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Written by Brian McPeek

Brian McPeek

baseball-2010This is The Cleveland Fan dot com. You know there are no shortages of opinions when it comes to anything around this place. And given we’re staring dead into the eyes of the 2010 Major League Baseball season we thought it’d be nice to collect a few opinions of the writers from this site and throw it out to all of you for digestion.

Without further rambling we give you the 2010 MLB and Indians predictions from guys like Paul Cousineau, Adam Burke, Steve Buffum, Erik Cassano, Chris Hutchinson and yours truly. We asked the boys who would win each division as well as the wildcard, who’d meet in the Damn Near Winter Classic and who would take down the major post season awards before they gave their thoughts on the Indians.

Let the debate begin, enjoy and Play Ball!!!

Chris Hutchinson

AL East-Yankees
AL Central-Twins
AL West-Mariners
AL Wild Card-Tigers

AL Cy Young-Felix Hernandez
AL MVP-Miguel Cabrera

NL East-Phillies
NL Central-Reds
NL West-Giants
NL Wild Card-Cardinals

NL Cy Young-Lincecum
NL MVP-Pujols

World Series- Phillies over Mariners

Thoughts on the Tribe- I'm not much for giving inspirational addresses, but I'd just like to point out that every newspaper in the country has picked the Indians to finish last. The local press seems to think that they'd save everyone the time and trouble if they just went out and shot themselves. The Tribe, they're for wasting sportswriters' time. So I figure Cleveland ought to hang around for a while and give 'em all a nice big s**tburger to eat.  78-84.

Adam Burke

AL East- Yankees
AL Central- White Sox
AL West- Mariners
AL Wild Card- Red Sox

AL Cy Young- Felix Hernandez
AL MVP- Mark Teixeira

NL East- Phillies
NL Central- Cardinals
NL West- Rockies
NL Wild Card- Giants

NL Cy Young- Roy Halladay
NL MVP- Some guy named Pujols

World Series- Yankees over Phillies

Thoughts on the Tribe-
I firmly believe that the Indians are going to surprise people this year with the speed of their development. If Fausto Carmona can build off his good spring, and David Huff can continue getting better, the Indians could get around 55-60 wins from the rotation. Spread a few around the bullpen and you're looking at a team that could be very close to .500 this season. They can definitely score runs, so that won't be an issue. A new voice, some rejuvenated Latin American players, and the continued development of Cabrera and Choo will hopefully have the Tribe playing meaningful games in August and September.

Erik Cassano

AL East-
AL Central-
AL West-
AL Wild Card-
Red Sox

AL Cy Young-
Jake Peavy, White Sox
AL MVP- Mark Teixeira, Yankees

NL East-
NL Central-
NL West-
NL Wild Card-

NL Cy Young-
Roy Halladay, Phillies
Albert Pujols, Cardinals

World Series-
Yankees over Cardinals

Thoughts on the Tribe-
National baseball prognosticators have pegged the Indians as one of the worst -- if not the worst -- teams in baseball. With a mish-mash starting rotation, largely unproven bullpen and a lineup full of question marks, there is the definite possibility that the Tribe will top 100 losses for the first time in 19 years.

But there is reason to believe that this post-fire sale bottom-out won't hit as hard as the '02-'03 roster-gut. The few veterans on the roster possess the potential to be impact players if they stay healthy. Early reports seem to indicate that Grady Sizemore is ready for a bounce-back year, Travis Hafner might be as healthy as he's been since 2006, Jake Westbrook is finally ready to return from 2008 Tommy John surgery, and Kerry Wood will once again be the bullpen's closer when he returns from a back strain, hopefully around the end of April.

If those four guys can stay healthy and produce, there is a much better chance that things will fall in order behind them.

Of course, in order for that to happen, some of the younger players need to seize the opportunity that this open audition of a season is affording them. If the Indians are to vault back into contention in the coming years, Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley have to become productive lineup mainstays, if not borderline all-stars. Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo are the next generation of veteran leaders on this team, and they have to continue to build their resumes.

Some of the pitchers who failed under the leadership of Eric Wedge and Carl Willis -- namely Fausto Carmona and Rafael Perez -- need to find their groove under the leadership of Manny Acta and Tim Belcher.

All in all, I really am setting the bar low for my expectations this year. The Indians will, in all likelihood, lose 90 games. But there are some ingredients in place for this team to become one of the surprise teams in baseball this year. I'm not thinking playoff contention by any stretch, but if enough things go right, this could be an 80-win team as easily as it could be a 100-loss team.

Steve Buffum

AL East-  New York
AL Central-  Cleveland
AL West-  Seattle
AL Wild Card-  Boston

AL Cy Young-  Zack Greinke
AL MVP-  Grady Sizemore

NL East-  Philadelphia
NL Central-  St. Louis
NL West-  Arizona
NL Wild Card  Atlanta

NL Cy Young-  Roy Halladay
NL MVP-  Albert Pujols

World Series- Seattle over St. Louis

Thoughts on the Tribe- I have done a series on my other blog to the effect that it would take only reasonable improvement for the Indians to perform significantly better.  A healthy Sizemore, a decent Carmona (not even outstanding, just decent instead of putrid), a decent Raffy Perez (again, simply adequate), some one-win improvements from guys like Peralta and Masterson, and a lack of true gunk getting playing time (Gimenez, 2009 Carrasco, Graffanino), and the team improves by a lot.  Even performing up to Pythagorean Projections (helped by Not Eric Wedge) would help.  I have intentionally left off "if everything breaks right!" kind of thinking and stuck to modest

(reasonably attainable) improvements, and I can see this team winning 85 games.  Yeah, the rotation is probably not truly strong enough for that ... but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  (Yes, I have 85 wins taking the Central.  THAT part probably doesn't strike anyone as ridiculous.)

Paul Cousineau

AL East- Yankees
AL Central- White Sox
AL West- Rangers
AL Wild Card- Rays

AL Cy Young- Lester
AL MVP- Longoria

NL East- Phillies
NL Central- Cardinals
NL West- Diamondbacks
NL Wild Card- Marlins

NL Cy Young- Halladay
NL MVP- Pujols

World Series- Rays over Phillies

Thoughts on the Tribe-
After years of the rotation carrying the team, 2010 will represent a sharp departure as the rotation looks to be the stone tethered to the collective ankle of the team as it attempts to climb back to respectability.  While the offense should score runs in bunches, the ongoing evaluation of arms in the rotation AND the bullpen will cause this team to lose more than its fair share of games.  How quickly some answers come for the arms will determine how close (or how far away) contention is for the organization, because even in a weak Central (made weaker by the Nathan injury), contention is unlikely for a Tribe team that I have pegged to finish 3rd in their division with a 78-84 record...yeah, the Central's that bad.

Mike "Lead Pipe" Piper

AL East- Yanks
AL Central-Detroit
AL West-LA Angels
AL Wild Card-Tampa Bay

AL Cy Young-Mitch Talbot (JK) King Felix
AL MVP- Miggy Cabrera

NL East-Philly
NL Central-Cards
NL West-Dodgers
NL Wild Card-Braves

NL Cy Young-Tommy Hanson
NL MVP-Pujols

World Series-Yankees over Cardinal

Thoughts on the Tribe-
Virtually every team has question marks at this juncture, especially those residing in the AL Central. Problem with the 2010 Tribe is the question marks are far too numerous for LP to be comfortable in regard to predicting much success. They have staff question marks from top to bottom - from ace to closer and everywhere in between. This fact alone disqualifies them from a .500 season ILO. Offensively they should be on par with the teams in the division, but they'll need to be better than that. They can score some runs, but the line-up is somewhat limited by the fact they don't have a player or two in the middle that opposing teams fear. Travis Hafner not only needs to get back on track (and after two years this doesn't seem likely) but he needs to be able to play more than two of every three games.

Let's cut to the chase, the Vegas line for the Tribe is 74.5 wins. I think that's a very fair line. 74-88. Under by a hook.

Brian McPeek

AL East- Yankees
AL Central- White Sox
AL West- Angels
AL Wild Card- Red Sox

AL Cy Young- Felix Hernandez
AL MVP- Evan Longoria

NL East- Phillies
NL Central- Brewers
NL West- Rockies
NL Wild Card- Braves

NL Cy Young- Halladay
NL MVP- Pujols

World Series- Yankees over Rockies

Thoughts on the Tribe- It’s unlike me to be the guy peeing on the beach blanket and ruining an otherwise perfect day of fun and sun but, well, when you drink a lot it happens. And now allow me to start whizzing all over this party.

Tell me where the wins are going to come from.

I know they can hit.

This team will score some runs. But I’ll ask the same question this season as I did last season; tell me where the wins are coming from. I don’t have the optimism that many do regarding Westbrook and Masterson and Huff. Maybe Westbrook stays healthy. Hopefully he’s even effective. But unless the Indians are leading the division by a few games at the trade deadline, if Westbrook is healthy and effective he’s gone. Maybe Huff and Masterson are 3 and 4 starters for real. Okay, you think you get 15-20 wins from those guys?

Do you think Carmona is for real this spring? Hopefully his head and plant foot are both now in the right spot. Best case? 15 wins? More? If you believe that Hafner will be healthy and Wood will come back for that one good four month run what makes you think the Indians don’t bail on both, along with Westbrook, at the deadline?

I would. I’d get every ounce I could in the best case scenario those guys, all coming over injuries or surgery in the last year. If I’m near .500 in a crappy division come the deadline I’m not passing up the opportunity to clear that salary and those walking medical charts off my books and if you think differently you clearly haven’t been paying attention.

I just don’t see it folks. I see talent like I saw them collecting talent in ’92. They collected what turned out to be Albert Belle, Carlos Baerga, Kenny Lofton and the core of what would reach a couple World Series. They also collected (and paid) Thomas Howard, Mark Whiten and Glenallen Hill to name a few that didn’t work out.

That team was under .500.

This one will be too. 76-86 is optimistic in my opinion.

I think they win between 70 and 74 games. And I wouldn’t blame the front office if they pull the plug even if they’re in the mix if it benefits this team in 2011 and beyond.

Don’t kill the messenger. The division is awful enough they could be close to the leader. It could get ugly around these parts if the Indians stay the course and ultimately do the right thing. 

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