here we go… the 2013 preview summary. I’ve released the six divisional
columns. Now it’s time to bring it all together and make some
teams: American League first -- I have Tampa, Detroit
and California winning their divisions, and then Chicago and Texas
as the wild cards.
the National League – Washington, Cincinnati and San Francisco
will take their divisions, with Atlanta and Los Angeles as wild
I have problems deciding on which American League club advances
for a shot at the championship. Can Detroit repeat? Will Tampa
get any offensive support? Will California get any playoff pitching?
the National League, I have no such doubts. There is one superb
team on a mission.
Series: Washington against Tampa, with the Nationals
winning the title in 6 games.
The big ones for me would be Toronto and Kansas City… the idea
being either an extreme surge beyond expectations, or having them
outside the playoffs and they make it… although both are getting
some support right now.
problem with being impressed with Toronto is two-fold. First up…
I heard about “mega” teams recently with regard to Boston and
Florida. Both of those missions crashed and burned. And let’s
not forget, many of the pieces in Toronto’s 2013 quest have been
brought in from that Florida experiment. And second… I wonder
if all of the players are thrilled to be with the Blue Jays. I
know… I know… these are professionals that are used to heavy travel
and trying to manage concerns from home. And Toronto is a great
city. Still… many of them were told they wouldn’t be traded when
they signed with Florida… Mark Buehrle couldn’t bring his dog
north of the border… and there are financial considerations involved
with playing in Canada.
I think the Blue Jays will be good. Second in the division and
bordering on the playoffs good. Right now though… I do wonder
if they can crack 90-wins and make the playoffs, talent or not.
So for me… potential surprise, even if it isn’t a surprise at
like some of the moves Kansas City has made to get to respectability
this year. Deeper rotation than they’ve had in recent years, and
some young talent you will be hearing about. Still… not enough
to crack the top tier of the division.
and I didn’t pick Boston at all.)
the National League, Pittsburgh could hit a winning record for
the first time in what seems like forever. And San Diego could
play the role of Kansas City. I’ll bet you didn’t know San Diego
and Kansas City had records from last year that involved 70-plus
wins, and I would guess you don’t expect either of them to threaten
80 wins. I think Kansas City could definitely do it.
Valuable Player: I think the AL sends someone from the
Angels to this award. I’m going to pick Albert Pujols, because
something tells me that he is about to turn in the very best year
he will have out of any of those played or to-be-played with California.
Plus, if Hamilton misses any time… and Trout doesn’t match or
improve on his 2012 debut… a monster Pujols season is tough to
League? Joey Votto from the Reds will be my pick. I’m tempted
to go with someone from Washington… Harper or even Strasburg…
but I think that’s just an incredibly well-balanced club and no
single player will get all of the headlines (or votes), even with
those two in particular likely to deliver amazing years.
Young: Verlander and Price are my best guesses in the
AL… Strasburg is where I go in the National league, though I would
be wrong if I didn’t mention Kershaw from LA or a pitcher out
of San Francisco (Matt Cain).
take Verlander and Strasburg.
of the Year: I am so tempted to laugh while typing “Jackie
Bradley, Jr.” here, but I won’t.
Rays are going to need some special seasons to move into the playoffs
and find success there, and I think Wil Myers will provide just
such a season.
not so sure in the National League. I guess opportunity will bring
Travis d’Arnaud up in New York, and then Oscar Traveras is getting
a lot of attention in St. Louis. Let’s go with d’Arnaud.
predictions: I included this section here because I am
absolutely fascinated with the Boston Red Sox and Jacoby Ellsbury.
face the facts… Ellsbury will be with any of the 29 other teams
in 2014 before he’s back with Boston. There’s just no way he returns.
If for no other reason than his agent.
Boston actually has their next centerfielder already in Jackie
the question becomes… where is the most value to be found in getting
rid of him.
“before the season starts” idea is almost gone. And I find that
very interesting since a trade during the season means the team
that gets him cannot get compensation when he leaves them after
the season is over.
course… the watch is on since he hurt his ankle/heel and does
have a way of finding the disabled list. (Whether his fault or
not… a fluke or not… 145 in 2008, 153 in 2009, 18, 158, 74… he
has had troubles staying on the field. Yeah. That matters.) So
now the “during the season” concept is up in the air.
Boston may get the most from him by letting him stay all year,
offering him a contract as he leaves, and pocketing the draft
pick when he signs someplace else. (Of course… typical of Boston’s
results (and Boras’s take the most money no matter where it leads
his player attitude), just watch Ellsbury wind up with a club
that has a protected first round selection.)
– When they fall way behind Washington and Atlanta, there is a
good chance they try to move Cliff Lee.
– Kyle Loshe… watch Kyle Loshe. There were likely a lot of teams
interested in Loshe this offseason that simply didn’t want to
pay the dollars and also have their draft hit. A trade though…
well, that’s different. Both California and Texas will need pitching
this season. Milwaukee is not likely to hit July in contention.
Two plus two equals… watch Kyle Loshe.
Francisco – I don’t expect it to happen, but the Giants could
listen to offers on Tim Lincecum. Kyle Loshe is my stunner trade
thought… Lincecum is my sleeper.
– Ellsbury is a possibility, and we know that one. But watch Mike
Napoli and Shane Victorino. If either one is playing well, and
a team needs a bat, Boston isn’t likely to have either in their
uniform the next time they make a run at winning the division.
So if they can turn one into a decent prospect or two… yeah.