Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Sunday Morning Muse

What a difference a year makes. At this time last season, the Marlins were hardly on anyones radar, the Chicago Cubs were expected to be loveable losers once again, the Phillies were hopeful entering their last year at the Vet, Kansas City was known for its BBQ rather than its baseball team, the Padres were dreaming of their new park instead of getting ready to open it, and the Astros didn’t have a single ex-Yankee in its pitching rotation.

Fast forward to spring training 2004.

The Cubs are the favorites to REPEAT as the NL Central champs, The Marlins open spring drills as defending world champions, the Phillies have one of the deepest pitching staffs in the NL and are considered by many the team to beat this year, Kansas City signed everybody in sight and just might win the AL Central, the Padres are scaring the Giants in the West, and the Astros have the core of the Yankees pitching staff ready to open the season in Houston.

Click below for more!So who are the expected losers this eason?

The Brewers have young talent on the way, just give them about three more years, not this season unfortunately. In fact, Geoff Jenkins should be the next to leave Milwaukee: destination Seattle in mid season.

The Indians are banking on CC Sabathia to lead their staff. The big lefty, still a kid, better watch his weight or he will eat himself out of the majors. The rest of the team is in year three of a five year building plan.

The Pirates must be kidding when you look at their roster. They have become a home for every veteran looking for a last chance. Raul Mondesi is the latest to join the Corsairs.

The Rockies play so well at home, but until they figure out a way to win on the road, it will be another lost season. Shawn Chacon will be their closer after not being able to handle the workload of a starter. He can pitch, too bad his tutor Goose Gossage can’t set up for him.

The Mets will be better, but until they get one more big bat and a reliable hard throwing starter, they will be chasing the Phillies and the rest of the East. The Mets bullpen is no great shakes either.

Texas needs help on the mound. So what else is new? They should immediately trade Alfonso Soriano to the Dodgers for either Odalis Perz or Jeff Weaver or both plus one of the Dodgers promising young pitchers. Texas is counting on Jeff Zimmerman coming back to lead the bullpen, that tells you the state of their late inning game, sports fans.

The Tigers may win 25 more games this season and still lose 94. Alan Trammell deserves a medal and more for putting up with this team. Pudge Rodriguez, Rondell White, Jason Johnson and Fernando Vina are the key off season moves. Yay!

The Devil Rays now have a 25 man roster of big leaguers. Can they play? Yes, much better than last season, but not anywhere close to the level needed to contend with the big boys in the east. With Jeremi Gonzalez and Victor Zambrano leading the starters, you have to feel for Lou Piniella.

The Orioles will hit the ball, no doubt, and they are again a player or two short of being respectable on the mound. Sidney Ponson will win 15 or more, Rodrigo Lopez will bounce back, but then it gets very shaky. The Yankees will average eight runs a game against this staff.

Pitching and defense can win championships. The Astros, Cubs, Marlins, and Phillies look tough to beat.

Anybody remember Jeff Kent? He might sneak up on the league and have a big year for Houston.

The Phillies are counting on Kevin Millwood, Vincente Padilla, Randy Wolf, Brett Myers, and Kevin Millwood, but my keys are Tim Worrell, Rheal Cormier, and Billy Wagner out of the pen.

The Cubs have to resist the temptation to bring LaTroy Hawkins in as a closer, he can’t handle it, one pitch pitcher.

So, out of that group of lovable losers that I alluded to above who will break out of the pack and surprise the baseball world?

I’m going for Tampa Bay, Lou won’t put up with another 90 plus losses, I think the team he has on the field will get to .500.

It’s spring training, we can dream can’t we?


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