In 2009 the San Francisco Giants had the best pitching staff in baseball, giving up 3.77 runs per game. However they finished at 88-74, good for 3rd place in their division and 4 games behind the wild card winner. If the Giants expect to pitch themselves into the postseason in 2010, they will need some help from the offense.
Loaded with young talent, the NL West could be the tightest divisional race in baseball this year. With 4 teams having a legitimate shot at 1st, this division could easily be the most entertaining. Here is my team by team preview:
Arizona Diamondbacks (2009: 70-92, 5th place)
Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners have finalized their contract, worth a reported $78 million over 5 years. Hernandez passed his physical which was the only thing that had prolonged the contract finalization. The 23-year-old righty was 19-5 last season, tied for the most wins in the majors, and made his first All-Star team. He had a career-high 217 strikeouts with a career-low 2.49 ERA.
Hernandez will be the staff’s ace, while newly acquired lefty Cliff Lee will be their number 2. That one-two punch will be one of the best in baseball if both can stay healthy. With Lee’s experience in the 2009 playoffs with the Phillies, he can give Hernandez some pointers on how to stay fresh down the stretch as the Mariners will be shooting for a play off spot in 2010.
In the first game of the AFC Divisional Playoff round, the Colts beat the Ravens last night to move on the the AFC Championship game. They will take on the winner of the Jets-Chargers game today at 4:40 pm EST.
Payton Manning once again showed why he is considered one of the best quarterbacks in all of football as he lead his team to a 20-3 victory over the Ravens, who came into the game expecting to dominate the Colts high powered offense but were unable to shut down Manning.
Reports say that Ravens’ safety Ed Reed, 31, is comtemplating retirement and is “50-50″. People close to Reed have a feeling that he doesn’t want his last game to be a loss like the one he was apart of yesterday so we will see how things play out in the near future.
Carlos Beltran is expected to miss 12 weeks after undergoing knee surgery Wednesday. The Mets center fielder is expected to begin his spring training when the Mets start their season in April. The Mets are not happy with the situation with Beltran because they were under the impression that he would get another opinion. Beltran missed 81 games last season and was hoping to make a come back in 2010.
This puts the Mets in a bind heading into spring training because they have no replacement for Beltran at the major league level. Newly acquired Jason Bay doesn’t have the speed to cover the groud in center field of Citi Field and Jeff Francoeur is mainly a corner outfielder. We will see how the Mets handle this situation as spring training approaches.
Former Yankee great Melky Cabrera signed a contract with the Atlanta Braves, avoiding arbitration. Cabrera was acquired in the deal that sent Javier Vazquez to the Yanks. The deal is worth $3.1 million. Last season Cabrera posted a .274 average with 13 home runs and 68 RBI’s as the Yanks everday center fielder.
Rumor has it that the Mets are interested in signing free agent outfielder Johnny Damon after learning that Carlos Beltran will miss up to 12 weeks after knee surgery. Damon has played in New York for the Yankees for the past 4 seasons and can definitlly handle the pressures of New York. Last season, he posted a .282 batting average while playing in 143 games (Beltran played in 81 games last season for the Mets). The Mets will need to fill the void left by Beltran being sidelined yet again and we will see how things play out in the coming days.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and first basemen Adam LaRoche has agreed to a one year contract pending a physical. The potential signing could allow Conor Jackson to move back to the outfield, his more natural position. Last season, LaRoche bounced around between the Braves, Pirates and Red Sox, finishing with a .277 batting average, 25 home runs and 83 RBI’s.
The Florida Marlins made pitcher Josh Johnson very rich Thursday when the two sides agreed on a 4 year contract worth $39 million. According to espn.com. the deal will pay Johnson $3.75 million this season, $7.75 million in 2011 and $13.75 million in each of the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
Johnson, regarded as one of baseball’s best young starters, made the All-Star team in 2009 and has a 22-6 record since his return from Tommy John surgery in July 2008. The Marlins look to take on the rest of the National League East this season with a core group of young, talented, hard nose players and hope to develop their young pitching staff, lead by Johnson. They are expected to give the Phillies a run towards the end of the season for the NL East division title.
Hello readers. This is Mike Stainkamp signing on as one of the Review Theory Sports Writers, here to bring you up to date information regarding the four major sports across America: Baseball, Football, Basketball, and Hockey.
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