After surprising most of baseball by finishing second in the American League Central with a 83-79 record last year, there was reason for the Minnesota Twins to feel optimistic in 2016.
In a year in which a lot of things had to go right for second-year manager Paul Molitor, nothing did. Instead of building off 2015’s success, they own MLB’s worst record at 51-87 entering action on Tuesday.
It’s been especially difficult since August 18. Fresh off a two-game sweep of the equally bad Atlanta Braves, Minnesota has lost 16 of its last 18 games, which included a 13-game losing streak. Playing the Twins has almost guaranteed a victory for the opposing team.
Frankly, second baseman Brian Dozier has been the only reason why Twins fans have smiled consistently over the last couple months. He’s been on an incredible run since the All-Star break, and is on the brink of history because of a prolonged power surge.
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I like the moves the White Sox have done in the offseason. The only problem is what the Royals and Tigers also have done this winter will make it tough for Chicago to keep up.
The Pale Hose finished a disappointing 76 – 86 in 2015 and almost 20 games behind Division winner KC for the AL Central.
Despite the poor results off those player acquisitions Rich Hahn acquired Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie so far in the hot stove this year, and also inked catchers Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro as key moves.
I love this aggression – and even believe that LaRoche and Cabrera will have bounce back seasons for the White Sox this season. Cabrera was pretty decent in the 2nd half, and LaRoche suffered the Adam Dunn NL to AL syndrome.
Having said this already, the Royals are sitting with a talented squad as reigning World Series Champs, and the Tigers added Jordan Zimmermann, Justin Upton, and bushel full of relievers and Cameron Maybin.
There is no doubt in my mind that Detroit will be much better than their cellar dweller 2015 campaign.
The White Sox have a decent pitching staff in its entirety. Maybe not as talented as the Cleveland Indians, but the Tribe doesn’t have the sticks as Chicago either.
KC has the best bullpen in the Division, and will rely heavily on it again with their grinder offense backing it up.
Chicago is still spending at a decent clip – having a budget of near $123 MIL so far, but Detroit has crept up to near $200 MIL, and KC has paid for its title, by going near the $140 MIL team salary barrier. Read the rest of this entry