The American League Central: 2008 Preview

Jeff RuthContributor IApril 7, 2008

Time for step 2 in the process of picking my winners in MLB this year. 

Detroit Tigers: (88-74 in 2007)

If i had to pick one team that is most improved since October, the Tigers would be it. When you can acquire two of the brightest, established young stars in the game AND add a shortstop who has certainly made a name for himself, you know you're front office is doing something right. And the price they paid i would say is marginal when you look at the gain. Dontrelle Willis, Miguel Cabrera and Edgar Renteria are players who will have immediate impact and when you add Gary Sheffield, Magglio Ordonez, Kenny Rogers, Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson to the mix, the American League will certainly dread playing these cats in 2008. Which still hasn't completely set in, the American League will dread playing the Tigers? Bear in mind 3 years ago people walked all over this team, then, on opening day they were already an afterthought, much like the Royals. Just goes to show you how much the game changes.

Acquisitions: Dontrelle Willis, Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Denny Bautista, Jacque Jones.
Losses: Sean Casey, Chad Durbin, Omar Infante,
Re-Signings: Todd Jones, Kenny Rogers.

Cleveland Indians: (96-66 in 2007)

In normal cases, the Tribe would be an easy pick to win the division they just won last year, but this isn't most cases and that throne will belong to the Tigers in 2008. Cleveland just didn't retool enough to fend off the rest of their division this year. Granted they will still be able to hold off Chicago, Minnesota and Kansas City. Cleveland is a safe pick for a wild card birth if Toronto catches injury fever. They still have Grady Sizemore and C.C. Sabathia. So Tribe fans should expect good things from their club in 2008, just not Detroit good. C.C. and Fausto should still be one of the best one-two punches in baseball and Travis Hafner should recover from his power outage last year. Which will definitely result in more wins, but ultimately will miss out on the division by 5-10 games.

Acquisitions: Jamey Carroll, Brendan Donnelly, Jorge Julio
Losses: Kenny Lofton, Trot Nixon, Luis Rivas.
Re-Signings: Joe Borowski, Paul Byrd, Aaron Fultz.

Chicago White Sox: (72-90 in 2007)

With Johan Santana out of the way, say hello to your new third place team in the Central. I actually like alot of the White Sox moves this offseason. The biggest move was picking up Orlando Cabrera to play shortstop for Starting Pitcher Jon Garland. That move screams Ouch! to me though, and i can see it hurting the Sox in 2008. It seems to me like they're going into the season with all 5 pitchers for their rotation already chosen, and what happens when injury occurs? I'll tell you what, you miss Jon Garland. Other losses are Scott Podsednik, Darin Erstad and Craig Wilson. Now for their excellent pickups. Scott Linebrink(which gets an A+ in my book, one of the best setup men in the game), Octavio Dotel(another good/great setup man for jenks), Carlos Quentin, Nick Swisher (which is another great one) and David Aardsma. They're Bullpen will be lights out this year, and with Juan Uribe likely moving to second for Orlando Cabrera expect them to be MUCH better all around in 2008 as they try and give the Tribe and the Cats a run for their money.

Acquisitions: Orlando Cabrera, Octavio Dotel, Scott Linebrink, David Aardsma.
Losses: Jon Garland, Darin Erstad, Craig Wilson.
Re-Signings: Juan Uribe.

Kansas City Royals: (69-93 in 2007)

THIS will finally be the year. I'm predicting it. The Kansas City Royals will not finish in last place for the first time since Dinosaurs roamed the earth. That's right you heard it right here, folks. Now, with that out of the way, I think the Royals are getting better with each passing season, despite what some of you may believe. I still think Gil Meche was a good pickup, money aside. Jose Guillen will definitely help this club who has so desperately needed power, and with Odalis Perez and his lucrative contract off of the table there's more money to spend! KC fans rejoice! I still think Joey Gathright needs to step up and be the full time Centerfielder he was scouted to be. But the Royals also got some decent names from the Dodgers this offseason. Brett Tomko and Chin-Hui Tsao were signed as Free Agents. Who aren't terrific, but they're better names than what the Royals lost. David Riske? Odalis Perez? No thanks. Enjoy your stay in Milwaukee and Washington respectively.

Acquisitions: Jose Guillen, Alberto Callaspo,
Losses: Odalis Perez, David Riske, Emil Brown.

Minnesota Twins: (79-83 in 2007)

Expect a wild one in the Twin Cities this year. Johan Santana and Torii Hunter have officially left the building, err.... Metrodome. Torii Hunter signs with the Angels after they just overpaid for a basically nothing Gary Matthews, Jr. last offseason. The Mets on the other hand, were big winners in this one and for this kind of a rip off they pulled on Minnesota, they should be removed from the worst trade in history record books for the Scott Kazmir deal three years ago. The Twins couldn't hold on to any of their pitchers this offseason as Matt Garza was traded to Tampa Bay and Carlos Silva headed west to solidify the Mariners starting rotation. Three members of your starting rotation are gone and your gold glove centerfielder opted for greener pastures. This doesn't sound much like a winner to me in 2008. Expect to see them in the basement most if not all of the year.

Acquisitions: Craig Monroe, Delmon Young, Livan Hernandez, Adam Everett, Mike Lamb.
Losses: Johan Santana, Torii Hunter, Matt Garza, Carlos Silva.

AL Central Wrapup:

Detroit: 98-64

Cleveland: 90-65

Chicago Sox: 88-74

Kansas City: 73-89

Minnesota: 65-97


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