2009 National League Central Preview

Time to preview the NL Central for the upcoming season:

Predicted Standings
1. Chicago Cubs
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. St. Louis Cardinals
4. Cincinnati Reds
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

Best Player: Ryan Braun
Best Pitcher: Chris Carpenter

Cubs

The Cubs are the clear favorite in the NL Central as they return a powerful lineup and an experienced, dominant pitching staff. Led by Alfonso Soriano and Derek Lee, the Cubs lineup has the potential to put up a crooked number any inning. In the rotation, Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden lead a staff that is front-loaded, with the 4 and 5 pitccubs-09-previewhers (Ryan Dempster and Sean Marshall) a cause for concern. However, a strong bullpen with Kevin Gregg and Carlos Marmol should keep the Cubs in any ballgame. Overall, the team has a tremendous amount of talent and will likely be a contender for the NL pennant.

Brewers

The Brewers lost C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets from their starting staff and that will seriously hurt their playoff chances, but their lineup is still stacked, giving them the ability to overcome mediocre pitching. With Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, runs will not be hard to come by, especially considering J.J. Hardy and Richie Weeks bat in front of those two sluggers. Jeff Suppan is the number one starter for Milwaukee and that is a sign for concern in itself as Suppan is not quite an ace. Follow him up with Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Braden Looper, and Dave Busch, and the rotation is shaky at best. Recently-acquired Trevor Hoffman leads the bullpen, but even if he is terrific, Milwaukee is still going to need a lot of run-production to stay in the NL Central race. Continue reading “2009 National League Central Preview”

Bye Bye Manny

The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline seemed to have passed at 4 pm yesterday without any blockbuster deals, but then all of a sudden, reports started coming in that Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez had been traded to the Dodgers in a six-player deal. So much for no blockbuster deals. While Manny goes to Los Angeles, the Dodgers shipped out prospects Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris and the Sox sent Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss to Pittsburgh. In return for all that, the Red Sox got left fielder Jason Bay from Pittsburgh. So that’s the trade, but what does it all mean?

It means the Dodgers just became the favorite in the NL West. It means the Red Sox finally unloaded Ramirez, though it took two prospects and $7 million dollars for any trade to work. It means the Pirates got four valuable prospects and shed salary at the same time. It means everyone wins, though some more than others. Let’s begin with the Sox, who just traded one of the best players in baseball. How can this deal possibly make them better? Continue reading “Bye Bye Manny”

MLB Trading Deadline

Photo: ESPN

The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline is just two days away and speculation about who is going to be traded to where has taken main stage across the sport. There have already been a couple of minor trades as well as two big ones (C.C. Sabathia and Rich Harden). Harden and Sabathia have already paid huge dividends for the Cubs and Brewers respectively. Though winless in the NL, Harden has struck out 30 batters in 17 1/3 innings, possessing a 1.04ERA. Sabathia is 4-0 with three complete games and a 1.82 ERA. Those were two of the biggest names on the market and the fact that they have already been traded may mean that this year’s Trading Deadline may be uneventful, but anything could happen. Here is a look at a couple of interesting players:

Mark Teixeira: Look who is back on the market. The hottest free agent right now, Teixeira finds himself in an identical situation as last year when he was traded from the Texas Rangers to the Atlanta Braves. This time the Braves are shopping him around. The Diamondbacks seem to be the strongest pursuer of Teixeira, but there are plenty of other offers. The Braves are looking for a big-league bat and a strong pitching prospect for their star first baseman, whose stats speak for themselves (.280 avg, 20 hr, 78 rbi). Arizona is also joined by the Angels, Red Sox, and Rays in pursuit of Teixeira. I think the Braves will move Teixeira and that the offer by the D’backs will trump all other offers Atlanta will receive. Continue reading “MLB Trading Deadline”