In a previous posting, I picked who might win the respective divisions in Major League Baseball. Here's a rewrite with some reasoning and stats (if needed). I will be doing the other two AL divisions later this week.
1. Cleveland. Could the Tribe be any giddier? Their biggest rival, Minnesota, just sent their best pitcher to the other league.If that's the case and CC Sabathia (19-7) stays healthy and SIzemore, Lofton, et al continue to hit, Lake Erie will NOT be the only thing on fire!
2. Minnesota. The loss of Johan Santana may hurt. The Twins are a somewhat hot commodity but it won't matter a hill of beans if their offense doesn't get on track. They will need a replacement for the American League's version of Andruw Jones (Torri Hunter) and Joe Mauer, Micheal Cuddyer and Justin Morenau have to pick up the slack. They might win the Wild Card but will struggle to win the Central.
3. Detroit. What happened to the Tigers? .287 as a team batting, 4.57 ERA and yet they could not catch Cleveland. They need to improve. Pudge Rodriguez can handle the pitching staff, who most owners would kill to have. However, there is discontent. Brandon Inge wants out of the Motor City because they signed Miguel Cabrera from the Florida Marlins to play third. Inge needs out of this situation.
"I'll play him everywhere but as a pitcher," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I talked to Ingey today and we both agreed that after we discuss his situation during the first or second day of spring training, we're not going to talk about it anymore and we're going to make the best of it." The Tigers also got from the Marlins Dontrelle Willis to be an addition to the rotation.
Inge hit .236 with 14 homers and 71 RBIs in 151 games last year, when he had 18 errors and probably twice as many spectacular plays on defense. In short, the Tigers could make some noise if they stay healthy... if not, it's going to be a long summer in Michigan.
4. Chicago White Sox. Two years ago, this team was the talk of baseball, winning the World Series in 4 games against an over-matched Houston Astros team. Now, what the hell happened, guys? The Sox didn't go some of the bigger fish in the free agency ocean, as some would hope but they did land Octavio Dotel from Oakland, along with Nick Swisher in trades. This club needs pitching, their offense is fine. If they can get it together on the South Side, YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOARD... YES! They may vault over Detroit, Minnesota and Cleveland. If not, I fear that the Cubs may take the post-season stage in the Windy City again.
5. Kansas City. Why in the name of heaven did the Royals sign Hiedo Nomo to a minor league contract? They need to put him in the rotation ASAP! This is a team that has not seen the light of postseason since 1985... when Ronald Reagan was in the White House and their last year above .500 was 1994 (64-51). Brian Bannister was their only pitcher to finish above .500 and their bullpen is suspect at best. No need to call J.B. Fletcher to solve this mystery. Royals stay in the cellar.