Baseball Betting: Odds to win the A.L. Central
At times in 2008, the Central looked to be the strongest division in the AL. However, this changed to embarrassment once the post-season rolled around. There was not as much activity as you would expect in the division but a few teams did make some moves that could possibly shake things up. Can anyone in this division make a run at the World Series crown?
Chicago White Sox +300 (89-74)
The offseason was just so-so for the White Sox. Chicago will likely feel the loss of all-star slugger Nick Swisher as well as two decent pitchers in Boone Logan and Javier Vasquez. Brent Lillibridge was easily their best acquisition and when looking at the numbers he put up in 2008, that’s pretty disappointing for White Sox nation. Things aren’t all bleak for Chicago as they have a nice pitching core that features two rising stars in Gavin Floyd and John Danks. These two guys have enough talent to combine for about 30 wins this season. If Mark Buerhle can give them a good 15 to 16 wins, the Chi Sox could be serious contenders for the A.L. Pennant.
Cleveland Indians +200 (81-81)
Thanks to a few key moves, Cleveland could have made themselves contenders once again. The addition of Kerry Wood is a huge move as Rafael Betancourt struggled closing games last season. Another big acquisition is that of Mark DeRosa who put up major numbers for Chicago in 2008. The Indians did suffer a bit by losing Franklin Gutierrez who played great defense for the Tribe in the outfield. Although the pitching rotation isn’t the strongest, the arms of Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona could give the Indians enough to compete with the Central’s elite.
Detroit Tigers +400 (74-88)
The Tigers may have addressed their issues at catcher by picking up Gerald Laird and Matt Treanor but the bullpen is still looking shakier than ever. Detroit doesn’t lose much from the deduction of disappointing Edgar Renteria and aging Kenny Rogers but losing young hitter Matt Joyce could be a setback. AL home run champ Miguel Cabrera should do some damage along with Magglio Ordonez and Placido Polanco who bring it strong every season. The fate of Detroit lies in Justin Verlander who struggled last year and Armando Galarrage who was one of the few bright spots. Fans in Detroit are wondering if Nate Robertson and Dontrell Wilson will even show up.
Kansas City Royals +1200 (75-87)
The Royals were able to add some good players despite the team’s tight budget. Coco Crisp will bring some flair to the lineup while Mike Jacobs should make a nice addition at first base. Losing Leo Nunez was a significant blow to the bullpen but if Kyle Farnsworth can step up his game, Nunez might become an afterthought quickly. Considering how Fansworth tanked in Detroit last season, Royals fans shouldn’t hold their breath. Kansas City has speed at the top of the lineup, power in the middle and a few credible bats at the back-end. With Jose Guillen leading the charge, don’t be surprised if this club makes some serious noise in the AL Central.
Minnesota Twins +150 (88-75)
The lack of offseason activity by the Twins would have you thinking this team won the World Series. It is very surprising that Minnesota didn’t make a single move. This is very unsettling for Twins fans as every other team in the division made significant upgrades. The M&M boys Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau will need to step up with monster years and hopefully get some help from Delmon Young who has yet to live up to the hype. The Twins are looking good at the mound with a young roster that features Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn and Scott Baker. With Juan Rincon going to Detroit, Joe Nathan and Matt Guerrier will need to bring it hard from the bullpen if this team expects to compete at a high level.