Will Albert Pujols Live Up To His New Contract?
The best player in baseball signed a massive 10-year, $240-million deal with the Angels this offseason. The big question is how long will it take Pujols to adjust to American League pitchers and ballparks? How quickly he adjusts will have a huge impact for both the 2012 AL West race and the Angels’ future.
Can Yu Darvish Live Up To The Hype?
The Texas Rangers basically decided that they were better off with Darvish than C.J. Wilson, letting Wilson go to a division rival. It’s a $100 million gamble by the Rangers. How will Darvish do facing MLB batters, in a hitters ballpark, in the heat of Texas?
Can Anyone In The AL Central Challenge The Tigers?
The Tigers strolled to the AL Central title last season, winning by a massive 15 games, and then they went out and signed Prince Fielder this offseason. The Indians and Royals are young and getting better, but they both seem at least a year away from challenging the Tigers. Could the Tigers win the Central by 20+ game this season?
What Will Happen To Ryan Braun?
The suspension of National League MVP for use of a banned substance was shocking to say the least. If the suspension holds up, how will it impact the NL Central race? Can the Brewers, without Prince Fielder and without Braun for almost one-third of the season, repeat as division champs?
Can The Marlins Contend?
The Marlins have a new bramd, a new ballpark, new uniforms, a new manager, and most important new players. Can the addition of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell and Carlos Zambrano (to a team that already had Mike Stanton, Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson) lift the Marlins into the postseason? In a division that includes the Phillies and Braves that is going to be difficult. Just as importantly, will baseball fans in Miami care if the Marlins start winning again?
Will The Pirates Finish Above .500?
It’s been ten years (1992) since the Pittsburgh Pirates finished with a winning record, and not since 1999 have they finished higher than fourth in the division. Can the streak end in 2012? Well, the Pirates have some impressive young talent, and if they can avoid a repeat of last year’s second-half collapse they win over 80 games this season.
Can Mike Matheny Defy The Odds?
I don’t St.Louis Cardinal’s manager Mike Matheny. Not only has he never managed a game in the big leagues, he has to replace one of the greatest managers in baseball history, and somehow get the defending champions back into the playoffs without the best player in baseball, Albert Pujols and the best pitching coach, Dave Duncan. Can Matheny handle the pressure in St. Louis?
What do you think will be some of the bog stories in 2012?