Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now


Archive for the ‘2010 Baseball Previews’


2010 Baseball Previews: AL West – Will the Rangers Rotation Overachieve? 3

Posted on March 18, 2010 by Don Spieles

Over the last six seasons, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have been the winner of the AL West division five times, only missing the title in 2006 to Oakland.  The bad part of that for Angels fans is that in five tries, they did not reach a single World Series.  Even more bad news in Anaheim is that this year they won’t even make the playoffs.  Skillful off season moves from Seattle and a Texas squad who’s coming of age, will both keep the Angels away from October baseball.  One this seems clear, though, the whole race will be very close.

1.  Seattle Mariners

Ken Griffey Jr.’s return to Seattle may have been a lucky move on his part if the Mariners play to potential.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Los Angeles Dodgers

Chone Figgins ran away from the Angels via free agency to be a star in Seattle.

Of course, the biggest story in town (that town, anyway) over the hot stove season was the trade acquisition of Cliff Lee from Philadelphia.  His spring training has been a little rough (one toe surgery, one ejection for throwing at a batter) but never the matter. Lee is a good bet to be an AL leader in at least a couple of starting pitcher categories.

What does it mean when your pitching rotation feathers Cliff Lee as the #2 starter? Well, let’s just say it’s not to shabby.  Felix Hernandez is slated as the top of the rotation guy for the Mariners after his 19 win campaign last season that just missed him the AL Cy Young (he finished second behind Zack Grienke.) Ryan Rowland-Smith, the reliever turned starter who spent a good portion of last year in triple-A, was not too shabby upon returning the the bigs (5-4 with a 3.74 ERA. Ian Snell came to Seattle last August after posting a 2-8 record with Pittsburgh. Before the end of the season he would lose only two more decisions while winning five over twelve starts.  All together, the Mariners should be happy enough with their April rotation to hope it continues.

Seattle’s offense is looking up, as well. They have added Chone Figgins (from Anaheim) to play second base. While a certainly a good acquisition, it means that Jose Lopez will be at third, which is the position he has the least amount of experience with. Griffey will of course be the regular DH, while in the outfield we’ll see Ichiro in right, Franklin Gutierrez in center, and Milton Bradley in Left.

As far as the Bradley situation is concerned, the best anyone is hoping for is that he has a quiet year in the rainy city – though that is, as it usually is, very, very unlikely.  Bradley is a distraction wherever he has been, the most recent case being Chicago where Bradley has accused fans of racial slurs and threats to explain his lackluster performance on the North Side (.257 average, .397 slugging, 12 home runs.)

Jack Wilson and Kasey Kotchman round out the field with average plate productions and fielding to match.

Seattle’s weakest link will be at catcher.  Whether they go with Rob Johnson coming back from three off season surgeries or if the opt for rookie Adam Moore, there the outcome will be pretty much anemic. Johnson does have a rapport with Felix Hernandez and was pretty much his personal catcher all of last season. Look for Seattle to win about 85 games, which will probably be enough to take the division. Read the rest of this entry →

The New York Mets Face a Spring Dilemma 1

Posted on March 16, 2010 by Richard Marsh
The Mets must decide where Jenrry Mejia will start the season.

The Mets must decide where Jenrry Mejia will start the season.

This is the time during Spring Training that all Major League teams starts to cut down on its rosters sending some players down to their Minor League affiliates while others are sent on their way right out of the organization.

The funny thing about this process is that there are very few surprises as to who stays and who goes. Sometimes a young player with just a little minor league experience makes such an outstanding impression the management feels that he is ready for the big leagues and they can’t see him not being with the parent club.

Steven Strasburg of the Washington Nationals comes to mind this year as he has not allowed a run in three appearances so far. It was expected that the number one overall player in last years draft would start the year perhaps even as high as AAA. He did have an advantage of playing college ball under Hall of Fame great Tony Gwynn but still there would seem to be no real reason to rush him into the fray. It’s not like the Nationals will be in the playoff hunt this year.

On Sirius/XM Radio yesterday Rob Dibble, who I love as a color commentator and sports talk show host, said when he was in his first couple of years of Spring Training and he knew he wasn’t going to make the Reds big club he actually asked the team to cut him early enough so he could get more work in the level he would be playing at. Amazing. Read the rest of this entry →

2010 New York Mets: Way Too Soon To Panic 2

Posted on March 14, 2010 by Richard Marsh
Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Mets at Citi Field in New York

When Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes will be available is a early question for the Mets.

Here it is, one day before “The Ides of March” and the so called pendents as well as the vast majority of the New York Mets faithful are in full panic mode and have come to bury Caesar long before the body is cold.

Come on everybody 2009 was officially over on Oct 3rd or if you believe in the Julius Caesar calendar how about 11:59PM and 59 seconds on December 31st.

Just because two out the top five players will not be in the starting lineup on opening day and the so called starting rotation has looked a trifle bit shaky three weeks into spring training, it doesn’t mean we should holding our Hari Kari swords about 18 inches from the point of entry.

It’s true that I have been a Mets fan since opening day 1962 and believe me there were years that the season was over before the first pitcher threw a their first fastball in February.

It wasn’t until the spring of 1968 did any Met fan on the planet see this team with the possibility of showing some real competition between the lines. Seaver and Koosman were young arms with a world of potential and the manager was a patient man who was going to observe his team very carefully for the entire season and make the adjustments to turn them into a perennial winner and contender for years to come. Read the rest of this entry →

2010 Baseball Previews: AL Central– Has the Tiger’s Hot Stove Hurt or Helped? 2

Posted on March 10, 2010 by Don Spieles

Last season the closest race in the Major Leagues was the American League Central.  Aside from in April when Kansas City (no, that is not a mistake) led the division, the Tigers held the reins up until the very end. They blew a three game lead in the last four days of the season and ended up in a one game playoff with the Twins.  Detroit lost that game in Minnesota in extra innings on a walk-off single by Alexi Casilla.

They just don’t get any closer than that.

1.  Chicago White Sox

The Chi-Sox have put together (almost under the radar) a very interesting pitching rotation.

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Mark Buehrle pitches against the New York Yankees

Mark Buehrle, who threw a perfect game in '09, will lead a very interesting White Sox rotation in 2010.

  1. Mark Buehrle (LHP)
  2. Jake Peavy (RHP)
  3. John Danks (LHP)
  4. Gavin Floyd (RHP)
  5. Freddy Garcia (RHP)

While most fantasy players are still thinking harder about the Yankees and Red Sox rotations, this one-through-five is nothing to scoff at.  White Sox GM Ken Williams agrees, has this to say to MLB.com:

“[The White Sox] are as good as you can possibly be, one through five.  Actually, one through six.”

While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, a season of health for the five men listed above could mean great things for the South Siders.

At least on defense.

On the run-scoring side of the coin, things are not as obviously sparkling.  There’s Carlos Quentin, the injury prone left fielder who has yet to play a full season in Chi-town.  Last year, plantar fasciitis limited him to jut 99 games.  The good news might be that in those games he managed 21 home runs (34 prorated to a full season).  Not out of this world, but not bad.  His batting average needs to come up (.236 in ’09) to make the fans happy.

Of bigger concern is Alex Rios, acquired from Toronto mid-season ’09.  Traded from the Blue Jay’s  because of a large salary (remainder of a seven year, $68 million dollars) and lackluster performance (.264 average, 14 home runs, .427 slugging). When he landed in Chicago things got worse.  In 41 games he batted .199, hit only 3 home runs, struck out 29 times to only 6 walks over 154 plate appearances.  There is reasonable probability that he’ll experience some resurgence on 2010 (he just turned 29).  The White Sox, on the hook for at least 59.7 million through 2015, certainly hope so.

Chicago picked up Juan Pierre who was a huge asset to the Dodgers last season when Manny Ramirez was suspended.  It’s entirely possible that Pierre will start in left and Quentin will begin the season as the regular DH.  There question mark there deals with the idea that Ozzie Guillen wants to use the DH as a rotating spot for keeping people fresh, a change in philosophy after years with standard DH’s like Jim Thome and Frank Thomas.

The White Sox are certainly not styled to be a juggernaut, but if the Twins DL contains the name we’ve been hearing that it may, the Chi-Sox are in like Flynn. Read the rest of this entry →

2010 Baseball Previews: AL East – Can The Yankees Be Stopped? 0

Posted on March 02, 2010 by Don Spieles

To begin the 2010 Major League Baseball previews on Sports Then and Now let’s look at the American League East. The most dominant league in baseball over the last decade, the AL east has put a team in last three World Series and seven out of the last ten. It doesn’t get anymore impressive than that.

Who Will Win the AL East in 2010?

  • New York Yankees (40%, 12 Votes)
  • Tampa Bay Rays (23%, 7 Votes)
  • Boston Red Sox (20%, 6 Votes)
  • Baltimore Orioles (17%, 5 Votes)
  • Toronto Blue Jays (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 30

Loading ... Loading ...

1. New York Yankees

Will Andy Pettitte give the Yankees his usual dependable starts in 2010?

Will Andy Pettitte give the Yankees his usual dependable starts in 2010?

While most talking heads no longer rank the Yankees pitching staff as the best of the division, they are still pretty darn impressive, at least at the top of the rotation. CC Sabathia promises to have an even better year than last now that he’s had a full year to get used to his new surroundings. Being that last year was not too shabby (19-8 records, 3.37 ERA, 4th in AL Cy Young votes), Sabathia looks to be a real terror on the mound for New York.  Even though A.J. Burnett was a bit shakier than Sabathia, he still managed to win 13 games. He, too, will see improvement this season.

With the top two in excellent shape, a big question mark hangs over Andy Pettitte. While this is a guy who has been the meter stick of consistency (Pettitte has won between 14 and 18 games in 9 of his fifteen seasons, which leaves out a 19 win and two 21 win seasons) he will turn 38 during this upcoming season. The Yankees gave him a one year deal because they have come concerns about his durability (read: no more “healing” aides).

The real mysteries are the four and five spots in the Yankee rotation. Javier Vasquez is a big deal gain for New York as he offers a very, very solid middle of the rotation guy. The club seems intent on leaving Chamberlain as a starter despite overwhelming evidence that he should be a reliever, but now that Vasquez is in town, perhaps logic will prevail and put Phil Hughes in that fifth spot. If that’s done, the Yankees will win 100 games again this year. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Follow Us Online

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Tony Oliva: Hall of Fame Worthy
      April 21, 2019 | 5:18 pm
      Tony Oliva

      Cuba is known for producing great baseball talent and there has arguably been no one from the island better than the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Read more »

    • RSSArchive for Vintage Athlete of the Month »
  • Sign up for Email Updates

    Sign-up to get daily updates of all the great articles and information on Sports Then and Now.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Check out the best free bets at freebets4all. Learn how to convert online bookmakers free bets into guaranteed cash using the matched betting technique.

  • Affordable Satellite TV Great prices on Dish network packages.

  • Gear up for your next trip with new North Face Backpacks from SportsUnlimited.com. Shop great Field Hockey Sticks from Grays & Gryphon.

    Football Jerseys

    8mm film to digital
  • Current Poll

    Which NBA Team Will Win More Games in 2019-2020?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Post Categories



↑ Top