Bastian’s 2012 preseason picks
That’s why they traded four prospects — two perceived future cornerstones — for Ubaldo Jimenez. It’s why they just locked up shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera through the 2014 season.
Cleveland really thinks it can make a push to the playoffs this year, and they don’t care what the media thinks or you think. No one else seems to be buying it, but that’s fine by them. All they care about is the expectations that exist inside their clubhouse.
“There’s no more rebuilding,” Opening Day starter Justin Masterson said. “I think rebuilding was bringing the guys in from the trades that we had done. I think last year we showed — even though some of the mind-set from media types was that we were still working to get it together — I think last year we did what we wanted to do.
“I think that’s what a lot of people expected to do within the team. For this year, it continues that process. We’ve brought in people. We have the people here who can do the job. Now whether or not that takes place, I mean, w’ere not robots. So you never know exactly what youre going to get.”
But they know where they want to get.
“When I first came over,” Masterson said, “it was kind of this rebuild and get your work in, get your understanding. That’s never really fun. It’s part of it at times, but it’s never fun to have that mentality and that mind-set. I think what was great about last year is that everyone got an understanding of what it’s like to win, what it’s like to be in first place and how great that feels. And then at the end, what it’s like to be in second place and how great that doesn’t feel.”
Everyone is picking the Tigers to win the American League Central — myself included — but Indians manager Manny Acta views the division as one for the taking. Cleveland ended last year with 80 wins — 15 behind Detroit in the standings. The Tribe feels it can close that gap this year.
“To me, this is a tremendous division that is very, very balanced,” Acta said. “Four teams have won it over the last five or six years, so we think it’s balanced and we like it. [The Tigers] are the team to beat, because they won last year. That’s normal.
“They have an MVP candidate in their lineup and they have the guy that was the Most Valuable Player last year on their pitching staff. Obviously, they are a very good team. That being said, it takes 25 to win and we like our team. I think we’ll be there.”
We’ll see. It should be an interesting season.
Since we’ve reached the eve of Opening Day, it’s time to roll out my preseason picks for 2012. I picked the Phillies over the Red Sox in each of the past two years, so take these for what they’re worth. Overall, I nailed just six teams’ finish in the standings a year ago. Some expert I am! That said, I have correctly picked the National League Cy Young Award winner two years running.
Here goes nothing…
*2. Blue Jays
4. Red Sox
5. White Sox
*indicates Wild Card pick
Rangers over Giants
(The Baseball Gods have to show some mercy on Texas at some point, right?)
AL Most Valuable Player: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
AL Cy Young Award: Ricky Romero, Blue Jays
AL Rookie of the Year: Matt Moore, Rays
AL Manager of the Year: John Farrell, Blue Jays
NL Most Valuable Player: Joey Votto, Reds
NL Cy Young Award: Matt Cain, Giants
NL Rookie of the Year: Yonder Alonso, Padres
NL Manager of the Year: Davey Johnson, Nationals