Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

2005 Predictions Part I (American League)

Let’s leave the steroids with the “clinical experts”
in the talk shows and let’s talk baseball with the
start of the 2005 Major League Season.
With that in mind these are my predictions.

By Amaury Pi-Gonzalez
Scottsdale,ArizonaWe live in the West Coast so I prefer to start my
predictions with the Western Division teams instead
of the national trend which is to begin with the
Eastern Division.



t is easy to pick the Angels, with the MVP
and most complete player in the league in
Dominican Vladimir Guerrero and enough
pitching to make them repeat as the champions
of the West. Last season they won 92 games
and there is no reason why they should not
win at least 90 games again. With Bartolo
Colon,Kelvim Escobar,Jerrod Washburn,
John Lackey and Paul Byrd they have
probably the most proven and steady
rotation here. Arturo Moreno the owner
is always around the team and truly enjoys
the game of baseball. However, his change
of name to The Los Angeles Angels of
Anaheim, I think it was a blunder.

2-Seattle. They went after the free agent market
and spent $114 million on two key stars, at
first base Richie Sexton and at third base
Adrian Beltre(2004 ML home run king with
48)plus the best leadoff in baseball in
Ichiro Susuki, who established the new
base hit record last season with 264, this
team(last in runs scored last season)should
score many many more. Their pitching might
have to stay healthy all season with 42 year
old lefty wonder Jaime Moyer who won
21 games in 2003 but had a bad season
(like the whole team)last year. Puertorican
Joel Pineiro needs his elbow to be healthy
again and with young lefty Bobby Matdrisch
and Gil Meche and Ryan Franklin, they
have enough arms. The bullpen is suspect
with Eddy Guardado health issues but they
have some other arms for pitching coach
Bryan Price that could surprise a lot of
people.They could still trade Randy Winn
for a pitcher since young Jeremy Reed
will get a shot at the outfield.
Wild Card….maybe.

The A’S lost Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder this
past winter and it would be much to ask for
all the young arms to come through at the
same time (possible but not probable).Their
lineup is basically as good as last year with
the new catcher Jason Kendall. However, they
need Eric Chavez to have a huge season
at the plate and establish himself as the
leader of this bunch. They had Tejada
(a leader)he left a couple of years ago,
they had Hudson(a leader)he left this
season so this is the year for Chavez to
step up if they want to make it to the
Playoffs. Their bullpen should be better
but overall I do not think they have the
horses to win 91 games like last season,
Ken Macha and Curt Young will have to
pull all the right buttom this time.
It is important for this team to start hot,
since their attendance is going to suffer
after the two popular pitchers they lost.
The A’S will have a new owner soon, hope
he can work some magic and keep this
team from rolling the dice in Vegas.
Too bad Oakland doesn’t have a Mayor
that likes baseball…or any sport for
that matter. But when you are closing
libraries and cutting the police department,it
is tough to selll to the citizens a new
ballpark with public money. Unless they
can find a group of private people to
build a new park(like the Giants did)
we could be watching the Oakland A’S
in Oakland just until 2007. Can this
team keep loosing established players
like Giambi,Tejada,Hudson,Mulder and
still be in the race? If they can then
Billy Beane should really be declare close to
a genius like Bill Walsh.My opinion is
that Bill Walsh is the only genius General
Manager in Sports we ever had in
the Bay Area. Just check his record.
I could be wrong about the park, I never
thought the Giants would build a new
park and look at the jewel they have
in SBC. But with all respect to Oakland,
Oakland is not San Francisco.
San Francisco is the city for corporate
headquarters in Northern California,
Oakland has a great Port.

Yes, I know a lot of people are very high on
the Rangers and they do have one of the
best young lineups but their pitching needs
to surprise a lot of people to be a Playoff
team. Kenny Rogers, Ryan Drese,Chan Ho Park,
Ricardo Rodriguez and Chris Young. The last
two pitchers plus Korean veteran Ho Park
would need to really step up. A lot of
national baseball writers are picking Oakland
for last but I think the A’S overall would play
better during the whole season than the
Rangers and that is why I have this team
in last place, not that they are a bad team,
but somebody has to finish 4th. I don’t like
Texas anyway, too many guns there.
Watch for 6’10” Chris Young he could
develop and be a terrific pitcher specilly
under the guiadance of their very intelligent
and likeable pitching coach Orel Hershiser.


5-Kansas City

Does anybody thinks anybody else can win this
division ? I do not. American League Cy Young
of 2004 Venezuelan Johan Santana is one of
the best pitchers in the league and with Brad Radke
Carlos Silva, Kyle Lohse and Joe Mays following
him this is a solid rotation. They won 92 games
last year and they could win at least that many.
Their lineup is not full of stars but Tori Hunter
and company play baseball for 6 months, this
teams hustles, never gives up and they get
you at the Metrodome and they can beat
you to a pulp. Their bullpen had 33 wins last
year,second by a pen in the league.
They play baseball the old fashion way
as a team !They hit and run, they steal,
they make the plays on the field. I love
this team because it is always the underdog
but they seem to find a way to win.
Isn’t that why they play, to win ?

Their rebuilding can bring results this year
after they got rid of some veterans like
Omar Vizquel. Good young hitters in this
lineup with Casey Blake, Victor Martinez and
Travis Hafner they do score runs in bunches.
Their starting rotation was improved with
veteran right hander Kevin Millwood,
Vallejo’s own CC. Sabathia,Scott Elarton,
Cliff Lee and Jake Westbrook not household
names but enough for this division which
is definetely not the best.
They should improve in their bullpen which
was their achilles tendon last year.
An incredible 479 relief appearances by
Indians coming out of the bullpen.
They have Arthur Rhodes now with
Bob Wickman and Bobby Howry
and will try younger arms in search
of a possible playoff berth. I do like
this team a lot and believe they will

They really improved this winter.
Starting with ex Angels flamethrower
Troy Percival, their bullpen should be
much stronger closing games. Last season
they were 72-80, this season they should
be an over .500 kind of team.
Ivan Rodriguez still one of the most
formidable catchers and a future Hall of
Famer someday but specially his leadership
quality makes his a very valuable asset.
Jeremy Bonderman is only 22 but a good
pitcher that with offensive help should
develop into a very solid pitcher on that
rotation with Maroth,Ledezma,Johnson
and Robertson.
They can score, as they finished 5th in
hitting last season in the league. They should
be very competitive this season.
An underrated General Manager in
David Dombrowski, one of the guys
responsible for the 1997 Marlins World

Ozzie Guillen might be the happiest manager
in the world but he will need more than smiles
to make this team a playoff contender.
They have Cuban veteran Orlando (El Duque)
Hernandez but he is not the same El Duque
that pitched once for the Yankees, neither
he will have the support here he got in
New York. His compadre and fellow Cuban
Jose Contreras is overrated and their pitching
overall with Freddy Garcia and Jon Garland
does not impress me. They lost Carlos Lee
(El Caballo) who went to Milwaukee,he is
a solid power hitter. Their bullpen doesn’t
have a bonafide closer with Japanse
Shingo Takatsu trying to become “the
hombre”in the ninth inning. We will see,
but everything has to work for this
team to win and I do not see them
contending. Manager Guillen told me
recently as his team prepared to play
the Cubs at Electric Park in Tucson that
they(White Sox)might still do a couple
of trades.

5-Kansas City
They have great steaks in Kansas City
and that’s about it. Jose Lima has a lot
of heart, but with this team on the field
you need more than heart you need a lot
of luck ! Lima is the veteran of a staff
that is one of the youngest in baseball
with Runelvys Hernandez, lefty Jimmy Gobble
and Zack Greinke. Their bullpen is a revolving
door you can flip a coin to find out who
will really be the savior: Jeremy Affeldt,
Scott Sullivan, Danny Bautista or anybody
else. Tony Pena, the manager still on a team
which payroll in 2004 was just over
$40 million dollars. That is about the
left side of the Yankee infield in one year.
Can Tony Pena not be fired this season?
That is a good question, not because he
is not a good manager but because after
a few seasons there the owners might do
the customary thing when they cannot win,
which is….fire the manager. This is just
“normal”for cellar teams. I do not know
of a manager that spends more time
talking to his young players than
Tony Pena. He is a hard working man
and I like that on a manager, he can
go to bed each night and know for a
fact he did all he could to win, he never
falls asleep (like some managers)he is
always in the game. What a shame that
he doesn’t have a good team, maybe
someday Pena will have owners that
would buy him the players he need.
Once Sparky Anderson told me that
a good manager might win 15 games
with strategy. But like I always say,
-you can have the best jockey in
the world, but if he doesn’t have the
horse, I do not care how much he
beats the horse…he will not win-


1-New York
5-Tampa Bay

1-New York.
George knew he needed pitching so he went
on a shopping spree. He got first-ballot Hall
of Fame Randy Johnson who still has one of
the best sliders in the world. Carl Pavano
one of my favorite pitchers and one of the most
competitive guys you will ever see in a mound.
But that is not all ! George also got Jarret Wright
from the Braves and still kept Stanford’s
Mike Mussina plus Kevin Brown. Coming out
of the bullpen is the best closer in the league
in Panamanian Mariano Rivera.
The lineup ? Jeter-A.Rod-Sheffield-Matsui-
Posada-Giambi-WilliamsSierra and Womack,
did I miss any other All Stars ?
With a payroll pushing $185 million the
Bronx crew will make sure the Red Sox
do not win this division.

For the first time in 84 years the won a
World Series. I worked their previous
World Series in 1986 and was broadcasting
with Juan Vene for CBS Hispanic Network
for the US and Latinamerica when
that faithful six game when Mookie Wilson
of the Mets hit a ground ball that went
right through the legs of firstbaseman
Bill Buckner. The rest is history.
Curt Schilling did not look ready in
Spring Training and might not open
the season. Still a scary lineup with
the likes of Damon,Manny,Ortiz,Millar,
Nixon,Mueller and Varitek. Plus they
added Colombian shortstop and a
great clutch hitter Edgar Renteria,
ironically after loosing their own
shortstop(also from Colombia)
Orlando Cabrera who went to the
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
They lost Pedro Martinez to the Mets
but they got veteran lefty David Wells
from the Padres, Wade Miller from the
Astros and Matt Clement from the Cubs.
Keith Foulke still a top closer.
This is a good team, no doubt but
without Pedro, Schilling has to be
the stud from April until September.
Maybe wild card ?

Sammy Sosa is now in the same lineup with
Palmeiro-Javy Lopez-Miguel Tejada. That
by itself should scare anybody. Their problem
is that pitching is what wins pennants and
they just do not have enough of that.
Mexican right hander Rodrigo Lopez is
a steady starter, but Sidney Ponson,
Daniel Cabrera, Bruce Chen and Erik
Bedard ? Their bullpen is very good,
with a man with two first names that
many that do not follow baseball think
plays for the Brazilian Soccer National
Team. Jorge Julio is his name and he
can bring it, not afraid to throw inside.
Last season in Seattle this man was
clocked at 99 and 100 mph. After the
game Edgar Martinez, maybe the best
DH of all time and a man that retired
with the Commissioner visiting SAFECO
and naming that from 2005 on the DH
Award will be named the Edgar Martinez
DH Award, told me: “ese hombre nadie
le ve la pelota”(nobody can see the ball
that man throws).
The Orioles are a fun team. You look at
them and you say, they might be able
to score 8 runs per game but you can
also say their pitching might give 8.5
runs per game. A good and fun team
that should finish third, which by the
way is not that bad since in 2004 they
won 78 games and lost 84.

They lost power hitter Carlos Delgado
and they didn’t improved much overall.
Vernon Wells is a good player and
nice hitter. But this is not the Blue Jays
of George Bell,Jesse Barfield,Joe Carter
and Lloyd Moseby. In 2004 when they
did not hit a home run they won 14 and
lost 51 and this year they should hit
less home runs, so you can do the
Pitchers, Holiday who won the Cy Young a
couple of years ago, Ted Lilly,Miguel Batista,
Gustavo Chacin and Dave Bush. When
your #2 in the rotation is Ted Lilly you
have problems.

5-Tampa Bay
Their payroll is about $29 million. Remember
the Yugo ? That is exactly what this team
reminds me. They will get on the Freeway
but if they stay over 60 for a while they
will blow their engine. Point: in 2004
from May 20 through June 26 they won
26 games and lost only 7, but after that
they blew it the rest of the way and at
the end it was another 70-91 season
for Lou’s kids.
They do have some young and exciting
players like Carl Crawford, Aubrey Huff,
Jose Cruz Jr, stop counting.
Their pitching is a “who’s who”of
people that are only well known in their
homes like:Rob Bell,Scott Kazmir,
Dewon Brazelton and very tall Mark
Hope there are no more Hurricanes
in Florida this year, people living in
Tampa have to “survive”another
Devil Rays season.

Next I will have my predictions for
the National League.
Amaury Pi-Gonzalez is starting his third season
as Spanish Play by Play Announcer with the
Seattle Mariners Spanish Radio Network on
all 81 home games from Safeco field and his
12th season with the San Francisco Giants
during selected weekend home games.
Working as a sports reporter,play by play
man and sports anchor in the Bay Area for
the past 30 years. Writes for various publications
in the US an abroad in English and Spanish.
VP of the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum,
was inducted into the HHBM Hall of Fame in
2004 and into the CSHOF(Cuban Sports Hall
of Fame)in Miami in 2004.


1 Anonymous { 03.20.05 at 9:15 am }

in the AL west, Seattle has done nothing to help its pitching, which makes me wonder how the team can be picked to finish second. I agree that the Angels should finish first, provided they don’t get a serious case of the injury bug again.

2 Anonymous { 03.20.05 at 9:34 am }

Just curious…Isn’t Jose Cruz Jr. a Diamondback? And you seemed to omit the nationalities of Jeremy Bonderman, Jason Varitek, and Mike Mussina in your write up.

3 Anonymous { 03.20.05 at 12:04 pm }

Whites, especially men, are still overrepresented in the highest paying jobs and in positions of power in society. Their nationalities should be recognized why?

4 Anonymous { 03.20.05 at 12:57 pm }

“Whites, especially men, are still overrepresented in the highest paying jobs and in positions of power in society.”
Excluding the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

My point is why should we care what nation any player comes from? Aren’t those days over yet? I was ready to read, “he’s a credit to his race” next.

5 Anonymous { 03.24.05 at 7:44 pm }

The A’S have a lot of young arms but aside
from Zito none has been a established winner
When I picked the A’S for third I thought I
was being generous.
Most National Baseball Writers are picking
the A’S for last this season.
Thanks for you comments, that is what makes
baseball an always fascinating game.
Amaury Pi-González

You must log in to post a comment.