Sunday, February 24, 2008

OV Sports 2008 Way-To Short MLB Preview

Sure, you could pour over rosters, stats and scouting reports to get ready for the 2008 MLB Season. Sure, you could look for previews with previews with fancy extremities like “graphics,” “player profiles” and “actual research,” but it probably won’t get you any more prepared for the 2008 season than my makeshift 2008 season preview. Or maybe not. Either way, here it is, featuring all of the insight and analysis that I can think of off of the top of my head while sitting in class.

PART II- AL Central

1. Detroit Tigers

Cabrera, Renteria, Jones, and Willis. Add that to Ordonez, Sheffield, Polanco, Rodriguez, Granderson, Guillen, Inger, Verlander, Bonderman, Robertson and Rodgers, and you have your 2008 preseason favorite. The Tigers added three former all-stars and a career .280 hitter who has averaged 21 HRs a year for his career (Jones, who will likely bat in the 8 hole) to a team that won 88 games a year ago. Andrew Miller should be a top 2 pitcher in the Marlins rotation in a few years, but shipping him to Florida for Oakland's pride and Cabrera (he has 138 career homers, 2 silver sluggers and is a 4 time all star AND HE IS TWENTY FOUR YEARS OLD!!! I'll be lucky to be out of school by the time I'm 24! This isn't the NBA, either, he is 6 months older than the rookie of the year last year!) and I’m not saying that Indians fans should be sending the Marlins hate mail. But I understand if they are. 119 losses seems like a lot more than four seasons ago.

2. Cleveland Indians

6 of the 8 playoff teams from a year ago were ultimately content (or forced) to stand pat on their lineups from 2007. For no team is this more true than the Indians, who’s major acquisition this hot-stove season was...well...they really didn’t have any acquisitions. I guess the good news is that they didn’t lose any components from a playoff team. They probably won’t be able to hang with Detroit, but the Indians should compete for a wild card birth. Even if they do join the pennant race, the biggest story on the shores of Eerie this year will likely be the Indians struggle to re-sign ace CC Sabathia.

3. Chicago White Sox

Following a dismal season, the White Sox should be able to bounce back at least a little bit in ’08. Nick Swisher was an excellent pick up, Swisher is a great player and the White Sox got him for practically nothing. Frankly I’m shocked that it went as quietly as it did. Kudos to the White Sox front office for taking advantage of the A’s “EVERYTHING MUST GO!!!!” sale. Having said that, I feel like they could have done more (maybe make a run at Brandon Inge, who will see limited time with the acquisition of Cabrera by Detroit). They will need to if they want to become a contender once again.

4. Minnesota Twins

As recently as two years ago, the AL Central had four teams that could contend for the division title. This year, heading into spring training it looks to be a two horse race. Delmon Young is a good long term acquisition for the Twins, and Morneau and Mauer will still be anchoring the lineup, but the Twins lack secondary offensive production. The loss of Tori Hunter will hurt their run production. Unlike previous years, they don’t have the pitching to make up for any offensive shortcomings. They get Francisco Liriano back, but losing Matt Garza and Johan Santana will be more than the Twins can overcome. This team has 70 wins written all over them.

5. Kansas City Royals

This team is a long way from even sniffing .500. Rebuilding year number 24 is under way in Western Missouri. They don’t have pitching, and can really only expect to get production from two spots in their lineup, maybe not even that. The front office of this team either isn’t interested in winning or else just doesn’t get it. It is extremely difficult to find something nice to say about this team. The one positive is that they have two good young players in Mark Teahen and Alex Gordon. It is hard to get excited about this though. Both have yet to show production at the Major League level. Even if they do, they won’t be able to carry the Royals into contention alone, and it is impossible to imagine that this organization will be able to surround them with enough talent to be competitive. The Royals are the laughing stock of MLB, and there is no end in sight.

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