So, as I mentioned earlier, Detroit added Willis and Cabrera. Now, add to that Renteria and the Tigers are looking to leapfrog to first in the central. Some would say their offense rivals that of the Yankees and the Red Sox -- actually, most wouldn't even include the Sox in the discussion anymore. The Tigers may grow to be the powerhouse they are reputed to be, but I don't think it'll happen 'til '09 at the earliest. They may end up getting what they want, but I think tplayers' performances will get lost in the NL/AL translation for awhile.
The NL is like Triple A plus, to the AL's Major League.
Detroit is a big market with big market pressures. It's also the American League. And it's one of the most competitive divisions.
Cabrera will be on a competing team, where other teams will be dialed in to playing the Tigers. I believe he caught NL pitchers and teams off-guard when they faced him. Besides being a better pitching league, that's not happening anymore -- everyone knows his hitting rep and, while I've heard he's a smart hitter in the vein of Manny ?Ramirez, it may take a season and a half to learn the new ropes.
Renteria may have a head start because he went this route before, to less than stellar results with the Sox... then went to Atlanta and broke out offensivesly -- I'm not convinced if the Sox had kept him he would've done the same in Boston, so it was a good let go. I'm similarly skeptical of Renteria being in the top 30 in hitting this year, even though he was #3 in the NL this year.
It took Beckett a season to overcome his fireballing tilted ego to reel it in, assess the league & himself, and approach hitters in a winning way. Willis isn't the pitcher that Beckett was in the NL, let alone what's going to happen in the AL. I don't see him getting past a #3 starter - #2 if the rotation sees injuries.
The odds of all three falling flat in '08 are far better than all three picking up where they left off, and I think I'll be wrong with someone.. but I think I'll miss the mark with only one player at best. However, in '09 or '10, who knows...
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