15 February 2011
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Today’s Focus: Chicago White Sox
The White Sox will need to step it up in April and May to contend for the A.L. Central Division Title. Gavin Floyd, Jake Peavy, Alexei Ramirez, Carlos Quentin and Gordon Beckham all did their part in ensuring a sub par April and May in 2010.
For the most part, the lineup looks to be pretty solid. The addition of Adam Dunn not only adds incredible power, but he also brings a much need left-handed bat in the middle of a right-handed heavy lineup. Gordon Beckham’s strong 2010 second half suggests a breakout campaign. The only glaring hole would be at 3B. Mark Teahan and Brent Morel will battle it out for the 3B job but this could be a possible platoon situation. Mark Teahan has a career .200 AVG vs. lefties and Brent Morel bats from the right side.
As for the pitching, they may have the best staff in the A.L. Central when it’s all said and done. The only issue I see is, we don’t know who will be filling in for Jake Peavy until his return. If they decide to go with Chris Sale, it will thin out their bullpen and they could go with a platoon of Jesse Crain, Sergio Santos and Matt Thornton in the closer spot.
Notable Losses: Manny Ramirez, Bobby Jenks, Mark Kotsay, Andruw Jones, Scott Linebrink, Freddy Garcia
Notable Pick Ups: Adam Dunn, Lastings Milledge, Will Ohman, Jesse Crain, Phillip Humber
If the White Sox can keep their heads above water during April and May, they will take the A.L. Central dethroning the Minnesota Twins.
8 February 2011
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Today’s focus: New York Yankees
After finishing in second place last season and not adding another world championship to their collection, the popular thought was that the Yankees would reload over the off season. All signs pointed toward yes during their pursuit of Cliff Lee, but as it turns out, money really ISN’T everything to some people.
The challenge the Yankees will face this year will be their rotation. While C.C. Sabathia is a solid ace, once you get past him there are a lot of question marks. Phil Hughes looks like a solid starter, maybe not a number 2 which is most likely where he will fall in the rotation this year, but solid. AJ Burnett is looking to bounce back from a down year which seemed more related to his mental approach than his stuff. Joba Chamberlain we’re being told won’t be a starter and Andy Pettitte has decided to retire. The recent signing of Freddy Garcia at least moves either Ivan Nova or Sergio Mitre out of the rotation, thankfully for all those Yankee fans. If the Yanks find another capable starter, Burnett gets his groove back and Hughes continues to develop, they would have a very good staff, if all those things don’t happen it will be below average.
Notable Losses Include: Javier Vazquez, Lance Berkman, Marcus Thames, Andy Pettitte
Notable Pick Ups: Freddy Garcia, Rafael Soriano, Andruw Jones, Russell Martin
While overall I still see a 90+ win team here, the concern is not that the Yankees have declined, but how much the Red Sox have improved. On paper I would see the Yanks finishing in second once again, but this year it will be behind the Sox. Of course, that’s just on paper and there’s a reason they still play the games.