1. Phillies will win over 100 games again this year. Having lost Ryan Madsen is a loss but they vastly upgraded their closer spot in signing Jonathan Papelbon. Plus having three ace pitchers in Halladay, Hamels and Lee doesn’t hurt. Chase Utley and Hunter Pence will be with the team for a full season this year which only helps the team especially if Ryan Howard isn’t able to play in April. The real question is how far will they make it in the playoffs after losing to the Cardinals in the first round last season.
2. The Pirates and Cubs will tease us with good starts and finish below .500. It seems like the Pirates do this every year. They start hot and then they crash and burn. The Cubs meanwhile have somewhat become a laughing stock of baseball. Theo Epstein will help the Cubs in the long run but I don’t see a big turnaround this season. The Pirates have some nice pieces in order and are a young team but they aren’t near contending for even a .500 season just yet.
3. The Angels will win the AL West this year. Last year I thought they were going to win it and they came up 10 games short. Now they added Albert Pujols and plucked CJ Wilson from rival Texas Rangers. I also believe Vernon Wells will play a lot better this year having a year to adjust to the California sun compared to being inside the Dome in Toronto. They upgraded their catching position by signing Chris Iannetta and maybe just maybe Kendrys Morales will play a full season.
4. Manny Ramirez will play in the MLB this year. I don’t know where and I don’t know when but someone will take a chance. Yes he will have to miss the first 50 games of the season due to PEDs suspension but I think that is a small price to pay for someone who said he will take on the “Role Model” role. You would think the AL would be a good spot for him because of the DH but since he is living in Florida, maybe the new look Miami Marlins will take a chance. That’s just speculative but it is a possibility.
5. As much as it pains me to say this…. the Boston Red Sox will miss the playoffs again this season. Granted Papelbon had his woes last season I do not believe they have replaced him. Andrew Bailey is a good player but I do not see him matching the stats that Papelbon had last year. They didn’t upgrade their starting staff at all and Daniel Bard as a starter to me is a concern considering how other teams locked onto his fastball last season and torched him for a 2-9 3.33 ERA record compared to 1-2 1.93 ERA in 2009. They may be able to win 90 games again but I still see them missing the playoffs having not upgraded in any area in the offseason.