Posted on: March 7, 2013
With the Cactus League in full-swing, some of the great story lines that developed this winter are finally on display this spring. There are too many to list, but here are a couple of things that I’ve already started paying attention to.
There was a time not long ago when the Yankees had a payroll that would rival the entire economy of most countries. Now, their financial way of thinking has made its way to California. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ new ownership group, led by Magic Johnson, who I’ve always felt was a greater basketball player than Michael Jordan, have been increasing payroll in leaps and bounds. They made a blockbuster trade with Boston last year, bringing over Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, along with Josh Beckett. Add in the signing of Zack Greinke and the Dodgers have a team that many expect to be playing deep into October.
The last two winters, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have made a splash, signing some big bats in free agency. Much like LeBron and Co. down in Miami, the Angels boast their own “Big 3” with Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout. They’ll be fun to watch this year but their bullpen continues to be their Achilles’s heel.
In San Francisco, it wasn’t long ago that Tim Lincecum was one of the top pitchers in baseball. He’s had a rough couple of seasons and last year, was sent from the starting rotation to the bullpen. The Giants have said that Tim will again be in the starting rotation. Can he find the form that won him two Cy Young Awards not long ago? The reigning World Series Champions hope he can.
Finally, watch out for the Cleveland Indians. Red Sox managerial icon Terry Francona is back coaching, taking over as Manager. The Tribe made a lot of moves this winter and will be an intriguing team to keep an eye on. They made that big, three-way trade that brought over Drew Stubbs and Trevor Bauer. They also signed Nick Swisher and Michael Bourne. If nothing else, they should be a fun team to watch. I expect them to do pretty good this year and wouldn’t be surprised if they are this year’s version of the Nationals or Orioles, teams that saw sudden, dramatic turnarounds last year.
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