I Like To Argue

A place to vent about everything that is wrong with the world and to talk about baseball. Feel free to disagree, because I like to argue.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Baseball Preview - Cleveland Indians

Status: The Indians should have been better in 2006. They scored more runs than anybody else in the division and allowed less runs than the White Sox. The Indians won’t panic and their luck will turn around in 2007.

Free Agents: The Indians won’t lose any important players in free agency this year. Look for the Indians to go after a bat at first base and left field. Cleveland won’t be able to sign the marquee left fielders, Soriano and Lee, but they will try. Look for the Indians to bring in one of the most under-rated free agents to play first base, Craig Wilson. He has good power (29HR in 2005) and good plate discipline (.354 career OBP, 3.78 pitches per plate appearance).

The Indians will let Andy Marte develop at third, but they might bring a veteran backup in for insurance. Jeff Cirillo is a quality backup who could step in if they need him to start. He can also play SS and 2B, so the Indians have the option of reorganizing their infield.

Trades: The Indians need a closer. They can’t afford to blow saves in the competitive AL Central. Jhonny Peralta struggled last year, but not enough that he isn’t appealing to an awful lot of teams. Look for the Indians to send Peralta to Houston for Brad Lidge and Adam Everett. Lidge will win the closer’s job easily and regain confidence in his fastball once he doesn’t have to face Pujols 20 times a year. Everett will take over for Peralta at SS.

Lineup:

CF Sizemore
1B Wilson
DH Hafner
C Martinez
RF Blake
LF Michaels
2B Cirillo/Luna
3B Marte
SS Everett

Rotation:

Lee
Sabathia
Westbrook
Sowers
Byrd

CL Lidge

Baseball Preview - Chicago White Sox

Status: The defending champs missed the playoffs this year despite having a stronger offense due to a fall-off in production from their rotation. They will have to make some changes if they expect to compete in a division with 3 other excellent teams.

Free Agents: The Sox will pick up their team options on Buehrle and Dye. That’s a no-brainer. Buehrle had a disappointing season last year, but he’s worth more than $9.5mil. The White Sox will not resign LF Scott Podsednik because his 3HR, .330 OBP, and 40 SB in 59 attempts are simply not very good for a leadoff hitter.

The White Sox need a corner outfielder to replace Podsednik. They also need a leadoff hitter. There is this guy who plays left field and hits leadoff who hit 46 HR with a .277/.351/.530 batting line and stole 41 bases. You might not have heard of him, but his name is Alfonso Soriano. He’s going to hit leadoff for the White Sox next year.

The White Sox will make offers to Gary Matthews, but I expect them to platoon Brian Anderson and Rob Macowiak in CF this year. They haven’t given up on Anderson yet.

The White Sox will bring in a reliever to compete with Jenks for the closer’s job. It won’t be a big name, just somebody to light a fire under Jenks’ enormous ass. I expect them to go to Joe Borowski.

The Sox should be on the lookout for a shortstop as well. Juan Uribe has power, but he is a terrible hitter with no patience at the plate. His .257 OBP was good evidence of his struggles at the plate. Plus, he killed a guy last week, so he might not be available for spring training. The White Sox will probably give the SS job to Alex Cintron next year, but they will be looking for his replacement all year.

Trades: Despite their struggles on the mound last year, the White Sox will be actively trying to move a starting pitcher this off-season. They clearly have Brandon McCarthy penciled into the rotation next year, so they have to open up a spot for him. John Garland and Freddy Garcia are the two most likely candidates to be traded. The Astros will offer Brad Lidge for Garcia, the Mets will offer Milledge and Anderson Hernandez if they can’t land D-Train. But the Cubs will send top OF prospect Felix Pie and INF Mike Fontenot across town for Garcia. This re-unites Garcia with Lou Pinella and gives the Sox their CF and SS of the future.

Lineup:

LF Soriano
2B Iguchi
DH Thome
1B Konerko
RF Dye
C Pierzynski
3B Crede
SS Cintron
CF Macowiak/Anderson

(That’s 5 guys out of 9 who could hit 40+ HR! Wow!)

Rotation:

Buehrle
Contreras
Vazquez
Garland
McCarthy

CL Jenks

Catharsis

I love to debate almost any topic. I can't explain why, but there is something cathartic about having to defend my position on topics that I barely think about. I have chosen this forum because my wife hates it when I try to goad her into a contentious intellectual debate. Please feel free to disagree with me, just expect me to have something to say in response.