49er16: Should we even talk about the AL Central? We ragged on this division a lot last season. Are we going to rag on it again?
The Colonel: This year the AL Central actually looks interesting. I'm going to state right off the bat I still believe the Tigers win the division. The Indians and Royals both improved themselves, but at the end the Tigers will probably prove to be the better team if they have no injuries.
49er16: Yeah I think they're going to be too deep at pitching not to win that division. Speaking of pitching, the Indians still don't have enough of it.
The Colonel: Their middle infield also has a habit of disappearing in the 2nd half of the season. At least that's what happened last year. The Indians have definitely improved themselves, but I don't quite trust them yet.
49er16: And they're also relying on Ubaldo Jimenez to turn around. I think he can semi get back to where he was, but I don't think he'll be that guy in Colorado who was outstanding.
The Colonel: I'm also not in love with the Royals. I hated that Wil Myers-James Shields trade and still hate it today. Also I just don't see how Shields improves that rotation. It's still a Bruce Chen and Luis Mendoza mess. And I haven't even gotten to Mike Moustakes or Eric Hosmer yet.
49er16: I remember last year after Bumgarner signed that contract extension eating up his arbitration years, there was a SI profile on young players signing contracts like that. Scott Boras (Hosmer's agent) went on this rant calling players like Bumgarner an idiot for signing such a contract and that Hosmer would never A) sign a contract like that and B) would never sign a team friendly deal. This profile was at the beginning of the season so it gave me great pleasure watching Hosmer fail last year because I could see the dollar sign in Boras' eye slipping away.
The Colonel: I remember you gleefully celebrating Hosmer's downfall last season.
49er16: That profile pissed me off. Fuck Hosmer and Boras. I hope he has another shitty season.
The Colonel: The team that I think will define mediocre this year will be the White Sox. They only "improved" at third base with Jeff Keppinger but kept the same lineup that fell apart down the stretch last season. They only thing that keeps them above water (or their PECOTA projection) is their pitching staff.
49er16: I don't like the White Sox at all. They seem to be stuck in neutral Kinda reminds me of the middle 00's Giants. Their farm system is bad, the team hasn't been improved their free agency or trades, and they haven't even gotten around to trading away what trade pieces they have. They either need to rebuild that team through the draft or via trades.
The Colonel: But they brought back Hawk Harrelson for another season of White Sox Baseball!
49er16: How about those Twins? I'm sure the rest of the division is quivering in their cleats at the thought of Vance Worley and Kevin Corriea.
The Colonel: Unlike the White Sox though, the Twins have at least tanked enough and made some roster tweaks. They're not stuck in neutral like Chicago. Plus Joe Mauer had a sneaky good year last season. I'm still not in love with that contract though.
49er16: No one likes that contract.
The Colonel: They're still not good enough to win that division though. /now watch the Twins win the AL Central.