This week the Rangers acquired relief pitcher Edwar Ramirez from the New York Yankees for cash considerations. Edwar had a 3.55 ERA in 55.1 innings for the Yankees in 2008, but followed up that good year by struggling in 2009, with a 5.73 ERA in 22 innings with the Yankees. Basically, the Rangers get Ramirez for nothing, and I like trades where you get possible contributors and give up nothing in return.
This week I’ll provide my predictions for the 2010 season.
1. New York Yankees: New York won the World Series last year, and as much as it pains me to say it, they’ll probably win the AL East again this year. They have six players starting for the Yankees this year that had 20 or more home runs in 2009. Their pitching is amazing, with CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.37), AJ Burnett (13-9, 4.04), Andy Pettite (14-8, 4.16), and Javier Vazquez (15-10, 2.87). They also have Mariano Rivera as their closer. Even though they lost Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and Brian Bruney over the offseason, they still improved in my opinion, as they added both Curtis Granderson and Javier Vazquez from trades.
2. Boston Red Sox (Wild Card): The Red Sox are also very good, and would probably win any division other than the AL East. They have a pitching staff that is just as good, if not better, than the Yankees, with Jon Lester (15-8, 3.41), Josh Beckett (17-6, 3.86), John Lackey (11-8, 3.83), and Clay Buchholz (7-4, 4.21). I think that the Red Sox will be the American League Wild Card this year.
3. Tampa Bay Rays:
4. Baltimore Orioles:
5. Toronto Blue Jays:
1. Minnesota Twins: The Twins’ pitching is not very good, as their #1 starter had a 4.27 ERA, which is high for a #3 starting pitcher in a good rotation, but their hitting is incredible, and they just somehow figure out ways to win. The Twins have Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, Orlando Hudson, Denard Span, and Jason Kubel in their lineup. If Joe Nathan doesn’t play this year, which it looks like he won’t, it will be much harder for the Twins to win this year, but I still think they will because the AL Central is so weak.
2. Chicago White Sox
3. Detroit Tigers
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Cleveland Indians
1. Texas Rangers: The Rangers have a good young team, and a very good chance to win the AL West. Their rotation is very good, with Scott Feldman, Rich Harden, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, and Tommy Hunter. I really think that Derek Holland will have an All-Star year this year and will be dominant. The Rangers also have a chance to have a very good offense, if Chris Davis has a comeback year, Josh Hamilton can stay healthy, and the rest of the team doesn’t decline.
2. Seattle Mariners
3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (otherwise known as the team with the dumbest name ever)
4. Oakland Athletics
1. Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies made it to the World Series for the second straight year last year. They have a very good team this year, too, as they have almost all their players returning this year from last year. Cliff Lee got replaced by Roy Halladay in the starting rotation, which might actually be a slight downgrade for this year, but in the future it will be for the better since Lee is a free agent after this year. Placido Polanco is the only new starting position player on the team, and he is an upgrade at third base from Pedro Feliz, who was the starter there last year. And the Phillies closing situation will be better this year, just because it couldn’t have been any worse, so it has to get better.
2. Atlanta Braves
3. Florida Marlins
4. New York Mets (who I think should change their stadium name from Citi Field to Injury Field)
5. Washington Nationals
1. St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals have what may be the best 1-2 punch in all of major league baseball with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. Wainwright had a 19-8 record with a 2.63 ERA and 212 strikeouts in 233 innings pitched, while Carpenter had a 17-4 record with a 2.24 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 192.2 innings pitched. And those two have Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday behind them in the field, and that may also be the best group of two hitters in the middle of the order. Just those four players plus Franklin, Molina, and Ludwick are good enough to make up for the somewhat mediocre remainder of the team.
2. Cincinnati Reds
3. Chicago Cubs
4. Milwaukee Brewers
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
6. Houston Astros
1. San Francisco Giants: The Giants pitching staff is amazing and will probably be even better this year with Jonathon Sanchez having another year under his belt. Cy Young Award winner for the past two seasons Tim Lincecum (15-7, 2.48) is the ace of the staff and Matt Cain (14-8, 2.89) would be the ace on most team’s staffs. Barry Zito (10-13, 4.03) improved last year, and actually was a decent pitcher. Jonathon Sanchez (8-12, 4.24) has a lot of potential and could be really good this year, while Madison Bumgarner (9-1, 1.93 in AA and 3-1, 1.48 in High-A) was dominant in the minors last year, and can have a very good season in the majors. The Giants signed Mark DeRosa in the offseason, and that will help the Giants horrible offense, which was basically just Pablo Sandoval and Bengie Molina, along with a little bit of Freddy Sanchez, and then a few hits sprinkled in from everybody else.
2. Colorado Rockies (Wild Card): The Rockies have a very good young team, with Troy Tulowitzki, Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta, and Carlos Gonzalez all starting for them. Tulowitzki (.297, 32, 92) really led the offense last season, and finished in the top 25 in the NL in batting average, home runs, RBI’s, slugging percentage, on base percentage, OPS, stolen bases, runs, and hits. Brad Hawpe also had a good season last year, hitting .285 with 23 home runs and 86 RBI’s while making his first All-Star appearance. Ubaldo Jimenez leads the rotation, and had a solid year last year, with a 15-12 record and a 3.47 ERA.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
5. San Diego Padres
AL MVP: Joe Mauer, MIN
Runner-up: Evan Longoria, TB
Al Cy Young: Cliff Lee, SEA
Runner-up: Zack Grienke, KC
AL Rookie of the Year: Austin Jackson, DET
Runner-up: Carlos Santana, CLE
AL Manager of the Year: Ron Washington, TEX
Runner-up: Ron Gardenhire, MIN
NL MVP: Albert Pujols, STL
Runner-up: Joey Votto, CIN
NL Cy Young: Adam Wainwright, STL
Runner-up: Tommy Hanson, ATL
NL Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward, ATL
Runner-up: Madison Bumgarner, SF
NL Manager of the Year: Jim Tracy, COL
Runner-up: Bruce Bochy, SF
Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox: Rangers in 5
New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins: Yankees in 4
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Colorado Rockies: Cardinals in 4
San Francisco Giants vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Giants in 5
New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers: Yankees in 7
St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants: Giants in 5
New York Yankees vs. San Francisco Giants: Giants in 6
I will be taking next week off. Come back in two weeks for a spring training report.