Saturday, December 10, 2005

Crystal Ball

The White Sox 2006 roster should be capable of defending the division title, although the division will be tougher than its was. The long term prognosis is really ugly, I think. Because of idiotic teams like the Mets and Blue Jays raising the going rate for pitching mediocrity to almost ten million dollars and, by inference, skyrocketing the price of quality pitching, the White Sox' rotation will simply be too expensive to keep together beyond 2006-7.
Kenny's core strategy, assembling dominant starting pitchers at relative bargain prices, is not sustainable.

Black Betsy will want to point out that trading pitching prospects by the basket doesn't help this situation, and he's partially right; the problem (and you can ask any Texas Ranger fan to confirm this) is that from 10 Gios and Haigwoods, you have an even chance of getting one Freddy Garcia, and you need a handful to play the 2005 White Sox' game.

As for the rest of the division, the Indians' offseason depends on Millwood, I think, as they've struck out badly in everything since the Byrd signing. I don't see that they've gotten either better or worse. In any case, the Indians are basically as good as the White Sox, although if they'd just fix their corner positions they'd dominate. The problem is, as smart as Shapiro is, he has a blind spot, and doesn't get that Aaron Boone is a terrible ballplayer.

When I first saw that the Twins got Castillo, I shuddered. Castillo is a massive upgrade over everybody the Twinks have played at second for years, probably since Knoblauch. They are working on their third base hole, and probably plan to replace Jones with the gimpy guy (Kubel?), and allegedly are looking for one of the old broken down guys (Thomas, Piazza) to replace Matt LeCroy at DH. (How did HE get through waivers?) There is, though, a case for believing that Castillo will decline sharply in Minnesota, that being that he's basically an infield singles hitter, and that the FieldTurf may turn a lot of his slow rollers into outs. I'm not holding my breath.

The Tigers continue their steady march toward mediocrity, and have reached the point they can be a real pain in the neck to the contending teams, but not the point they can contend. Polanco and Shelton and Bonderman are good players, but the team is weighed down by several ridiculous has-beens with gigantic contracts. They continued to add to their collection of misfit toys with Kenny "Assault and Battery" Rogers.

I revel in the Royals' badness, their continuing penance (in my book) for their decade dominating the old A.L. West partly through the cheap trick of an unplayable ballfield that confused and disoriented visiting teams and gave them dozens of cheap victories over visitors that would have crushed them on grass. (Don't believe me? Check out the Royal record in the first games of home series from 1975-1990..)

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