Spring is in the air.
The smell of grass fills up ballparks across the nation
The crack of bats awaits
The first pitch signals the start of a new season
BASEBALL IS BACK!!!
Before an umpire says: "PLAY BALL!", let's recap in what took place during the off-season
OFF-SEASON IN SUMMARY
Making a splash in the East were the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. The Red Sox continued repair work on the ballclub (thanks to last season) by adding a familiar face (John Farrell) to the manager's role,and new players (Dempster, Napoli, Victorino, Hanrahan, Drew, Gomes). The Blue Jays literally went extreme makeover as they picked up last season's All=Star MVP ( Me.Cabrera), all of the Marlins proven players (Bonifacio, Reyes, Jo. Johnson, Buerhle) and a NL Cy Young knuckler (Dickey); to top it all off-an old face (John Gibbons) for a second go ahead at the helm. As for the Yankees, they brought in former Red Sox cornerman Kevin Youkilis and kept their Asian players (Ichiro, Kuroda).
In the Central, the Tigers upgraded right field with Torii Hunter and regained a hopefully healthy Victor Martinez. The Indians went new look with Tito Franconca and brought along a cavalcade of players (Bourn, Swisher, Reynolds, Stubbs, B.Myers). The Royals meant business as they acquired a quarter of the Rays pitching staff (including an ace in James Shields) and a former Halo (Ervin Santana).
Coming off a shopping heavy last off-season, the Angels added Josh Hamilton from intra-rival Texas. To make-up for the lost power, the Rangers are counting on Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski. To complement the rise of Yoenis Cespedes, the A's added Chris Young. The Mariners went power tripping (to complement their moving forward of their fences) by adding the likes of Michael Morse, Kendrys Morales, Raul Ibanez (for a second stint) and Jason Bay. Then there's the Houston Astros, converted from being an NL team from its inception.
Each of the three top teams in the East added pieces: the Braves added the Upton brothers; the Phillies added a versatile infielder in Michael Young and speed in the outfield in Ben Revere; the Nationals added a new centerfielder (Span) and a closer (R. Soriano). Meanwhile the Marlins and Mets dumped their proven and Cy-Young winner to the AL's Toronto Blue Jays.
The Central seemed quiet but there were still moves made. The Reds added hopefully an upgrade in Shin-Shoo Choo. The Brewers made a very,very late add in former Cardinal pitcher Kyle Lohse. The Pirates added a couple of interesting pieces in Russell Martin and Francisco Liriano. While the Cards didn't make any noise as the Lohse loss didn't have an effect, the rival Cubs added two starters in Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva.
The World Champion Giants kept Pagan but let go of the bearded one (Wilson); they felt upgrades were not needed. As for the division rival Dodgers, their spurge continued with the addition of Zach Greinke and Far East import Hyun-Jin Ryu. The D-Backs lost an Upton but gained a Prado. The Rockies decided to be part of the "Cardinals and White Sox experience" in adding former player Walt Weiss to the managerial role.
NOTE: A few teams weren't mentioned due to lack of significant moves.
This season, interleague play becomes a daily occurrence due to the balancing of the leagues (15-15)
PROJECTED OPENING DAY STARTING LINEUPS
Baseball is back.
Another season awaits.
Let the games begin and the discussions commence.
[ Edited by robniner on Apr 1, 2013 at 7:49 AM ]