The model: Nationals
Righthander Tanner Roark is an example of what Washington is all about on the mound. The 28-year-old put it all together in 2014 to go 15-10 with a 2.85 ERA in his first full season in the majors. For that, Roark is headed to the bullpen. Someone had to go when the Nationals made the move of the offseason and signed free-agent Max Scherzer. It wasn't going to be Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister or Gio Gonzalez. Roark now goes to a bullpen that includes Rafael Soriano and Drew Storen. Storen, Strasburg and Zimmermann were all top draft picks; Fister and Gonzalez came via trades; and Scherzer and Soriano were free-agent signings.
AL CENTRAL RANKINGS
Indians: This staff will pile up the strikeouts, which will cancel out a somewhat shaky defense.
Royals: Losing James Shields hurts, but it's a six-inning game with that lights-out bullpen.
White Sox: They have addressed the rotation and bullpen with strong offseason additions.
Tigers: Sure, they lost Max Scherzer, but they also did little — once again — to address a shaky bullpen.
Twins: They don't strike out enough batters and don't have a top defense. That's a bad combination for any staff.