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AL Central

AL Central

Travis Hafner's Performance Not the Biggest Requirement for 2009 Season

After a disappearing act over two years featuring injuries and disappointing play, Travis Hafner's return is one of the biggest stories of the Indians 2009 season.

However, it isn't the most important factor that could lead them on the path to success this year. The bullpen and situational hitting were problem areas for the Tribe in '08.

Hafner's stardom rose to its peak in 2006, then fell off the tracks some time after signing a major contract extension. His injury troubles have forced him off the field and into the DH spot of the lineup.

Has Kenny Rogers Retired?

It has been a quiet offseason for Kenny Rogers. All indications are that 44-year-old southpaw has hung up his spikes after a quality 20-year career. There has not been any official announcement, but many of those close to Rogers, including Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp, say he is retired.

It is amazing what Rogers was able to accomplish late in his career during his days as a Tiger. His longevity as a pitcher is a testament to the idea that if you are left-handed and have a pulse, there is a job for you in the big leagues.

Dontrelle Willis Continues To Confound Tigers

The news on Dontrelle Willis just keeps getting weirder and, dare I say, sadder.

The Tigers placed the lefty on the disabled list to begin the season. But this isn’t any normal, run-of-the-mill DL placement. This isn’t a knee, or an elbow, or a shoulder problem.

The Tigers placed Willis on the DL for anxiety. Yep.

As in, “We don’t really know WHAT the heck is wrong with this guy—except that it’s between the ears.”

Legends We Should Always Remember

I miss Bill Veeck...from Larry Doby, to Satchel Paige, to Max Patkin, the shorts, exploding scoreboards, adding the surnames to jerseys, to having Harry Caray sing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame", to "Disco Demolition Night"...MLB stole his ideas...but lost sight of the fun that was supposed to accompany it.

American League Central Preview

Cleveland Indians

Baseball Musings Team Offense
Baseball America Top 10 Prospects

Grady Sizemore CF
Mark DeRosa 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Victor Martinez C

Cleveland Indians Making Mistake With Masa Kobayashi

Masa Kobayashi should not be breaking camp with the Cleveland Indians, but Wedge and Co. have already given indications that he'll be in the bullpen come April 6.

Signed to a two-year deal in the 2008 off-season by Mark Shapiro, Kobayashi has done little to earn the paycheck.  Most likely, he was purchased as a cheap insurance option in the likely event that Joe Borowski couldn't skate through the majors another year by throwing an 85 mph fastball.

Minnesota Twins: It's Spring, Right?

When the Twins faced the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday, they took on their Opening Day starter, James Shields.

To say the least, Shields wasn't very good; he allowed the Twins to score 11 runs on 12 hits in just over four innings of work. Nonetheless, he got his work in and moved one start closer to the regular season and the innings that matter.

Re-Earning Your Stripes: Previewing The 2009 Detroit Tigers

Much was expected from Detroit after Miguel Cabrera and Edgar Renteria were added in offseason trades, supposedly giving Jim Leyland a lineup capable of scoring 1,000 runs, but 2008 only produced 1,000 headaches for Leyland and the Tigers’ fans. The lineup wasn’t as good as advertised, but it wouldn’t have mattered if it had been.

Kansas City is Gaining Royalty Heading Into The 2009 Season

What a difference one month makes.

The Royals entered last September with 19 losses in their previous 23 games. Players were increasingly mutinous under first-year manager Trey Hillman.

A fifth straight last-place finish seemed certain, and a fifth 100-loss season in seven years appeared well within reach. General manager Dayton Moore responded with a bristling rebuke to players in a private clubhouse meeting during which he backed Hillman in unshakable terms.

Darkhorse Tribe: Previewing The 2009 Cleveland Indians


The Indians, who do not respond well to preseason accolades, are back in the shadows for 2009.

This makes them dangerous and capable of winning the AL Central. They filled a big hole with the signing of closer Kerry Wood, while a healthy Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner will make a good offense better.

The biggest question will be the starting rotation, where the Indians have produced two straight Cy Young winners in CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee. Sabathia is gone, but Lee is back, followed by a long line of suspect and untested starters.


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