Every season is a great season for Major League Baseball. You just never know what will happen. It’s almost a joke when you read stories of the so called experts who are choosing their picks for the outcome of a season that has 162 more games to go . what if Sabathia gets hurt mid season or if Ryan Howard goes cold?
Teams like the Yankees and Phillies are just hanging out because they still have a fairly intact team that went to the Series last year. However, the loss of Cliff Lee and the addition of Roy Halladay may change the outcome that the Phillies are hoping for (if only they had Lee and Halladay, now that would be a staff!). However, the Yankees have lost a couple of important guns over the off season, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. But they continue to strengthen their lineup with youth in Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson (who’s not all that young), and Brett Gardner who appears to be picking p a permanent spot in the outfield. The two World Series teams might very well be World Series bound again, but you can never really tell until ball clubs make their late season signings after the All Star break.
Plenty of teams, however, are still in the hunt. First from the National League, the Dodgers will probably look to repeat taking the West over the Rockies and Giants again. No moves have been made in this division over the off season. The Achilles heal for the Dodgers will be their pitching. Fortunately for the Dodgers, the Giants once again have chosen to go old rather than young with additions of Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa.
The NL Central also looks to have remained the same, which means that the Cardinals will have a good shot at the Series, as long as Holliday in left field wiped off the butter fingers from last years playoffs. However, the Cubs could also have a good year, since they sold the club and now their organization is a little more… well… organized. But also look for the Cincinnati Reds who have been close a couple times to maybe have some life.
The NL East will probably look the same unless the Mets figure out why they can’t seem to win in the dog days. For the past two or three years now I have watched the Mets be in the lead of baseball at the end of July and then go on to get their “June Swoon” in August and September.
The American League West has possibly one of the biggest changes. As always, the A’s will probably do well early with the new acquisition of right-handed pitcher Ben Sheets, but will probably also trade everybody after the All Star break to the Yankees and Red Sox or another team that’s in the. The interesting change is the shift of power to Seattle who has a pitching staff consisting of Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez, and Erik Bedard. They also have Ichiro and Griffey (again). I’m curious to see if the Mariners will make a late season trade for more bats with the pitching that they have.
The AL Central is almost up for grabs between the Twins, White Sox or Tigers. The Twins have a very intact team will Mauer and Morneau. Plus you never know what a new stadium can produce for intensity and optimism like the Yankees had last season. The White Sox continue to hold on to their power hitting ball club led by Paul Konerko and AJ Pierzynski. But the Sox also have some good pitching with Buehrle (who pitched a perfect game last season), Gavin Floyd, and the late addition from last year of Padres ace Jake Peavy. The Tigers remain intact other than losing key player Curtis Granderson to the Yankees, but always keep an eye on the Tigers with Jim Leyland as manager because we can all remember the 2006 season when the Tigers had gone from below the Royals to the World Series in one turn around year.
The AL East is probably actually the most obvious with Yankees still the most dominating team in all of sports. Plain and simple, they are stacked! The Ray may have some talent but they can no way match up with the Yankees pitching that has potentially four pitchers that could all be aces. The next closest team to the Yankees in the east is probably the Red Sox, but really the Red Sox have been disassembling that wonderful team since winning the 2004 World Series. Plus with all the changes they have made, bad mouthing Manny, benching Varitek, and praising Daisuke, the Red Sox have really gone down since 2004.
We’ll see if somebody can beat those New York Yankees this year. That seems to be the constant struggle. Spring is here, it’s opening week for Major League Baseball, and this year should be a good one.