Tigers should contend for playoffs this year
To try and figure out what exactly is going to happen in the American League is an exercise in insanity. Since 2004, only one team — the Boston Red Sox — has made more than one World Series appearance. While the traditional favorites will certainly contend for a title, others will not.
Boston Red Sox
— Easily the favorites to make it deep into October, the Red Sox added two all stars to an already stacked lineup. After signing Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, the depth on their roster makes them a tough team to bet against. The only thing that can hold them back is a questionable pitching staff.
New York Yankees
— Their offense cannot be denied, but when Freddy Garcia is the fifth starter, the pinstripes have to be worried. After missing out on free agent pitcher Cliff Lee, the Yankees will be looking for a top pitcher via trade. Questions about Derek Jeter and his ability to rebound from his worst season and Alex Rodriguez and his ability to play a full season surround the everyday lineup.
Chicago White Sox —Adding Adam Dunn improves a deadly offense that plays in a hitter-friendly park. The Sox pitching staff has shown the signs of being great, but needs its defense to help out. The Sox lost their closer, Bobby Jenks, so Matt Thornton steps into that role.
— The big question surrounding the reigning Central Division champs is: Can former MVP Justin Morneau overcome his post-concussion symptoms? If Morneau is on the field, the Twins are the favorites to win their division. If not, the pitching staff led by Cy Young candidate Fransisco Liriano will need to be stellar to support an average offense.
— If the lineup stays healthy, they should contend for a playoff spot. Miguel Cabrera seems to have already worked past his off-field issues, and leads a potentially potent offense. Starting pitching will once again be the telling issue. Ace pitcher Justin Verlander leads a starting rotation, while Phil Coke and Brad Penny will be counted on to stabilize the back end of the rotation, which has been a mess in years past.
— The defending American League champions lost a couple key players in pitcher Cliff Lee and outfielder Vladimir Guerrero. However, they still have a talented young pitching staff and plenty of pop in their bats. Reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton leads a group on offense that gives even the elite pitchers nightmares.
Los Angeles Angels
— On paper, the Angels look like a playoff contender every year. Last year, a host of injuries and a struggling pitching staff ended their streak of playoff berths. Vernon Wells joins the lineup and first baseman Kendrys Morales returns from a broken leg that cost him most of last season. The pitching staff is tough at the top, but loses its steam toward the back end.
If things really go their way, Oakland, or Tampa Bay may compete for a playoff spot. But fans of Kansas City, Seattle, Baltimore, Cleveland or Toronto shouldn’t plan for much excitement this season.