Re: Wide Open (NL Central Side by Side by Side)
Cards - lost starters, edmonds a year older, rolen's back is questionable, they have the scrapy ex-angels dp combo. I say worse this year than last, although they did win the world series (hold on while i swallow the puke in my mouth).
Astros - Clemens and Pet gone, that makes them worse notwithstanding the loss of Huff.
Pittsburgh - Lost their closer. As long as their new 1st baseman doesn't continue his homer streak into the season, they will be no better than last year, which is bad enough.
Brewers - Everyone says they are going to break through every year and every year they struggle to stay in contention. I think the loss of Lee off last year's squad makes them less intimidating than last year.
Cubs - C'mon their the Cubs. Even with Sweet Lou pulling the strings they will find a way to blow it. Zambrano has thrown a ton of innings the last three years under Dusty, and at his age is seriously at risk of arm troubles. the outfield of Jones, Murton, Soriano is defensively challenged and at best a wash with the Reds. Aramis signed his big deal and will go back to being a slacker.
i think the Reds stand as good if not better chance of contending this year as last. I think Lohse is going to be pitching for a free agent contract, Gonzo will solidify the infield and hit 20 homers with a .250 average (better than Clayton), EE will improve and Dunn will rebound under Jacoby. I also would place a friendly bet that Hamilton ends up with equal or better numbers to Kearns by seasons end.
I am a poster that goes with my heart