Prediction: 1st Place, possible AL Champ
Last Season: 1st Place (110-52, DCS Winner)
They were very active in free agency this off-season. Bobby Ray Rueter was an interesting re-signing. He is coming off a 3rd season with a 60 day DL stint and his health rating is only 42. That is scary to pay 3.4 million for. Ed Bynum is a great value signing. Hulk Pember could have a great impact but that remains to be seen. J.P. Matos is another great value pick. It isn't often that you can sign an 82 overall 29 year old for only 6 million over 2 years.
Miguel Fernandez is now a 3-Time MVP and could hit 60+ HR's again. David Tamura should fall off this season but 30+ HR's is very reasonable. Sam Jackson makes the rotation this season and should be great, Harry Forrest remains as closer but should be starting. This season they are so deep that they have Alan Parker as a reliever. The real story may be T.J. Garcia as he has great potential and steps in as the #3 starter.
They are just too loaded up and down the board to be upset this season although the gap will close as their division rivals are climbing.
Prediction: 2nd in the Division
Last Season: 2nd in the Division (90-72, Wild Card)Another season with no off-season moves leaves you wondering why not? They lost their division title and are now a team that may fall further behind NY.
They have a stud closing for them in Charles Moreno, at 26 he has some great years ahead of him but if they are to do anything he must be better. A closer blowing 12 saves in 45 chances is unacceptable. Darryl Morgan is still their Ace but 10-10 for your Ace isn't good enough. That was the theme of last season, across the board they underperformed. I am a big fan of their other ace Raul Duran, he was one of the few who excelled, but at 35 he is on the downside of a solid career. Young SS's Chris Reid (solid season and improving) and Otis Edmonds (poor season last year) and CF Erik Maroth (horrid year) are all still vital and will hopefully take steps forward for them.
They add 3 to their ML roster this year: Andres Urbina, if he makes contact its gone, problem is making contact..., Terry Bradshaw will be a decent role player & We now all tremble as they welcome Billy Palmer to the majors full time...wow want to trade him to me?
The growth curve continues but they will struggle at times.
Prediction: 3rd in the Division
Last Season: 3rd in the Division (76-86)
I hated the last seasons off-season moves. I didn't think Frank Ledee was worth the $30+ million 4 year deal he got but he went 17-9. They need their best player Sherm James stepped back last season and if they are to make any impact he MUST be better. Benito Colome should hit 40 Homers again and Felix Dawkins struggled, he needs to hit over .300 and 30+ homers.
This off-season they signed a heckuva bum, Bum McKinley, that is. If he stays healthy he will give them some quality innings, but this may be his last rodeo. Tyrone Brumbaugh is a great signing and still has great stuff at 36 years young. However, they didn't make any trades which would have been helpful.
They welcome some great young players who will make a big impact this season. Jim Stanley comes in at 22 and loads of potential, he may hit some growing pains but should fair alright, Aaron Dunham is a stud in the making and should do well at a more seasoned 24, and Randy Lo Duca who doesn't look like much but he is a nice late inning catcher to bring in with a good arm and pitch calling.
Last Season: 4th in the Division (68-94)
The off-season was interesting as they spent a TON of money on Alex Abe who is a good player but spending 18 mil over 3 years on a guy who just came off a devastating injury and only has a 39 health rating is a HUGE risk. Sal Cox as a SS who hits fills righties opposite a SS who hits lefties but he is being pair well to be a platoon. Elston Taylor is an aging vet, but has another very strong year or 2 ahead of him.
They didn't make any trades but will rely on an influx of talent from within to take a step forward. Young talent is something that they have in abundance. There is too many 1st year major leaguers to talk in depth about all, but Al Veras is a great hitting catcher or dh, Morgan Grieve has great defense for late games but won't contribute to the offense, Ed Eaton might not be quite ready but should be some good experience this season, Russ Hogan should add a good set-up arm, Gordon Smith starting this season is a problem as he is not yet ready, Bernie Jacome is going to be great but another year of development would be helpful, he is the closer of their future, Willie Villa is there best talent, if he can stay healthy (only a 43 health rating) he is great, Ernest Steele as a starter from the rule 5 is outclassed, Carlos Garrido is also best suited to be a mop up guy but he may be ok as a LRB guy.
They need to continue building for the future and Charlie Norton needs to be better and hopefully in his second season now he can. They have a problem though in that their #1 starter Geronimo Rijo only has control of 48. He needs to be the player of 2 seasons ago, not last year, if they are to move up the ladder.
If they can keep their team healthy they will take 3rd in this division.