I've put in a lot of study and a lot of research into this, and I have come up with my pick for the 2011 MLB Baseball World Series champions. The offseason has been filled with DFA's (Designation for Assignment) trades, free agent signings, and tons of teams in the league have put themselves in a good position to succeed. Like the Milwaukee Brewers signing Zack Greinke to a multi-year contract to bolster their pitching staff, and the Chicago Cubs picking up Carlos Pena in a one year deal to drive their offense over the top in 2011.
Those are a couple amongst a chapter full of upgrades for teams. Sometimes, however, you do not need the big free agent signing or the big name trade to make a run for a championship or to even win a championship. That is why, based upon certain criteria and research, I have come to the conclusion that the 2011 MLB World Series champions will be...(insert drum roll)....the San Diego Padres.
You're all probably thinking, "Really? Over the Boston Red Sox with their bolstered line up, and even over the Philadelphia Phillies or defending world champion San Francisco Giants? You're nuts"!
All I have to say to that, is that I might be nuts, but I'm bold and basing my pick on past seasons and the depth of pitching. Look at their pitching staff. Mat Latos has taken over as the new staff ace after Jake Peavy got traded to the White Sox in the 2009 season, and Clayton Richard has the stuff to be an ace as well.
Sure, they got rid of injury-ridden Chris Young, but he was bound to get traded because if you're a general manager it's a no-brainer to get rid of the player who never plays due to injury. They not only have co-aces in Latos and Richard, but they have Tim Stauffer who hasn't disappointed since coming up in the league in 2006, and the newly signed Aaron Harang can bring veteran leadership to a team that strongly welcomes it. They will have several pitchers vying for the fifth spot in the rotation, with Wade LeBlanc, Cory Luebke, Dustin Moseley, and Casey Kelly (player in the Gonzalez trade). Either way the starting pitching will not disappoint, plenty of arms to make something big happen in a game.
The bullpen has been the creme de la creme of the whole team. Closer Heath Bell leads the way with the best bullpen arguably in the league. Set up men Luke Gregerson and Mike Adams alike, set records in the 2011 season for both holds and earned run average for relievers. It's quite an accomplishment, and with other ingredients in hard throwing Ernesto Frieri, the bullpen is indeed unable to downgrade itself from last year.
Everyone would agree that the offense last year for the Padres was not up to par to where it should be for a contending team, so they decided to upgrade. Now, no one can replace Adrian Gonzalez, he was truly one of the top hitters in the league and an asset to any team, but they needed to get rid of him because he posed too much of a threat due to his salary demands in the future. The team, because of that, decided to ship Gonzalez to Boston, get several minor leaguers in return and put together a veteran filled team.
I say veterans because most of their newly acquired players are over thirty years of age. Amongst them are, first baseman Brad Hawpe, back up infielder Jorge Cantu, shortstop Jason Bartlett, second baseman Orlando Hudson, and starting pitcher Aaron Harang. The veteran pick ups show the world that the Padres are going for a championship now, and that they're even hungrier than ever after missing out on a play off spot by one game.
The outfield will be even better now with the signing of Cameron Maybin to play center field, and him along with Will Venable and back up Eric Patterson, will make for a very frustrating outfield for the opposition. Speed along with power in Ryan Ludwick, make for a perfect outfield in many people's eyes. That is my pick for the 2011 MLB baseball season. What do you think? What is yours? We will find out, either way, its bound to be an amazing action packed season.
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