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WhiteSoxFan84
12-08-2006, 03:20 PM
After seeing the Kansas City Royals dish out $50 to $60 million to acquire Gil Meche and Octavio Dotel, you can now officially label the AL Central as the best division. Not saying that the Royals are contenders now but they are at least putting forth the effort to attract some decent free agents. The other four teams in the division are already primed for what should be a stellar season.

So I thought of another installment of "WSF84's Off Season Fun"! In this "segment", all you have to do is rank the teams in the order you think they will finish at the end of this season based on their CURRENT (12/08/06) rosters. Don't account for possible acquisitions and such, just go by what the teams have in stock right now. Here's my order...


1) Chicago White Sox - They still have the most-balanced lineup in the game. All they need is for Uribe to hit over .240 and whoever plays CF to post an OBP over .300. Dye/Thome/PK/Crede will take care of the rest. Obviously Pods version 2005 returning would be a huge plus. Pitching is still the best on paper even with holes in the bullpen. Rotation looks solid and the bullpen should improve with Floyd, Gonzalez, and Aardsma now getting into the mix with Jenks, Thornton, McDougal, Haegar, and Logan.
2) Detroit Tigers - Normally I stand firm behind the slogan, "to be the best you have to beat the best", but I'm a Sox fan and thus the Sox will always be the best. That being said, the Tigers have to be ahead of everyone else but the Sox purely because they won the pennant last season. But it doesn't hurt them that they have a very talented team and adding Gary Sheffield to the mix only makes them that much more dangerous.
3) Cleveland Indians - This team scared me all of last season and they still scare me. Whether or not they have the pitching is still in question but I believe they have enough to keep them in the picture. Their offense will only be better in 2007 and that bullpen will be improved with the addition of veterans Joe Borowski, Aaron Fultz, and Roberto Hernandez.
4) Minnesota Twins - No Liriano for the whole season, Radke's career is probably over, who's going to pitch for them? Baker, Silva, and Bosner just won't work. Mauer/Morneau (fluke year) will not be able to career this team by themselves. Castillio, Punto, and co. will not repeat the numbers they put up this past season. Santana will still put up 20 wins though.
5) Kansas City Royals - Glad to see them picking up some of the better free agents but they are still far from being a factor. They do have some exciting players to watch especially Ryan Shealy.

mccoydp
12-08-2006, 03:28 PM
I'll bite. My opinions are about as valid as any one of the sports writers out there (which is to say, jack ****), but here's what my gut tells me:

1. Minnesota - They always seem to find a way to win...and I hate them for that. They'll probably end up pulling a talented pitcher out of their ass to cover the loss of Liriano for all I know; that would be like them.
2. Chicago - Key is making up the # of wins lost in the Garcia trade. More troubling would be the loss of Garland without a comparable replacement.
3. Detroit - Second half drop-off in 2006 indicative of what's to come in 2007? Maybe.
4. Cleveland - Meh. 2005 was their peak.
5. Kansas City - Could be closer to Cleveland, though.

As of today, I don't see much of a change. There's still a lot of maneuvering to be done yet this offseason.

All of this being said, I would love to be wrong about my #2 choice! :bandance:

guillen4life13
12-08-2006, 03:31 PM
My thinking is:

1) Detroit
2) Chicago (WC)
3) Cleveland
4) Minnesota
5) KC

23Ventura
12-08-2006, 03:42 PM
1) Chicago
2) Minnesota
3) Cleveland
4) Detroit
5) Kansas City

JUribe1989
12-08-2006, 03:44 PM
1. Detroit
2. Chicago
3. Minny
4. Kansas City
5. Cleveland

itsnotrequired
12-08-2006, 03:52 PM
Detroit
Chicago
Minnesota
Cleveland
Kansas City

Of course, this all means jack until the season starts. I'm sure more trades are on the way.

munchman33
12-08-2006, 03:59 PM
As of right now, I'm not a big fan of the older guys in our rotation. I'm for Kenny trading away Vasquez and Buehrle on top of Garcia already out the door. You all think I'm nuts, but until that happens, this is how I see things shaking up.

1. Minnesota 102 wins
2. Detroit 95 wins
3. Cleveland 93 wins
4. Chicago 88 wins
5. Kansas City 75 wins

Obviously, that's a lot of winning outside the division too.

Fenway
12-08-2006, 04:00 PM
Jayson Stark wrote
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove06/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=2690258

It's still hard to figure out how the Indians outscored their opponents this year by more runs (88) than the Dodgers, A's, Cardinals and White Sox -- and still finished fourth. So it will take far less work to turn Cleveland into a force than most of America seems to think.

Well, this team has already upgraded its outfield with David Dellucci (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=5823) (three years, $11.5 million) and bullpen (Joe Borowski (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=5448), Roberto Hernandez (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=4612) and Aaron Fultz (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=6445), all on one-year deals) without spending a lot of money or tying its hands with long-term commitments. So if the rest of its offseason is as productive as the first month has gone, this is a team to watch out for.

The Immigrant
12-08-2006, 04:01 PM
I find it hard to believe that Detroit's pitching will replicate what they accomplished in 2006. I also find it hard to believe that Minnesota will continue playing at a .750 clip, the way they did from June through September of last year. With that in mind, here's how I see it:

1. Chicago 93
2. Detroit 90
3. Minnesota 88
4. Cleveland 80
5. Kansas City 68

spiffie
12-08-2006, 04:04 PM
As things stand today, and this could all change tomorrow:

1 - Detroit I think the Sheffield addition will help their offense, and their young starters have another year under their belt.
2 - Minnesota They always seem to find a way. The young arms coming up should help, and they still have Santana.
3 - Cleveland Last year's team had awesome offense, but was unsettled pitching wise. I think settling down the bullpen will help them to move up and take advantage of their run scoring. Fausto Carmona probably increased business at psychiatrist offices in Cleveland by 20% when he was closing.
4 - Chicago Still three gaping holes in the lineup. What happens if Dye doesn't put up gigantic numbers again next year? Can McCarthy go 32 starts?
5 - Kansas City Getting better, but still 2-3 years away. I like the Dotel signing, as either he will be a good closer if they get good fast, or he will net them something useful at the deadline.

Here's the funny thing about this division. I could easily see only one of these teams ending up under .500. It wouldn't surprise me to see the final records looking something like:
92-70
90-72
88-74
85-77
71-91

All of these teams should do very well in interleague play and against the AL West and the bottom of the AL East. If I were ranking the top teams in the AL right now 4 of my top 8 would be from this division. An article on yahoo said it best when it called the AL Central a "meat grinder" of a division. Any of the top 4 teams would in my opinion be favored in the NL Central, NL West, or AL West.

nlentz88
12-08-2006, 04:15 PM
I really have no idea, so I'll go with alphabetical order:

1. Chicago
2. Cleveland
3. Detroit
4. Kansas City
5. Minnesotta

PKalltheway
12-08-2006, 04:15 PM
It's kinda early to be judging something like this, but hey, let's have some offseason fun.

1. Minnesota. I don't know how they do it, but it seems like everything they touch turns to gold (Except in the playoffs)!:D:

2. Chicago. Losing Garcia will be a blow, but with the offense the Sox have, if McCarthy and/or Floyd can make through at least six innings without getting shellacked, the Sox will be fine. The rest of the rotation just needs to perform at the levels they're capable of. If they make the playoffs, they'll definitely be slugging their way there.

3. Detroit. Their pitching is gonna be bad-ass (I'll go as far as to say the best in the AL), but can their offense put up the type of numbers they did last year? Even with the addition of Gary Sheffield, the younger guys in the lineup will have to prove that last year was no fluke.

4. Cleveland. Great lineup, but with that ****ty pitching they have (especially their AWFUL bullpen:o: ), they'll go nowhere. They're just the AL version of the Reds.

5. Kansas City. Even though they've gobbled up a couple of solid free agents, they still have a while before they catch up to the big boys of the central. There is a fair chance that they can escape the cellar next year.

Chicago and Detroit can be flipped between 2nd and 3rd. This divison will be great next year. I'd say the division winner will finish with at least 94 wins.

lakeviewsoxfan
12-08-2006, 04:22 PM
1. CWS 94-68
2.DET 91-61
3. Minny 88-74
4. CLE 81-81
5. KC 74-88

INSox56
12-08-2006, 04:28 PM
1. Chicago - Pretty darn good pitching staff, I look for BA to improve, Uribe can't possibly do that bad again, I expect Brandon to actually have a good year (better than expected).
2. Cleveland - I don't think their pitching will be as bad. I think Det and Cle will be really close.
3. Detroit - I can't see how their pitching can keep that up. I don't think Sheff can improve them THAT much.
4. Minnesota - Like 3/4 of their lineup had career years last year (literally), no way they keep that up. Two words...No Liriano.
5. Kansas City - Better, but not that much better.

WhiteSox5187
12-08-2006, 04:32 PM
1. White Sox - While McCarthy won't be able to win 17 games, Garland will again and Burhle will return to form. Sox still have a powerful 1-2-3 punch with Garland, Contreras and Burhle in the rotation. Look for a fully healthy Pods to return to something similar to '05 form and continue his maddening on a year off a year pace. Any line up that included Konerko-Thome-Dye-Crede is good enough to compete. With healthy and rested starting pitching, the Sox will be tough to beat and the team to beat.

2. Minnesota Twins - It's going to be a dog fight in the AL Central this year with the Sox, Twins, Tigers, and to a lesser extent the Indians all fighting for that top spot. Liraino and Radke leaving hurts, but Johan Santana makes the Twins a very forminidable team and they always find a way to win. They excute the fundamentals and that makes them winners.

3. Cleveland Indians - Every year we hear that the Indians are going to surprise everybody and they always have these surges but can never seal the deal. This year will be no different. They will be hot at times and look unbelievable but youth and inexpierence will catch up to them and Joe Borowski is not the answer in the bullpen.

4. Detroit Tigers - Tired arms are going to force the Tigers to rely on their offense to carry them in the second half. The Tigers pack quite a wallop offensively, but as the Sox proved last year that's not enough to get them back to the playoffs. The Tigers also have a very leaky left side of the infield that needs to be addressed.

5. Kansas City Royals - They're not going to roll over and play dead anymore. I see the Royals causing major head aches for teams in contention late in the season and even making a run for five hundred in late August. But there are too many holes and once again, the Royals will finish under five hundred and in the cellar.

JB98
12-08-2006, 05:40 PM
1. Minnesota
2. Sox
3. Cleveland
4. Detroit
5. Kansas City

SABRSox
12-08-2006, 06:51 PM
1. Sox
(and here's why: Buehrle bounces back after last season, finally gets 20 wins. Garland and Contreras bring more of the same. Fingernails performs as well, maybe slightly better than Freddy did last year. Vasquez no improvement (trade him if you can.) The offense is once again a juggernaut, and BA cracks .260 avg.)

the rest...
2. Indians
3. Tigers
4. Twins
5. Royals

sox1970
12-08-2006, 06:53 PM
1. Minnesota
2. Detroit
3. Cleveland
4. Sox
5. Kansas City

Yeah, I'm worried, and I'll admit it. The inconsistant starting pitching and suspect bullpen post-Memorial Day has me extremely worried about the Sox chances in 2007. Perhaps this is why Kenny is thinking about reloading the pitching staff--it may not be a bad idea. And if the Sox come in 4th next year, it doesn't necessarily make them a bad team--the AL Central is that good. Hopefully with some more moves--especially to the bullpen, I'll feel better about the Sox chances next season. One thing is for sure, next season is going to be an absolute dogfight.

buehrle4cy05
12-08-2006, 07:02 PM
I don't see Minnesota being as good as some people are ranking them. The loss of Liriano will hurt them drastically, so unless Garza/Baker/Bonser can step up big time, they're headed for second or third place. My list:
1. Detroit (95 wins)
2. Chicago (91 wins)
3. Minnesota (89 wins)
4. Cleveland (87 wins)
5. Kansas City (66 wins)

IMO, the top 4 teams are going to be in a dogfight. We'll see how Cleveland pans out, but they're doing everything in their power to address the bullpen problem, and the lineup will be as good as ever for them next year. Hafner, Martinez, and Sizemore could be All-Stars and Andy Marte will get his first shot at a big league job. They scare me, but I think they're still about a year and a starting pitcher away from really contending.

Kansas City really overpaid for Meche, who would make a good 3 starter on most teams. Nobody really knows if Dotel can pitch anymore. The offense should be solid for them, with guys like Mark Teahen, David DeJesus, and maybe even Alex Gordon coming through for them next year.

Detroit's the easy pick for first, right? I don't know. We'll see how those arms fair after throwing so much in 2006. I don't think a guy like Kenny Rogers will be affected, but Verlander and Bonderman could experience dropoffs. Mike Maroth could be a wild card in all of this, as he barely pitched in 2006. The offense is improved, but they still don't have a lefty to break up the middle of the order. Gary Sheffield could break down at any point, and without him, it seems apparent that Detroit won't have a power hitter in the middle of the order. Magglio Ordonez doesn't fit that mold anymore, and Ivan Roidriguez doesn't unless he gets back on the juice.

And that leaves the White Sox. I'll reserve predictions on 2007 until this offseason is over.

ondafarm
12-08-2006, 07:04 PM
1. White Sox (100-62)
2. Cleveland (90-72)
3. Detroit (88-74)
4. Minnesota (84-78)
5. KC (54-108)

Hitmen77
12-08-2006, 07:15 PM
Impossible to predict. I really believe the Sox on paper have the ability to be a 100 win team in 2007.

What will make the difference between playoff or no playoffs in '07 is the same thing that made the difference in '06 - pitching.

- Are Buehrle and Contreras going to bounce back and return to their 2005 form? If so, I like our chances. If they're going to carry over their 06 struggles into next year, then it'll be another frustrating season. Is McCarthy ready for a full season as a starter. We'll just have to wait and see.

- I expect the bullpen to be better in '07 than last. We won't know all the pieces that'll be there until the offseason moves are complete. But, I'm optimistic that we can at least avoid total meltdown cases that plagued us last year (Politte and Cotts).

- Finally, are our 8-9-1 hitters going to step up and contribute offensively? They just killed us last year with their lack of production and execution.

....of course all of this is based on the team as currently assembled. We don't know if there will be any big transactions between now and opening day.

HomeFish
12-08-2006, 07:24 PM
1. Minnesota
A winning machine. The AL Central is the Twins' division; the rest of us simply play in it. They're the team to beat in this division, and it's only been done twice this decade.

2. Cleveland
I think 2006 was an abnormally bad year for this Cleveland team. They're better than that on paper.

3. Chicago
The Sox always find a way to be an 80-90 win team. With the aging starters, the holes in the bullpen, and the lack of speed and hitting for average in the lineup, I think they're a bit worse than that on paper, though.

4. Detroit
A lot of career years in 2006. Concievably, I could see them finishing second or third, but I put them here to stress the fact that I think they'll fall off a lot.

5. Kansas City
Gil Meche isn't going to help. Octavio Dotel will probably hurt.

veeter
12-08-2006, 07:29 PM
I honestly think the Sox will miss the playoffs next year. I think with Kenny's system they'll be back up in two or three years. It'll be a world championship every five years or so. Ho-hum, the life of a Sox fan.

Oblong
12-08-2006, 10:02 PM
I believe it'll be a 3 team race like last year but Cleveland will replace MN.

1) Detroit 97-65
2) Chicago 94-68
3) Cleveland 91-71
4) Minnesota 84-78
5) Kansas City 83-79

I think the Twins finally fall off. Mauer or Mourneau will get injured and the starters won't hold up. KC will be improved.

I also could very easily see Detroit/Chicago swapping spots from my prediction. I just picked Detroit to be biased but I'm hedging my bet. :tongue:

I see a healty and respectful Detroit/Chicago rivalry this year. Lots of flipping back and forth all year long. I do think Detroit will have a drop off year, even though the record will be better. of that makes sense. What I mean is they won't be as good as the first 2/3 of the year and won't be as bad as the last 1/3. Record wise it won't be a dropoff but there won't be as dominating a stretch.

I see the Sox getting solid years as usual from the big guns and the bullpen will be stronger. I still don't know how they missed the playoffs last year. I really mean that. Garland will be a cy young contender. No major injuries.

PKalltheway
12-08-2006, 10:07 PM
I still don't know how they missed the playoffs last year.
Even though pitching was inconsistent, they were just the odd one out in a tough division. Kinda like the 2002 Dodgers and the 2002 Mariners in a way.

ondafarm
12-08-2006, 10:55 PM
1. Minnesota
A winning machine. The AL Central is the Twins' division; the rest of us simply play in it. They're the team to beat in this division, and it's only been done twice this decade.

2. Cleveland
I think 2006 was an abnormally bad year for this Cleveland team. They're better than that on paper.

3. Chicago
The Sox always find a way to be an 80-90 win team. With the aging starters, the holes in the bullpen, and the lack of speed and hitting for average in the lineup, I think they're a bit worse than that on paper, though.

4. Detroit
A lot of career years in 2006. Concievably, I could see them finishing second or third, but I put them here to stress the fact that I think they'll fall off a lot.

5. Kansas City
Gil Meche isn't going to help. Octavio Dotel will probably hurt.
:chickenlittle

oeo
12-08-2006, 10:58 PM
1. White Sox (100-62)
2. Cleveland (90-72)
3. Detroit (88-74)
4. Minnesota (84-78)
5. KC (54-108)

I like the way you think. :thumbsup:

santo=dorf
12-08-2006, 11:05 PM
As of right now, I'm not a big fan of the older guys in our rotation. I'm for Kenny trading away Vasquez and Buehrle on top of Garcia already out the door. You all think I'm nuts, but until that happens, this is how I see things shaking up.

1. Minnesota 102 wins
2. Detroit 95 wins
3. Cleveland 93 wins
4. Chicago 88 wins
5. Kansas City 75 wins

Obviously, that's a lot of winning outside the division too.

I think you're nuts for always spelling Javy's last name wrong.

people, Cleveland has had two good months the past 2 years. They aren't that big of a threat.

fquaye149
12-08-2006, 11:34 PM
As of right now, I'm not a big fan of the older guys in our rotation. I'm for Kenny trading away Vasquez and Buehrle on top of Garcia already out the door. You all think I'm nuts, but until that happens, this is how I see things shaking up.

1. Minnesota 102 wins
2. Detroit 95 wins
3. Cleveland 93 wins
4. Chicago 88 wins
5. Kansas City 75 wins

Obviously, that's a lot of winning outside the division too.

you do realize liriano's out the year right? 102 wins? lol

palehozenychicty
12-08-2006, 11:37 PM
I think you're nuts for always spelling Javy's last name wrong.

people, Cleveland has had two good months the past 2 years. They aren't that big of a threat.


I don't buy the Indians either. They play fundamentally poor baseball. Propellerheads e.g. Neyer love them for the run differential, though, so they'll get talked about until they lose 90+ games again.

thomas35forever
12-08-2006, 11:43 PM
This race is going to be a tight one, but here's my pick:

1) Detroit - They have plenty of young talent to work with (Zumaya, Granderson, etc.), so don't think last year was a fluke. I'd say division by three games.

2) Chicago - We'll win the Wild Card. McCarthy will spend his first full season in the rotation, so give him time to re-adjust. Our rotation will find their forms again, but until we find another arm in the bullpen, I can't say we'll finish at the top yet.

3) Minnesota - They'll finish about five games out of second. The losses of Liriano and Radke could be devastating. Santana, Mauer, and Morneau will still be effective though.

4) Cleveland - It looks like their drive in late '05 was a fluke. Look for them to keep proving that this year. They've got great talent, but they have nothing to show for it.

5) Kansas City - At least the perennial cellar-dwellers are spending big money like other teams are. No further report is needed. In the words of Ozzie, they "flat-out stink."