Welcome to the 9th of 30 "2008 Team Previews
", where I'm - you guessed it! - offering up a little preview of the 2008 season for each of the teams. Nothing super fancy, (I'm not writing books here munecas), just a few notes on what major moves the teams made over the winter and a thought or two on their upcoming season. I'm going in reverse order of 2007 standings, so next up is....
2007 Record: .451 (73-89), 4th place in NL Central
2006 Record: .506 (82-86), 2nd place in NL Central
Who’s Out: Josh Anderson (OF), Chris Burke (INF), Juan Gutierrez (P), Chad Qualls (P), Craig Biggio (2B), Adam Everett (SS), Brad Lidge (P)
Who’s In: Omar Villarreal (P), Geoff Blum (INF), Doug Brocail (P), Kaz Matsui (2B), Ryan Houston (P), Jose Valverde (P), Jack Cassel (P), Chad Paranto (P), Oscar Villarreal (P), Geoff Geary (P), Shawn Chacon (P), Darin Erstad (OF), Miguel Tejada (SS), Jose Valverde (P), Doug Brocail (P)
Notes: Wow, look at all those pitchers they added! Surely that must mean that their pitching will be greatly improved in 2008!Nope.
This poor team has no starting pitching. They have Roy "Gimme a Tractor!" Oswalt, but that is pretty much it. Brandon Backe hasn't pitched a full season in 3 years, Woody Williams is old, Wandy Rodriguez is average at best, and Chris Sampson has limited experience in the majors. The bullpen is slightly better - Brocail is decent and new closer Jose Valverde had a great year with the D-Backs in 2007, but even he is unpredictable as he has had off years as well. They are going to be relying on offense for all of their wins, and I don't care how stellar of a year Kaz had with the Rockies last year, it's going to take more than some stolen bases by Kaz, a bit of power from Tejada, and the occasional homer from Geoff Blum to make up for that pitching. The only thing working in their favor is the division they play in. Unlike the AL East or the NL West where the same teams win every year, the NL Central doesn't have a team or two that has dominated for the past several years. If their offense DOES heat up and stay hot, and Pujols gets injured, and Piniella's players revolt against him, this team has a definite shot at the division title.
Labels: 2008 team previews