With the 2012 MLB season in the books, it is time to begin to look to 2013. All 30 teams will start off on even footing as they try to win baseball's ultimate prize, the World Series title.
The San Francisco Giants will look to defend their title in 2013, but it will not be easy. Their division will be very competitive next season, as will the rest of the National League.
Following their disappointing performance in the 2012 World Series, the Detroit Tigers will look to take the next step and win the title during the upcoming season.
Teams will add a number of new players through free-agent signings and trades, and these moves will help shape the 2013 season.
Here are my early picks for the 2013 World Series along with the lineup and starting rotation for each team.
During the 2012 MLB season, the Washington Nationals were the best team in baseball. They led the MLB with 98 wins, and their young talent impressed a number of people during the year.
With a full season from both Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg in 2013, the Nationals will be in a better position than they were this past season. Having Strasburg on the mound in the postseason will make a huge difference for the Nationals.
Washington will also likely be active in the free-agent market this winter. The Nationals are one piece away from being a World Series team, and they have the money available to pick up the player that they need.
While the Washington Nationals may explore some changes to their starting lineup during the offseason, they likely will not make any drastic moves. Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post has reported that both Adam LaRoche and the Nationals are interested in coming to an agreement on a deal.
If the two sides agree to something, then the Nationals likely will not pick up a starting outfielder. Should the Nationals fail to re-sign LaRoche, they could go after an outfielder like B.J. Upton and then slide Mike Morse to first base.
- Jayson Werth, RF
- Bryce Harper, CF
- Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
- Adam LaRoche, 1B
- Mike Morse, LF
- Ian Desmond, SS
- Danny Espinosa, 2B
- Kurt Suzuki, C
The Washington Nationals' starting rotation is already very strong with Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann at the top. Washington will need to find a way to replace Edwin Jackson, and even though they have some internal options, they will likely look for a free agent.
Anibal Sanchez could be a great fit for the Nationals. Sanchez has had an ERA under 4.00 in each season since 2009, and he is still fairly young at 29 years old. Washington would have one of the best No. 4 starters in the league if they added him to their starting rotation. Throw Ross Detwiler into the mix, and the Nationals would have one of the best rotations in baseball.
- Stephen Strasburg
- Gio Gonzalez
- Jordan Zimmerman
- Anibal Sanchez
- Ross Detwiler
The Detroit Tigers reached the World Series in 2012, but they struggled mightily and lost in four games. The Tigers will be better next season even before they make an acquisition because they will have Victor Martinez coming back healthy.
Expect the Tigers to spend big in the offseason so that they can get back to the World Series in 2013. Tigers owner Mike Ilitch has said that his "life wouldn't be complete without a World Series title" (h/t Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News). Ilitch is 83 years old and knows that the Tigers need to win a World Series soon if he is going to see a title during his lifetime.
This could mean that Ilitch makes decisions that could hurt the Tigers in the long run, but sets them up to return to the World Series in the near future.
With owner Mike Ilitch likely willing to spend big money this offseason, the Detroit Tigers could make one of the biggest splashes of the winter (h/t Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News).
Josh Hamilton could be an option for the Tigers, and Buster Olney of ESPN (Insider required) has identified Detroit as a potential landing spot for him this winter. It may cost the Tigers over $200 million, but it would give them one of the best middle of the orders in a long time.
In right field, the Tigers have a number of options. They can go with Andy Dirks, Brennan Boesch, Avisail Garcia or Quintin Berry in right field.
Having Victor Martinez come back healthy will also be a huge boost to the Tigers lineup. Their offense will be able to carry them through the regular season and playoffs.
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Omar Infante, 2B
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B
- Josh Hamilton, LF
- Prince Fielder, 1B
- Victor Martinez, DH
- Alex Avila, C
- Jhonny Peralta, SS
- Andy Dirks, RF
Justin Verlander is one of the best pitchers in baseball and is the ace of the Detroit Tigers staff. When he is at his best, he is virtually unhittable.
Behind Verlander, the Tigers rotation in 2013 will look almost identical to the rotation from 2012. Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, Drew Smyly and Rick Porcello will all begin the year as starters for the Tigers. Top pitching prospect Casey Crosby could work his way into the rotation at some point during the season as well.
While the Tigers rotation is not incredible, it should be enough when it is paired with their dynamic offense.
- Justin Verlander
- Doug Fister
- Max Scherzer
- Drew Smyly
- Rick Porcello
A World Series matchup between the Washington Nationals and Detroit Tigers would be incredibly fun to watch. Seeing Stephen Strasburg go up against Justin Verlander would be one of the most intriguing pitching combinations that could occur in a World Series game.
This World Series pairing would feature two very talented teams with distinct strengths. Washington would be relying more on its starting rotation, while the Tigers would be counting on their offensive stars to deliver.
If the World Series did feature these two teams, then Mike Ilitch's spending should pay off for the Tigers. Their impressive lineup would be too much for the Nationals to overcome.
It would still be a tight series, but the Tigers would win in six games.