2004 AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREVIEW

AL CENTRAL
(Listed in Order of 2003 Finish)

EA: Ed Agner

BB: Bill Barnwell

PR: Phil Rippa


Twins
MINNESOTA TWINS
2003 Record – 89-70 (Lost in ADLS)

Key Additions: Jose Offerman, Rick Helling, Henry Blanco, Joe Nathan, Carlos Silva, Nick Punto

Key Losses: Eddie Guardado, LaTroy Hawkins, Kenny Rogers, Rick Reed, A.J. Pierzynski, Eric Milton, James Baldwin, Denny Hocking, Jesse Orosco, Chris Gomez, Dustan Mohr

PR: The AL Central is the worst division in baseball. Only here, in this bizarro world, could the Twins still be the favorite to take the pennant. I mean they lost their bullpen, three serviceable pitchers, still play in the most horrific park in the majors and their manager still fears the concept of math. Seriously, Rick Reed, Eric Milton and Kenny Rogers all have their own issues but Rick Helling is going to replace any of them??? Johan Santana can only carry a rotation so far.

ED: You DO know that Kenny Rogers, the pitcher went to Texas, right? Or did the Twins sign the old singer? Actually, I’d take the singer over the pitcher at this point.

BB: I’m just shocked only one of them ended up on the Pirates; remember the Pirates slogan: “If you were an All-Star once…”

ED: I would also like to waste a line a declare how much I despise my feeble reading comprehension skills in my reply to Phil. I am old. Give me a break.

PR: I still don’t think you got it right…. “a line a declare”????

BB: You guys can stand in for Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in Grumpiest Old Men: THE FREAKING INTERNET?!?

ED: I hate you all. Nearly as much as I hate my fingers. I got dibs on the Matthau role.

BB: I think the real beautiful thing is the Twins utter inability to recognize what they have and what they need; it’s not like I’m the first person to say this…it just still confuses me. “We have a dozen outfielders, a deep pen, and no middle infield to speak of; let’s deal an outfielder for…an older outfielder! And then let’s sign him to a 3 year deal, block our prospects coming up, not sign our two best relievers, and then let’s just stash those outfielders in AAA.” I KNOW! Billy Beane’s gonna deal Mark Redman to the Twins in June for Mike Cuddyer. Ah, let the World Series ring shine deep into the eyes of Terry Ryan, Mark. Actually – after getting a good view of Matthew LeCroy in spring training – he’s really destined to be an Athletic sometime soon.

PR: That infield really is a piece of work. I like Corey Koskie a lot and he has a fine, fine Norwegian surname, but his range factor and ability to get on base isn’t going to cover the fact that up the middle the Twins aren’t that good.

ED: I can’t jump on the Corey bandwagon only because Koskie sounds like some Swedish furniture brand that doubles as S&M devices or something. Ya, yump on da Koskie.

PR: Luis Rivas and Christian Guzman each had a sub .700 OPS last year. What the heck happened to Guzman? 2001 must feel like a million years ago for him.

ED: C’mon, Joe Morgan said Guzman was a PRIME TIME PLAYA in the playoffs last year. Joe Morgan said this! When has he EVER been wrong?

BB: Geez Rippa – of all the teams to play the statistical analysis card on, the Twins? The way to analyze the Twins is to determine how many shiny things each of the players have. Brad Radke has a nice house in Minnesota? That’s a #1 starter. Cristian Guzman hits a bunch of triples? #2 hitter! Your last name have a lot of letters? #1 catcher! First baseman! Luis Rivas…um….Cristian Guzman really likes him a lot? Run sink! When your OPS looks like it’s been advertising for Pat Buchanan, you really need to get replaced. At least he’s been cheap so far.

PR: When ESPN2 does that “Team Slogans for all MLB teams”, Mauer or bust has to be the one for the Twins. Joe Mauer will be the starting catcher this season because supposed hometown wunderkinds do not lose out in spring training to Henry Blanco. Man, A.J. Pierzynski hit a lot of singles in his career.

BB: And he’s got a lot more singles to go. And a lot more money to make. Me, personally, I wish Jeff Kent was still on the Giants, so Pierzynski and him could have arguments over who’s more wound-up. The answer, of course, is Mike Matheny, but only because the answer to everything is Mike Matheny.

ED: C’mon, even if Mauer has the expected problems of a guy rushed to the majors too soon, he’ll still be better than pretty much any catcher in the Central. Unless Tony Pena puts the equipment back on.

BB: BENITO!!! VETERAN PRESENCE!

PR: That offseason plan that the Twins had to keep both Guardado and Hawkins really worked well. Joe Nathan got that weird contract that pays him more if he is the closer so I could see good old Minnesota somehow not making him the closer but he is the closer. Sure he struck out a big batch of folks last year…. but that is the first time he hadn’t walked as many as he whiffed.

ED: BIG MARKET CONSPIRACY!!! Joe Nathan is really gonna miss big ol’ Pac Bell. Yes he will.

PR: MLB officials better pray that Winter Ball doesn’t become the baseball version of the NFL Scouting Combine “Workout Wonders”. Jose Offerman sure has the smell of “over the hill”. 35 and out of baseball for a year. Who does he think he is – THE RICKEY~!?

BB: I would say that we should give an award every year to the most entertaining player in baseball and call it THE RICKEY!, but I’d want to give it to Rickey Henderson every year.

ED: Ooo. THE RICKEY~! I’m taking Carl Everett as the front-runner for the award this year if RICKEY~! can’t find a team.

ED: I am thinking Jos-E taking a few AB’s away from Doug Misspelling wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, really. But can you ever replace Mr. Misspelling’s SCRAP?! I think not.

BB: At least they traded Pierzynski away; now Mient…Nise Hrbek can stand alone in the consonant-a-go-go section of the Twins clubhouse. He can even show up in crossword puzzles. “Honey, what’s a 12 letter word for ‘Poor man’s John Olerud’? What? Oh – you’re right – they really just should’ve said ‘Midwestern John Olerud’.”

ED: Personally, I think Midwestern/Poor Man’s Joe Olerud is being kind. I just lump Doug Misspelling in as a David McCarty who actually got a shot at regular playing time. But I don’t think McCarty has Doug MiConstanant’s SCRAP~! And you can NEVER overvalue SCRAP~!

PR: These quotes are the reason that we love baseball and laugh at others misfortune. In talking about 33 year-old Kevin Tolar, Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire had this to say “Filthy stuff. “He looks like he can get a few people out. … I don’t know why he hasn’t in the past.” That’s what you want from a pitcher – the ability to look like they can get an out or two. Hey Ron, I look like I could dunk a basketball but I really can’t.

ED: Imagine what Gardenhire must think of Shannon Stewart. He LOOKS like he could become the next RICKEY~! but he, you know, has legs made of fine crystal.

BB: Ron Gardenhire looks like Jimmy Valiant but that’s neither here nor there.

ED: As funny as the Twins are, I can’t see anyone jumping by them in the Central this year. Somehow the Blue Jays must move to the Central ASAP.

BB: I dunno whether J.P.’s smooth pimping protocol would work in the Midwest. I think he dreams at night about being in a division with Terry Ryan and Kenny Williams, though.

ED: Oh yeah. That’s like dreaming of being in a pay fantasy league with me. Oh. Right.


CWS
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
2003 Record – 83-76

Key Additions: Cliff Politte, Mike Jackson, Shingo Takatsu, Juan Uribe, Vic Darensbourg

Key Losses: Bartolo Colon, Roberto Alomar, Tom Gordon, Scott Sullivan, Carl Everett, Tony Graffanino, Brian Daubach

PR: Kenny Williams, uber-genius, had quite the interesting offseason. Lost team’s “ace” (Bartolo Colon) without much of a fight, re-signed some folks who can produce (Frank Thomas, Esteban Loaiza), resigned some folks who had no business making the team again (what sort of blackmail does Sandy Alomar Jr. have on that front office), and took a ton of fliers on guys – Mike Jackson was somehow out of baseball last year, coaching a Little League to an undefeated season. And yet Ozzie Guillen is the new manager. And Marvin Benard?!?!?!?! Too bad Robert Person already crippled himself again and got waived. There was some fine material waiting to be written there.

BB: I think the best BALCO story so far is Marvin Benard being on the juice. I mean – Marvin Benard? The guy’s career slugging percentage is .402. Then again – he’s gotten paid $12.25 million over the last four years – maybe I should move to San Francisco.

ED: Kenny Williams, Ozzie Guillen, Sandy Alomar Jr. I cannot express enough how glad I am that you got stuck with the AL Central.

BB: I know scrap can go a long way but…this can’t end well. Oh – do the White Sox still have Mike Caruso? I bet Ozzie would love Mike Caruso.

PR: I really like the Mike Jackson signing and am bitter that the Yankees never picked him up last year. Yeah, that silly sub 1.00 ERA season was a few years ago but Mike Jackson > Felix Heredia.

ED: Sadly, I can see Jackson not only being better than Heredia (minus the lefty super-powers of course) but also Koch and anything else in the ChiSox pen aside from Marte.

BB: Mike Jackson also has PROVENNESS~!!!! And he was the best setup man in Hardball 3 so that’s another kind of provenness altogether.

PR: Gotta love getting a player a season too late. That Cliff Politte fella sure threw the ball well in 2002. Pay no attention to that 2003 season behind the curtain; the one with the 5.66 ERA and 1.40 WHIP

ED: Politte DID look great in 2002. I have no idea what happened last year. But that 2002 season will keep teams sniffing at him for the next 5 years. And I can actually see him closing for at least 6 teams in both of the Central divisions right now.

BB: He looked good. The only problem is that the hitters looked better. He had a mediocre April, an awful June, and a bad September. In April, 8 of his 14 appearances were against the Red Sox or Yankees. In June, he had 3 disaster games against the Cardinals, Reds, and Expos (the latter two of which were blown saves). He went on the DL, and when he came back in August, he was effective in 9 of his 10 appearances. In September, he had a disaster game against the Devil Rays, a bad inning against the Tigers, and was perfect in his other 4 appearances. There – I just did Cliff Politte’s 2003 arbitration case for him. Now that those games against the Red Sox and Yankees are replaced with the Twins and Royals (well, maybe just at home…), I think Politte will bounce back this year. Not that Ozzie will care.

ED: OK. So Politte didn’t suck as much as I thought last year. Interesting. But of course, not to Ozzie. I see Guillen riding Koch heavy until his arm falls off sometime around Father’s Day.

PR: I never knew Shingo Takatsu was how you said Veteran Proven Closer in Japanese.

ED: I thought that was Kaz Sasaki. Must be a different dialect of Japanese.

BB: Where I’m from they pronounce it Shigetoshi Hasegawa. Oh – wait – that’s Clutching at Straws. My bad. Didn’t we already make this joke?

PR: If they are reading it for the first time, IT’S NEW TO THEM!!! Oooff….

PR: The key to the White Sox season is if Guillen can get his club to understand that they really need to improve their performance within the division. They went 39-34 while the Twins and Royals went 42-31 and 46-27, respectively. If other clubs in your division understand the concept of beating the heck out of the Tigers, you better do something to be able to beat them too. (The Pale Sox lost a whopping 8 games to the Tigers last season – the most of any club).

ED: Ozzie Guillen, Ozzie Guillen. I see the ChiSox leading the league in bunts and stolen base attempts – and last in runs scored. I see the pen being spent by mid-June. And I see the Sox battling Cleveland for fourth. I also see Konerko continuing to give me nightmares for picking him early in last year’s fantasy draft.

BB: Ah Ed – how your memory fails you. You actually TRADED for Konerko in mid-draft. How do I remember this? I dealt you Konerko. I think I drafted Edgar Renteria with the pick or someone. Ah, baseball.

ED: See, that kinda Lamar-esque move would get me a two-year extension.

PR: I am more irritated that the White Sox waived Robert Person and Marvin Benard before we could write those jokes. That was a big batch of material ripped away.

ED: See, you should’ve focused in on the obvious Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen jokes. Players come and go with the Pale Hose. Bad management is forever.


KC
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
2003 Record – 83-76

Key Additions: Benito Santiago, Juan Gonzalez, Matt Stairs, Rich Thompson, Jamie Cerda, Kelly Stinnett, Tony Graffanino, Scott Sullivan, Garth Brooks…. oh, not really… nevermind

Key Losses: Raul Ibanez, Rondell White, Paul Abbott, Michael Tucker, Brent Mayne, Mike DiFelice, Al Levine, Jose Lima

PR: Wow, I mean Wow. Benito Santiago. Juan Gonzalez. Tony Graffanino. When did I travel back to 1996?

ED: Aww, ’96 was a good year for me. GLORY DAAAYS! GLORY DAAAYS! GLORY DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYAAYAAAYAAYS! YEAH!

BB: When you’re Benito Santiago, every year you’re still around is a good year.

ED: When you’re Benito Santiago you know you can stick around until you die because there are Allard Baird’s out there with a VETERAN CATCHER! fetish. Tim McCarver approves.

PR: Angel Berroa managed to not age 6 years since winning the Rookie of the Year so that has to be considered a positive. He, Mike Sweeney, Carlos Beltran and, you would assume, Juan Gonzalez and Matt Stairs will benefit from the friendliest of friendliest hitters park East of Denver. You figure they will need all the offense they can get since how can all the younguns pitch out of their gourds again.

ED: I see Matt Stairs having a better year than Ibanez and getting a monster contract from the Mariners next season. I see Juan Gonzalez…gasp…spending time on the DL. I see Mike Sweeney thumping a Bible from time to time…and spending time on the DL. I see Beltran competing with Nomah for most monstrous contract season…and spending time on the DL.

BB: I think the home runs will go down with the fences being moved back, but runs will stay about the same – especially if the Royals decide to put Matt Stairs or Juan Gonzalez in the outfield.

ED: Hehehehe. Oh I’m having flashbacks to my softball season now. Poor little groin muscles.

PR: Full credit at least has to go to KC for realizing that they weren’t going to squeeze eight wins out of Jose Lima again and not wasting a spot on the 40 man roster. They already re-signed Joe Randa to do that.

ED: LIMA TIME!!! Sadly, I could see Lima being the best Royals starter once Kevin Appier’s arm falls off. Funny enough, I could see the baseball gods hating me enough to have a bunch of Royals pitchers impersonate major league starters all the way up to the AS break so I’ll have to hear about how Benito Santiago is some sort of great handler of pitching staffs. After the AS break of course, the Royals will fade and Grandpa Benito will get no blame. Baseball hates us all.

PR: Well they are looking at Greg Swindell this year to fill the Jose Lima role. I didn’t even know Swindell’s arm was still attached to his body.

ED: God bless the few guys in the majors still older than me! You go, Swindell! You give ’em hell!

BB: Getting Jaime Cerda from the Mets for about nothing was a nice little pickup. I know – I know – he’s never been a Pittsburgh Pirate – but he’s still a decent lefty out of the pen. Then again, I am with Ed in the Randy Choate fan club – so what do I know.

PR: Hey! I have always freely admitted that my Randy Choate hate was irrational. He would be a stud in this bullpen. I mean this is a team whose idea of bolstering the bullpen is signing Jason Grimsley after a 5+ ERA season. They have done it TWICE now!

ED: Hey! Jason Grimsley was a member of the ’98 Yankees! Graeme Lloyd too! You doubt Allard Baird’s tactics of reuniting the ’98 Yankees?

PR: BAH! He let Jeff Nelson go to the Rangers. And he is letting Clay Bellinger be My Big Fat Greek Olympic Hero. He disgusts me.

PR: As a whole, the entire Royals pitching staff is goofy. Its either lots and lots of really young guys who could or could not be good. Like Jeremy Affeldt who has the 7.00 K/9 and a fun mixture of pitches, but has blister problems that constantly rob him of innings.

ED: To me Affeldt seems like he was always a part of all those A’s-Royals trades where Beane would be accused of ripping of ol’ Allard. I have no idea why I think he was traded 17 times for Sal Fasano and Little G, etc., but I do. He also seems like he’s been a prospect forever. He also seems like he’s got a short shelf-life as a big leaguer the way the Royals handle pitchers. But that’s just me.

PR: Or Mike MacDougal the rookie phenom closer who throws really hard but had a hard time, ya know, holding the lead (eight blown saves put him right near the top in the majors) and 6 Wild Pitches to go with 8 Hit Bats Man makes you wonder.

ED: I admit to buying into the MacDougal hype last fantasy season. Oof. After seeing a few Royals games last season, I realized he’s taken the Gregg Olson spot of reliever most obviously on the road to some quality time with Dr. Andrews. Uuuuugly.

PR: And this isn’t even touching on Kyle Snyder who is gone for the entire 2004 season due to torn cartilage. And if it’s not the young, it’s the old walking wounded like Brian Anderson or the aforementioned Greg Swindell. OH! and Kevin Appier.

ED: I know people who know people who know Brian Anderson. I will not weep when he is diced up in KC and looking to hang on in the majors as a LOOGY for LaRussa.

BB: Maybe Affeldt can steal some of Josh Beckett’s horse cream or whatever he uses for blisters. Maybe this is just me but I see the Royals running into plexiglass and winning 72 games this year. Let’s just hope Allard Baird gets Edwin Jackson for Carlos Beltran, for their sake.


Indians
CLEVELAND INDIANS
2003 Record – 67-92

Key Additions: Jose Jimenez, Scott Stewart, Lou Merloni, Ron Belliard, Adam Piatt, Bobby Howry

Key Losses: Ellis Burks, Danys Baez, Alex Herrera, Nick Bierbrodt, Jason Boyd, Jose Santiago, Mark Wohlers, Ricky Guiterrez

PR: Jose Jimenez as Indians closer is the punishment for jerking Danys Baez’s chain during the winter months. Well, that and the resigning of both Mark Wohlers (this was before he wigged and left the team) and Jason Bere. I guess they have to carry over the money from the “Whose are falls off first” pool to this season. I really love Bob Wickman and I wonder if he is healthy. I still don’t think we are going to see him in a Cleveland uniform this year though.

BB: I always thought Sam Militello would pan out better than Bob Wickman. Those are olden times, though.

ED: GACK! The name Sam Militello always brings back painful memories of the most hurtful pitching motion this side of Rob Dibble. My shoulder hurts just thinking of it.

ED: Well, if the Tribe have any brains they’d consider Riske for the closer role with all those VETERANS!!! being used here and there to provide patchwork duty. Of course, with such a young and iffy starting staff….Well, it’s not a solution as much as a salve, really.

BB: You know the Plain-Dealer (why would you name a newspaper the Plain-Dealer for, anyway?) hopes Riske gets the closer job and struggles, just for the headlines. RISKE BUSINESS!

ED: And now I know why everyone hates Ohio.

PR: Cleveland could have a passable outfield centered but Milton Bradley has to learn that staying out of jail is a good thing while Matt Lawton and Jody Gerut (who I just realized was the 2003 Sporting News Rookie of the Year which is about as humorous as when the Sporting News announces the best sports city each year) need to figure out how to play an entire season healthy. Adam Piatt is still there trying to get someone to remember that he was a prospect once.

BB: Gerut’s already hurt his rotator cuff, which should sap his power nicely, turning him into Shane Spencer with a blog.

PR: But Shane Spencer has the ring and the RAP SHEET! NEW YORK! WORD LIFE! or something…

ED: Gerut was fine last year. Of course, he’s in his late twenties and has a knee made of sand. Being fragile or stupid or both is kind of a OF necessity in Cleveland, I guess. Remember when everyone thought the Tribe had hosed the Mets in getting Escobar for Robbie Alomar? Yeah, it’s like the Indians OFers are the ones who are now trolling around Florida in fishing boats.

PR: The infield is another story. I got burnt on both Brandon Phillips and Travis Hafner as fantasy sleepers last year so, yes, I have fantasy bitterness. And despite the Indians best efforts, Omar Vizquel is still manning shortstop. Vizquel is great though. Just ask him. In my dream world, Mark Shapiro weeps just a little bit over the $6 million that Omar is going to be stealing from this year.

BB: See, in my dream world, Vizquel ends up a Yankee by the end of the season.

ED: Omar could EASILY be the worst SS in any Central division and STILL someone will speak his name as if he was Ozzie Smith. I wept when the trade to Seattle was blocked, being as how he and Mariner fans are made for each other. But as long as I NEVER have to see Omar Y Amigos EVER again, I will stop with my Vizquel bashing…FOR NOW! The rest of the IF is…not…very…pretty. I have an inexplicable Ronnie Belliard fetish that I cannot explain. But I realize that the Tribe has no business messing with him if that means not giving Phillips one more chance. And that first base mess just reminds me again that Seguignol was the best first baseman in Ohio last year – and as a reward has to ply his trade in Japan. God, Ohio hates me. It really-really-really hates me.

BB: I hope Omar ends up in St. Louis, somehow. The Cardinals fans deserve him even more than the Indians fans do.

PR: Basically the Indians rotation is C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Jake Westbrook and who knows who else. Oh yeah, Jason Davis too. Mind you, I wouldn’t be able to pick any of these guys out of a lineup except Sabathia, who mlb.com lists at tipping the scales at 290 lbs. For frame of reference, David Wells is listed at 235 lbs.

ED: Lee and Davis are to be the future of the Tribe, supposedly. They looked serviceable enough last year and, if handled properly, could turn out to be nice little arms. Westbrook is like the oldest eternal kinda-sorta-prospect in baseball – though I can’t figure out why some people still go gaga over him considering all the chances he’s muffed so far in his career. Sabathia…well…I hope he hasn’t ate all of his money yet.


Tigers
DETROIT TIGERS
2003 Record – 41-118

Key Additions: Ivan Rodriguez, Carlos Guillen, Rondell White, Fernando Vina, Jason Johnson, Esteban Yan, Al Levine, Mike DiFelice, Bobby Estallella, Greg Norton, Urgeth Urbina

Key Losses: Shane Halter, Dean Palmer, Gene Kingsale, Ramon Santiago

PR: This is another one of those times where we probably should have titled “Key Losses” “Guys Who Finally Are Not On The Team”. I doubt you would find a single person in the Detroit Metro area upset that Dean Palmer finally took the hint and retired… okay Palmer’s wife.

ED: I…have…nothing more to say to that, other than Happy Trails to Mr. Palmer. That footage of his bicep completely exploding on him was perhaps 0.75 Theisman on the brutal looking injury scale.

BB: Say it with me – there’s no steroid problem in baseball. Ok – say it with everyone else.

ED: What was that? Sorry, I was popping Sammy Sosa’s backne.

PR: The Tigers had a Baltimore Orioles circa 2000 offseason what with their willingness to give guys of questionable health and/or talent lots and lots of money. At least, they thought to add the cripple clause into Pudge’s contract. “Hey, let’s outbid ourselves for the services of Fernando Vina! We are winning our fanbase back!”

BB: You really have to be hurting for offers at this point if you’re going to the Tigers. I mean – Jason Johnson couldn’t get $2 million from the Orioles? From the Cardinals? Carlos Guillen is probably even more bitter at baseball than we are.

PR: Only thing lower on the ladder is the offers from the Pirates. How does Raul Mondesi look at himself in the morning?

ED: Operation Shutdown. Operation Shutdown.

ED: I went to a few Tiger games in the mid-90’s when they had Big Cec and the cooling breezes of Travis Fryman hacking at everything. Those teams were bad and ugly but at least you were in beautiful Tiger Stadium – if you didn’t get shot trying to get to the park. I can see no reason to ever go to Comerica. I can see even less of a reason to go to Comerica to see Pudge sit on the bench with another back injury.

BB: I never understood the Pudge-will-spur-ticket-sales routine. Okay – so instead of selling 8,000 tickets a game, you’re going to sell 9,000? You’re still about $30 million behind. At least Juan Gonzalez didn’t sign the 8-year $3.2 billion deal he got offered.

ED: Pudge will draw no one. I have this crazy theory: Unless it’s GLAAD night with the Mets in town, CATCHERS DO NOT PUT BUTTS IN SEATS. Jeez.

PR: If you are going to raid team’s rosters, I think you have better choices than the Royals and Rockies. Greg Norton? Al Levine?

ED: I really think it’s best that Midwestern teams going nowhere should follow the Mets lead and pick up ex-Yankees for name value. They could trot Clay Bellinger out to show off his rings. Or give Chuck Knoblauch one more shot at second so people sitting down the first base line can be guaranteed of getting a baseball. Maybe they can find Ruben Rivera so he can give tips on how to steal Derek Jeter’s glove. Hey, you gotta put butts in seats somehow after the Red Wings season is over.

BB: For a second I was trying to figure out why Rochester Red Wings fans would start going to Tigers games.

ED: Hey now! Since the Rochester Red Wings dropped the Orioles at their big league affiliate they have no attendance problems. Oh yeah. Getting the O’s jokes in feels so right.

PR: Honestly, I don’t think many folks believe the Tigers will lose 118 games again but you never know. I mean you always hear the nonsense about how major league teams will always win 54 games, lose 54 games and it’s what you do in those other 54 games that matter. The Tigers sure went all sorts of wonky on that theory last year.

ED: Well, the Tigers DID take their beatings last year with a semblance of dignity. I can respect that. I can see them ONLY losing 100 this year as luck HAS to be on their side a bit after last year. I have an under/over of Mother’s Day on the day Pudge publicly complains about the Tigers sucking. Otherwise, I have nothing to add. I suppose I could just give music recommendations or something. Or Mike Crudale.

BB: I hope that Eddie Vedder tries out for the Red Sox one day. I think Peter Gammons might combust.

ED: HEYYYYY!!! I got it on good word from someone who’s seen Eddie Vedder up close – the man is like 4 feet tall. I’m thinking a saber-friendly GM would snap up him up in an Eddie Gaedel-like pinch-hitting role. Mmmm, walks!

PR: I weep for Dave Hogg.

PR: Looking at the 40 man, Matt Anderson is still listed. I am sure he is thrilled about that. Went from saving 22 games to not being able to stick with the big league club last year. (For a variety of only in Detroit type reasons). And yet there he is back in Florida, pitching his heart out and his arm off. Not very well mind you… but still trying.

BB: Maybe Pudge will help Matt Anderson to…I don’t know…become Danny Kolb or something. If he could just become PROVEN…

ED: Mmm, drafting college relievers. Crunchy.

BB: Or they could just go sign Urgeth Urbina. You can figure out what we’re going to say about him.

ED: I like Dave Dombrowski a lot. But I can’t figure out the Urbina signing. I assume Illitch got confused, saw all of Ugie’s SAVES~! and thought he’d be great. Unfortunately, he sent the memo to the Tigers and not the Red Wings.

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