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Why they won’t: With Pierzynski gone, the jury is out with Tyler Flowers at catcher. Keppinger replaces Youkilis at third base. Paul Konerko remains a force, but other hitters in the lineup are boom or bust, including Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham.
2012: 68-94 (24-53 after All-Star break)
Who’s gone: Shin-Soo Choo, Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore, Roberto Hernandez, Jack Hannahan, Shelley Duncan.
Who’s new: Terry Francona (manager), Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Mike Aviles, Trevor Bauer, Scott Kazmir, Brett Myers, Bryan Shaw, Drew Stubbs.
Why they’ll contend: They reshuffled the deck after another brutal second half last year. It wasn’t former manager Manny Acta’s fault, but the Indians landed a proven winner in Francona. Ownership re-established its commitment by signing Swisher for $56 million and Bourn for $48 million. And the back end of the bullpen is solid, led by All-Star closer Chris Perez.
Why they won’t: The starting rotation has too many question marks. If Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson are on their game, look out. But that’s a big if, especially for Jimenez, who’s been a huge disappointment since 2010.
2012: 66-96 (30-47 after All-Star break)
Who’s gone: Scott Baker, Denard Span, Ben Revere, Carl Pavano, Matt Capps.
Who’s new: Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Correia.
Why they’ll contend: The last time the Twins entered a season with expectations this low was 2008, their first year without Johan Santana and Torii Hunter. Expected favorites Detroit and Cleveland flopped, and the Twins wound up losing a Game 163 tiebreaker to the White Sox 1-0. The Twins have had two straight seasons derailed by injuries, so better health would be a boost.
Why they won’t: Their pitching staff pales in comparison to Detroit’s and Chicago’s. Worley, Pelfrey and Correia might stabilize things after last year’s debacle, but they are not high-end talents. And the lineup has too many question marks — second base, third base, shortstop, center field, right field — to imagine it coming together at once.
|Washington - D. Fister||12:10 PM|
|NY Mets - D. Gee|
|Philadelphia - S. Gonzalez||12:10 PM|
|Miami - J. Cosart|
|Toronto - D. Hutchison||12:10 PM|
|Cleveland - T. Bauer|
|Cincinnati - J. Cueto||12:35 PM|
|Atlanta - J. Teheran|
|Tampa Bay - N. Karns||12:35 PM|
|Baltimore - W. Chen|
|Chicago WSox - J. Danks||1:10 PM|
|Minnesota - M. Pelfrey|
|Detroit - A. Sanchez||1:10 PM|
|Kansas City - J. Guthrie|
|Seattle - J. Happ||1:10 PM|
|Houston - R. Hernandez|
|Pittsburgh - V. Worley||1:15 PM|
|St. Louis - M. Wacha|
|Milwaukee - J. Nelson||1:20 PM|
|Chicago Cubs - J. Hammel|
|Oakland - S. Gray||2:05 PM|
|Texas - Y. Gallardo|
|LA Angels - J. Weaver||3:05 PM|
|San Francisco - T. Lincecum|
|Colorado - K. Kendrick||3:10 PM|
|San Diego - J. Shields|
|Arizona - C. Anderson||3:10 PM|
|Los Angeles - B. Anderson|
|NY Yankees - A. Warren||7:05 PM|
|Boston - J. Kelly|
|Tampa Bay||5:00 PM|
|Sporting Kansas City|
|New York City|