Pete’s Picks: NL Central
- Updated: March 17, 2008
1. Brewers: I think that they had a good team last year, but were too young to win the division, but with a year under their belts I think they have a shot at winning this division, that is unless Gagne pitches like he did in Boston last year. As a reminder, Braun will be in LF, Hall at 3B & after his suspension, Cameron will be in CF.
2. Cubs: Will they or won’t they get Brian Roberts from the O’s? No big improvements here, but they do have to worry about some of their aging veterans (Delgado & Alou). Any one of the three possible closers will be better than what most teams will throw out there so they have some flex room their in my opinion. They will, however, give the Brewers a run for their money!
3. Reds: Now they have a legitimate closer which should help a bullpen that was in desperate need of help! They traded away top talent in Hamilton (if he can stay healthy) and they have more bound for the team in 2008 (1B Votto & OF Bruce). I expect Harang’s and Arroyo’s win totals to improve in 2008 due to the additions in the bullpen. They have improved, but no more than enough for a third place finish. Also, what happens with Dunn & Jr. at the trade deadline or next offseason? Only time will tell!
4. Astros: They now have a more reliable closer, but one with a lot less experience at that position & they have upgraded the infield with Matsui (if he stays healthy) & Wigington, but the trade for Tejada is puzzling. If Pence can stay away from hot tubs & sliding glass doors, he should have a heck of a season and sure up CF in Houston for years to come! Their starting is still weak after Webb, but Berkman is as consistent as a streak hitter can get. They will be middle of the road in this division until more is done in the rotation!
5. Cardinals: They are just plain hurting for starting pitching due to the rotation of walking wounded they currently employ. On top of that, Pujols’ are is about to fall off! How much of a factor will his shoulder problem affect his performance? LaRussa might not make it through this year!
6. Pirates: The only moves made were to sign Ace SP Snell to a 3-year deal which should show the fans some signs of life. In a few years though, the minors should see an overhaul that will improve the team’s future, but until then, the fans might have to suffer if they have any more off season’s like this past one!