We continue our big preview of the MLB Season by looking at the best-case and worst-case scenarios for the AL Central. And, what’s more, that includes Getty Images, no matter how irrelevant the picture is.
Best-Case Scenario: Who need Prince Fielder? They have Miguel Cabrera still, and their starting rotation is still one where the reigning Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer, may not even be the ace, due to Justin Verlander. And they now have Joe Nathan as their closer! With that, there can only be one best-case scenario: World Series Title.
Worst-Case Scenario: The Tigers are seized and sold to pay off Detroit’s bankruptcy debt.
Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: Joe Nathan starts showing his age, Verlander’s below-average-by-his-standards season last year turns out to have been the start of his decline, and it turns out that maybe Miguel Cabrera did need Prince Fielder. And even then, they still probably are in the playoff hunt.
Best-Case Scenario: They make the playoffs again, and actually make it farther than the Wild Card game this time.
Worst-Case Scenario: Nick Swisher secedes from the Union to found the state of “Brohio”.
Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: With two pitchers (Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir) having left in Free Agency, the depth isn’t what it used to be, and the Indians are left in the dust in the AL Central.
Kansas City Royals
Best-Case Scenario: The youngsters make a great leap forward, James Shields continues to do well, and the Royals sneak in as a Wild Card.
Worst-Case Scenario: Young guys flop or get hurt, James Shields starts to take a downturn, and the Royals fall back into the total basement.
Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: See above. I couldn’t come up with anything outrageous for the Royals.
Best-Case Scenario: Joe Mauer wins the batting title and upsets both Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis for the 1st-base starting spot at the All-Star Game. The new pitchers turn out to be genius moves. The Twins end the season near .500 and plenty of good prospects in their future.
Worst-Case Scenario: Joe Mauer goes outside Justin Morneau‘s house to play 1980s power ballads from an oversized stereo system. Hurts himself lifting that stereo. Misses rest of season.
Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: The pitchers brought in flop, Mauer doesn’t improve all that much playing every day at 1B, or, worse, gets hurt. Prospects get hurt or hit a ceiling. Last place. Glen Perkins is the lone Twins All-Star at Target Field after Josh Willingham‘s “Final Vote” campaign falls short due to the fact he’s going against Derek Jeter, who will end up in the ASG this year, no matter how or what, even if he’s hitting .220.
Chicago White Sox
Best-Case Scenario: The Jose Abreu signing is genius and some other stuff goes right (primarily with the pitching staff), and the White Sox are a surprise contender for awhile before fading in the second half.
Worst-Case Scenario: They do more-or-less what they did last year, and Paul Konerko gets so depressed he decides to retire early.
Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: See above, only presumably without the Konerko retirement.
Next on the list of Best Case/Worst Case: The AL West.