Surprises of the year in baseball
1 — Cincinnati Reds – put together a team; the whole is better than its parts.
2 – Boston Red Sox – catastrophic injuries, team remained resilient; AL picture may have looked much differently.
3 – St. Louis Cardinals – Expected to be on par with Phillies; sunk off the coast of NL Central.
Honorable mention: LA Angeles, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers.
Bautista (Tor), Beltre (Bos), Buchholz (Bos), Hamilton (Tex), Price (TB), Dickey (NYM), Gonzalez (COL), Hudson (Atl), Huff (SF), Jimenez (COL), Votto (Cin).
(Short shelf life)
The outstanding names leaving are many: Cox, Gaston, Piniella and probably Torre. Possibly, LaRussa too.
Filling in from the top: Terry Francona (Bos), Ron Gardenhire (Min), Joe Girardi (NYY), Joe Maddon (TB), Charlie Manuel (Phi), Mike Socioscia (LAA).
The senior staff includes: Dusty Baker (CIN), Bruce Bochy (SF), Ozzie Guillen (CHW), Jim Leyland (Det).