Well the season is almost here and I can’t wait. I have never been this excited about an upcoming season in my short life. I remember the 1992 season when we were coming off the world series and we had great anticipation, but this year seems to be off the scale. We have a stadium (just taking a long time to begin digging). We have top-notch young players. We have the ace of aces. We have the king of the bullpen. We have the crafty, fun-loving manager. And now we begin the year with hope, just more the usual.
This will be a tough year. Detroit and Cleveland improved. Chicago still has resources even though I think they have fallen off. Kansas City is even a team on the upswing, not their perpetual downswing like life is for a Royals fan.
The Royals will sneak up on people, but still don’t have a bullpen or starters that strike fear. Their middle infield is shaking and old. They have the rookie of the year in Alex Gordon and a great player in Teahen being Gordon’s number two man for years to come. They have some good prospects but they aren’t ready for anything big.
Chicago will finish fourth. They traded away Garcia, their only big game pitcher, and McCarthy, their future number two guy, for a guy the Phillies believe won’t became even a valuable reliever (Floyd), a prospect who could be good but isn’t there, and a lower ranking prospect who is years away. I believe they have set themselves up for years to come, but this year they will falter. I think Pierzynski will finally wear out his welcome, and Guillen will no longer be the hot commodity. I can see them breaking early and pitching in for next year.
Cleveland, Detriot, and Minnesota will all be competing for two spots in the post season.
Cleveland just needs to hold on in the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th because their offense will score and a lot. My only problem with Cleveland is platooning every position, just seems ridiculous. Platoon in left, right, 1st, and 3rd just doesn’t seem to help anyone. Their bullpen will be improved but not to a level where they don’t worry every night.
Detroit has all the same pieces that won last year with the addition of Sheffield. They also have the same pieces that gave up a 12 game lead to end the season in second place with the addition of Gary Sheffield. They will be good, but I am still not sold on Guillen, Ordonez, and Rodriguez holding up all year. I also believe Monroe, Planco, and Inge will come back to their normalcy. They will compete with strong pitching but they won’t sneak up and they won’t play at the same level in the first half of the season, more like their second half.
That leaves the Twins . . . Well they have Santana, Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer, Nathan, and Hunter. They have a solid lineup and the best bullpen in the business. Their question is the starting rotation which has been up and down all spring. Bonser, Ortiz, and Ponson have been solid. They seemed poised to give the Twins 6-7 solid innings each night and then give it over to our bullpen. The fifth spot will probably be Silva’s based on salary and Gardy’s love for the big lug. But Garza will light up AAA and beg to be called up as soon as Silva falters which will be in the first two weeks. The interesting part of the story could be the Twins potential to bring 12 pitchers. The scenario has three possibilities. One, Silva and Garza both stay up with Garza being a long-reliever and starter when Silva gives out. This leaves Durbin out the door and most likely out the Twins organization. Two, Silva and Durbin stay with Garza starting in AAA. The most likely scenario because Durbin they don’t mind making a reliever, but Garza is their number two starter of the future and they don’t want him to waste away not getting a regular turn. This also gives them the option of calling up Garza and letting Silva work things out in the minors. Three, is what I want to happen, the Twins bring Durbin and Garza and keep Silva in the minors to work things out. Silva can reject the assignment and become a free agent, hoping someone will pay near the salary he is currently making(stupid decision), or he could accept the assignment work himself out until he finds that sinker and then the Twins have a major back-up plan if Garza, Ponson, Ortiz, or Durbin falter.
All that said, the Twins are sitting pretty. GO TWINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!