Sox - Outlook for 2005: Thomas is
still out with foot surgery and could return
before May. The White Sox have re-tooled their
offence, losing power - Thomas and Carlos Lee
but adding some speed - Scott Podsednik and
Tadahito Iguchi. To be successful in the AL
Central, the White Sox need their two Yankee
cast-offs Orlando Hernandez and Jose Contreras
to stay healthy. The Sox need Podsednik to be
closer to his 2003 form especially because they
have less power in their lineup.
Indians - Outlook for 2005:
After being a surprise team in 2004, it was
a relatively quiet off-season in Cleveland.
The biggest off-season loss was long-time shortstop
Omar Vizquel. Aaron Boone returns after missing
all of 2004 and will take over third base, forcing
Casey Blake into left field. The bullpen which
struggled a great deal in 2004 should be better
with a healthy Bob Wickman closing games and
the immerging Rafael Betancourt in a setup mode.
The Tribe could be contenders for the division
title if their young starters - anchored by
the veteran Kevin Millwood develop.
Tigers - Outlook for 2005:
It's hard to call a 90-loss season a success
but after a horrible 2003, the Tigers quest
for respectability will continue in 2005. The
Tigers landed the last big free agent on the
market in Magglio Ordonez and are hoping that
he can stay healthy like Pudge Rodriguez did
last season. The Tigers feature a pitching staff
short on name recognition, but long on potential.
Mike Maroth emerged as a mentally tough competitor
and Jeremy Bonderman should continue to develop.
The Tigers are a few impact players away from
contending but are moving in the right direction.
Royals - Outlook for 2005:
They went from a playoff contender in 2003 to
a 104-loss team in 2004. The Royals will once
again look to rebuild - with trade rumours surrounding
long time Royal and team captain Mike Sweeney.
David DeJesus, John Buck and Ruben Gotay all
will most likely start for the club. Runs will
be at a premium for the Royals. The pitching
staff is the strength of the Royals, specifically
Zack Greinke who immerged as an ace-in-waiting.
Royals fans should already look towards 2006,
because it'll be a long 2005.
Twins - Outlook for 2005:
The Twins have made the playoffs in three consecutive
years despite a middle of the road payroll.
The hallmark of the team has been their ability
to develop their young talent, and in 2005 a
lot of that home grown talent will move into
prominent roles. Canadian Justin Morneau will
be the starter at first and could be the first
Twin to hit over 30 homeruns in a season since
1987. Everyone in baseball knows about Cy Young
Award winner Johan Santana, but Juan Rincon
and Grant Balfour are in a fantastic bullpen
with closer Joe Nathan. The Twins should be
in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.
Futures Lines on who will win the worldseries.
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by Ciaran Wednesday at 10:00am