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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 →

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      After years of struggling to find a consistent quarterback, the Chicago Bears now hope third-year player Mitchell Trubisky will be their quarterback for years to come. As the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month we are recognizing the best quarterback in Chicago Bears history.

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