets it regardless of anyone on else on the list leading their
team to the postseason. If Oakland makes the playoffs, Geren gets
it unless Tampa makes the playoffs.)
the National League, I think we’re looking squarely at Colorado
and Milwaukee. Jim Tracy and Ron Roenicke.
of right now, I have Boston playing Minnesota and New York against
Texas. If that happens, I like Boston against New York to wrap
up the AL championship… though Texas could certainly defeat New
me Boston to make the World Series.
the National League, my records have Atlanta playing San Francisco
and Philadelphia against St. Louis. In those matches, the Braves
and Phillies advance, with Philadelphia moving on from there.
the World Series, Boston will face Philadelphia. And, I’m predicting
a title for the Phillies… which I don’t believe for one second.
But, since I predicted the Giants would play in the World Series
and lose last season… and since I don’t want to jinx anything…
yeah, we’ll say that I think Philly knocks off Boston.