Tag:Chicago White Sox
Posted on: February 14, 2008 12:56 pm

AL Pre-Season Rankings

AL East: Once again the AL East will be dominated by the larger-market Yankees and Red Sox, with everyone else trying to compete by getting more out of their players for less money.

Boston - They won the division and the Pennant last year. So why mess with success? They only got rid of guys like Eric Gagne and Matt Clement, that didn't perform for them last year. So their only real addition of back-up 1B Sean Casey should be enough to keep 'em on top. 


N.Y. Yankees - After their bismal start last year, the Yanks came on strong towards the end. The major thing that the Yankess did was dismiss a lot of the distractions and controversies. Joe Torre is gone, and the media has stopped the nonsense about Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. It will be interesting to see hwo the new managercan handle all the talent and egos on this team. Another key to look out for is the injuries to some of their aging players. Still, no way they don't wind up either 1 or 2 in this division 

Toronto - Typically when teams trade big men it's always going to be a toss-up. As long as Scott Rolen  remains healthy, the combonation of Roloen and David Eckstein has a lot more upside than the loss of Troy Glaus. This will help them edge ever closer to the Red Sox and Yankees, but they've still got a long way to go.


Tampa Bay - The Rays have made some changes... new park, new design... even got rid of the "devil." Troy Percival, Matt Garza, Cliff Floyd are nice pickups in an attempt to get the "devil off their shoulder." In the end these will be the same sub-par expansion team that they have been in the past. They just can't compete with the top of this division.

Baltimore - Minor league prospects are a major part of baseball, especially if a team is looking for longevity. The Diamondbacks and Rockies playing in the NL Championship last year was perfect proof of this. Now the O's have jumped on the band wagon and gave up Erik Bedard Miguel Tejada to do it... I just don't think its a recipe for success in the AL because of the offensive mindset. So either the O's are making the riskiest move in recent baseball history or they've officially gone into "rebuild" status.




AL Central:   There were some good moves, and some unfortunate moves that were inevitable in this division. The parody in the AL just isn't what it is in the NL.... too bad. A few changes in the standings for the AL Central, but unless some young prospects payoff there's not going to be much of a division race here.


Cleveland - For the most part Cleveland stood firm and didn't make a lot of player movements. Outside of adding Japanese pitcher Masahide Kobayashi (I keep thinking of "The Usual Suspects" when I read his name) to their lineup which should bolster their pitching. If C.C. Sabathia can have a repeat year this will be one of the best pitching teams in the AL. They won't be the surprise team they were last year.




 Detroit : In an attempt to keep up with Cleveland the Tigers have finally wrestled Dontrelle Willis away from the Marlins. I expect great things out of him, despite his down year last year. They've also added Edgar Renteria to their lineup while only giving up Sean Casey and  Omar Infante.  They'll be nipping at the heels of the Indians this year.



Chi. White Sox - Their off-season pick-ups of Scott Linebrink, Orlando Cabrera, Octavio Dotel, Nick Swisher, and Carlos Quentin should rocket them past the Twins this year. Many of these players are role players, so despite picking up some solid players the losses of Scott Podsednik and  Darin Erstad will hurt.

Minnesota - Probably the biggest losers in the off season moves this team is going to be a shell of it's mediocre performance from last year. They lost house-hold players Johan Santana, Torii Hunter, and Carlos Silva. They had a few nice pick-ups, but without the masterful pitching of Santana this team is in trouble, especially when you consider that Livan Hernandez is now a starter in the AL (I can only imagine how much is 4.25 carreer ERA in the NL will explode now that he's in the AL).  Their losses far outweight their gains and they'll take a big step backwards this year.


Kansas City - Picking up role players and guys in the twilight of their carreers is not a way to pull yourselves out of the cellar in the AL. I like the pick up of Jose GuillenAlberto Callaspo and  Brett Tomko will have positive roles for the team, but are not going to make a significant difference for this team. I'm curious to see how the pick-up of Japanese relief pitcherYasuhiko Yabuta works out for them. 
They didn't lose an incredible amount, but Jason LaRue, Mike Sweeney and Emil Brown were all consistent players.



AL West: The desparity between the top and the bottom of this division isn't quite as bad as the East or the Central, and it should be tighter than it was last year for this division.

L.A. Angels - They won the division in a landslide last year, and they did a nice job with the few off-season moves they made (similar to most teams at the top of their divisions). They got a great pick-up in Torii Hunter, and Jon Garland will prove to be a solid innings eater to add to their already loaded r. They lost Orlando Cabrera, but I think its more than compensated for by Hunter. They will win the division, but not quite as handily because of the off-season moves that Seattle made.

Seattle - They did a nice job this offseason with the free agency market by picking up Carlos Silva, Brad Wilkerson, and  Erik Bedard. All three of these guys will be instant impact players to go alongside Ichiro. They lost Ben Broussard, Jose Guillen, but they'll be much more consistent and solid than last year. It will be interesting to see how this one pans out.

Texas - They lost Freddy Guzman and Brad Wilkerson, and took some risks to replace them by signing Jason Jennings, Eddie Guardado, Kazuo Fukumori and Milton Bradley. They're going to be in the middle of the pack in the AL, but won't be able to effectively challenge the Mariners or the Angels.

Oakland - If it weren't for the horrible off-season moves by the A's, the Rangers would have this spot. As usual, the A's are known for paying a little and expecting a lot, and their off-season moves showed just that. They picked up a lot of nobody's and prospects in an attempt to replace Jeff DaVanon, Dan Haren, Mark Kotsay, and Nick Swisher. This off-season is going to come back and bite them in the end.

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