Thursday, March 27, 2014

Signor Baseball's 2014 AL Preview

Time to forget about your bracket--face it, it's irredeemably broken. Mercer?! Harvard?! Dayton?! Really? Time to pick up the old horsehide and start boning the bat. Yep, you guessed it, Spring has sprung, and ready or not, here's Signor Baseball's American League preview:

The East looks like another down and dirty race to the wire. Last season the Red Sox brought in a bunch of folks, none of them "superstars", rolled the dice, and ended up winning the World Series. That just doesn't happen very often in baseball. I suppose it could happen again, but...In New York, the Yankees are without the cursed A-Rod (finally) and have added a lot more power. The starting pitching could either be very, very good or very, very mediocre. Tanaka won't go 24-0 like he did in Japan, but he looks like a good bet to win 14-16 games. Kuroda and Nova are solid. CC Sabathia has lost something off his fastball, though he still is better than most, and Pineda is healthy for the first time in years. However, Rivera is gone, Cano is gone, Jeter is going fast, and second and third base look like big question marks. But who knows, maybe everything falls into place and New York can contend. Baltimore and Tampa are solid, on paper at least, and barring injury, should fight it out with Boston for the division and at least one of the Wild Cards. If the Orioles don't compete, Buck Showalter may be looking for another job. The Blue Jays, after the big spending debacle of 2013, can look forward to another also ran season. Having a knuckleballer as your #1 starter just doesn't work out. Sorry. At least it won't cost as much to finish last this year. Plus, Toronto has a very entertaining mayor. And that's something.

In the Central, Detroit has had a big edge talent wise for the last few seasons. This year, Cleveland and, gasp! Kansas City, might give them a race. Might. Both the Indians and the Royals will score runs, but they also both have obvious holes in their pitching. The Tigers still have a big edge in starting pitching and Miguel Cabrera. And maybe, someday, they'll win another World Series. Just kidding. Should they make it again, trust me, they'll figure out a way to lose. Kind of like the Texas Rangers. For whatever it's worth, the White Sox will once again be better than the Cubs in the battle for Chicago supremacy. And the Twins? Looks like they're turning into the Astros of the American League Central. And no, that is not a good thing.

Out in the Wild West, last year the Angels were a huge disappointment, the A's over-achieved again (gee, somebody in Oakland must know something, huh?), and the Rangers were pretty much what we thought they were. This year, Los Angeles (or Anaheim or Orange County or whatever they call themselves) added a couple of solid everyday players and some young arms. But if Pujols and Hamilton don't hit it will be another disappointing year for Halo fans everywhere. Texas traded a big bat for a bigger bat, but pitching wins things and they better get comeback seasons from any starter not named Darvish if they want to compete. The A's still have that lean and hungry look. So, I guess it's a 3 team race until the bitter end. Elsewhere, Seattle over spent to get Robby Cano, who is a great player, but not worth A-Rod (in his prime) money. Hell, A-Rod in his prime wasn't worth A-Rod money. Years 7-10 of Cano's contract will be a very, very sad time for the Mariners. But that's years down the road...Unfortunately, they probably won't win anything before then, either. And finally, try to name one member of the Houston Astros. Go on. Anybody? No? Well, there it is.

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