Tuesday, February 11, 2014

30 teams, 30 spring training questions-Ken Davidoff

2/10/14, "30 teams, 30 spring training questions," NY Post, Ken Davidoff

"Let’s lay out the top spring-training questions for all 30 teams. We’ll start with last year’s best team by record and work our way down:

1. Boston: How will the continuing flirtation with free agent Stephen Drew impact their development plans for young shortstop Xander Bogaerts?
2.  St. Louis: Where will stud rookie outfielder Oscar Taveras start the 2014 season?
3. Oakland: What would be the best day for Michael Lewis to stop by for lunch? (Yeah, the A’s are in pretty good shape.)
4. Atlanta: Can B.J. Upton put together solid Grapefruit League numbers to establish a foundation for moving away from last year’s fiasco?
5. Pittsburgh: Can their first-base options (Gaby Sanchez and Chris McGuiness) convince the Pirates to keep away from the Mets’ Ike Davis in trade discussions?
6. Detroit: Will Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, both coming off recent “core muscle” surgery, be healthy enough by Opening Day?
7. Dodgers: What version of Matt Kemp, recovering from two offseason procedures, will Don Mattingly have by the March 22 opener in Australia?
8.  Cleveland: Will youngster Danny Salazar prove he’s ready to replace the (probably) departed Ubaldo Jimenez as a frontline starting pitcher?
9. Tampa Bay: Can the Rays’ coaching staff figure out how to turn Heath Bell into a useful reliever again?
10. Texas: Is Jurickson Profar ready for the everyday job at second base?
11. Cincinnati: Can rookie manager Bryan Price win over the Reds’ position players just as his fellow former pitching coaches John Farrell (Boston) and Bud Black (San Diego) did?
12. Washington: Can Bryce Harper work on tempering his ferocious approach in order to be available for more games?
13. Kansas City: Will last year’s 86-win showing change the team culture for the better, even with Ervin Santana (likely) departed?
14. Yankees: Can Derek Jeter show anything approaching durability, let alone anything approaching his 2012 skills?
15. Baltimore: Is Tommy Hunter the right guy to succeed the traded Jim Johnson as closer?
16. Arizona: Who will be the closer — J.J. Putz, Addison Reed or someone else?
17. Angels: How does Albert Pujols, professing good health, look?
18. San Diego: Can Josh Johnson stay healthy at least through the Cactus League schedule?
19. San Francisco: Is new arrival Tim Hudson fully recovered from last year’s nasty right ankle fracture?
20. Mets: Who is the starting first baseman, and does the loser of the Davis/Lucas Duda competition stick around?
21. Milwaukee: Will Ryan Braun’s teammates fully welcome him back?
22. Colorado: Can new first baseman Justin Morneau (replacing icon Todd Helton) show glimpses of his old self?
23. Toronto: As negotiations progress with free agents Jimenez and Santana, what will the starting rotation be?
24. Philadelphia: Will a winter’s rest make Ryan Howard any better?
25. Seattle: Can Robinson Cano make it through the Cactus League schedule without thinking to himself, “I’ve made a terrible mistake”?
26. Minnesota: How close to ready for prime time are prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano?
27. Cubs: Will new manager Rick Renteria establish a connection with the many young players that previous skipper Dale Sveum couldn’t?
28. White Sox: What will Cuban rookie first baseman Jose Abreu look like in his first Major League Baseball experience?
29. Miami: How will veteran Rafael Furcal project after missing all of last year due to Tommy John surgery?
30. Houston: Can the Astros start to push past the “Tanking for high draft picks” phase with a productive, esteem-building spring?"

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