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The American league central has gone through drought for the past few years. All the teams are going for a youth movement. The Twins, White Sox and Royals all look to contend. Coming off a cinderalla-like season the Royals are now the favorites. The lowly Tigers have made great strides to reach superiority in an inferior division. Indians are going no-where in the near future and Ozzie Guillen's Sox have looming question marks and this may be the last year the core of the team remains.
 
The Royals following a cinderella season under the 1st full year under Tony Pena must continue with their passion. With young stars like Mike Sweeney and Mike MacDougal they have a solid young core with a good enough pitching staff. But most importantly offseason pickups in Juan Gone, Bentio Santiago and Scott Sullivan must return to their previous dominating statures otherwise the offseason was a waste of  money for the Royalty. Expect a 1-3 finish this year.
 
The Indians are in a hopeless downspin. With young stars in Jody Gerut, C.C. Sabathia and Milton Bradley they can win someday. But if the Indians had kept the likes of Brian Giles and Richie Sexson among others, hom much better could they have been?! But in one of the best ballparks, Jacobs Field, will play one of the league's worst teams. Despite young talent, they do not have the experience to win right now.
 
The Chicago White Sox led by new manager Ozzie Guillen and out spoken incumbent Frank Thomas will continue their winning years. Whether they will actually capture the title is a huge question mark. With looming questions about whether Magglio and Konerko will be around and can Koch and Takatsu prosper at the back end of the pen. Gem Esteban Loiaza and Buerhle must lead the pitching staff, but they do have a good enough team for at leat a 3rd place finish.
 
The Twins went to the youth movement this year. With losses of trash-talkin AJ, everyday Eddy they have lost much of their core. But they did a great job as they stuck with Stewart, Santana and many others including Doug what's-his-face. Joe Mauer will be left with the task of holding together a very young staff and pen. The hustling Twins, playing with the home-field advantage, led by Torii Hunter and trade-rumor flying Jacques Jones will most likely finish in the top 3.
 
The Tigers must just finally not lose a billion games and finish in last place. For sure this season they will not near 120 losses. Under Alan Trammell's newly found optimism along with adds of Pudge Rodriguez and Jason Johnson the young staff will have a second chance to shine. With veteran leadership brought in with Rondell White and Fernando Vina, they must just have a chnace for a top 3 finish. But the bullpen remains a question, along with a few other things. A couple for guys and a little more experience will help, otherwise they will finish in 4th place.
 
CENTRAL - RACE W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA STRK L10
Minnesota 90 72 .556 - 48-33 42-39 801 758 Lost 2 7-3
Chicago Sox 86 76 .531 4 51-30 35-46 791 715 Won 3 6-4
Kansas City 83 79 .512 7 40-40 43-39 836 867 Lost 3 4-6
Cleveland 68 94 .420 22 38-43 30-51 699 778 Lost 2 3-7
Detroit 43 119 .265 47 23-58 20-61 591 928 Won 2 5-5

2004 PREDICTED FINISH:
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Team-by-Team Outlook:
 
Chicago White Sox:
Manager:
Lineup:
          Harris-2B    Valentin-SS  Perez-RF Everett-DH Lee-LF    Konerko-1B
Crede-3B    Rowand-CF  Burke-C
Rotation:
            Buerhle       Contreas Garland        Garcia        Grilli
Bullpen:
           Cotts        Marte         Takatsu        Adkins    Diaz              Politte
              
Munoz       Bajenaru Schoenweis
Bench:
           Uribe        Gload      Borchard       Alomar    Valdez
Added:
Lost: Ryan Wing, Sandy Alomar Jr.
Offseason Grade: Coming in March

Cleveland Indians:
Manager:Eric Wedge
Lineup:        
          Lawton-LF    -SS Gerut-RF  Crisp-CF     Hafner-DH Broussard-1B
Blake-3B   Martinez-C  Belliard-2B
Rotation:
             Sabathia    Lee        Westbrook  Elarton    Betancourt    Denney
Bullpen:
            Riske       Howry          Miller         Guthrie           Davis
White         Tadano        Bartosh   Cabrera        Cruceta  Scott Sauerbeck
Bench:
           Boone        McDonald  Ludwick  Phelps       
Bard         Sizemore    Peralta      Phillips        
Added:
Lost: Omar Vizquel, Bob Wickman, Lou Merloni, Tim Laker
Offseason Grade: Coming in March

Detroit Tigers:Gary Knotts
Manager:Alan Trammell
Lineup:player
                                    photo
          Logan-CF   Infante-2B  Pudge-C   Young-DH Higginson-RF White-LF
Pena-1B    Munson-3B  Guillen-SS
Rotation:
            Johnson        Maroth    Bonderman    Robertson
Bullpen:
            Ledezma   Urbina     Knotts         Walker       Yan
Colyer        German    Novoa            Lewis
Bench:
           Inge         Monroe       Thames     Smith      Shelton     Granderson
             
Raburn  Gomez     DeWayne Wise Byron Gettis
Spring Traning NRIs:
Dingman   Ennis
Added: Colby Lewis, DeWayne Wise, Byron Gettis, Craig Dingman, John Ennis
Lost: Craig Dingman, John Ennis, Al Levine
Offseason Grade: Coming in March

Kansas City Royals:
Manager:Tony Pena
Lineup:               
        Berroa-SS     DeJesus-CF Stairs-1B Pickering-DH    -3B  Nunez-RF
Gotay-2B   -C  -LF
Rotation:
               May        Grienke      Wood      Anderson       George
Bullpen:
             Sullivan       Affeldt      Cerda      Camp        MacDougal
Reyes       Carrasco    Geroge       Bautista
Bench:
          Buck           Relaford         Phillips
Added:
Lost: Dee Brown, Byron Gettis,
Offseason Grade: Coming in March

Minnesota Twins:
Manager:Ron Gardenhire
Lineup:
           Stewart-LF   Rivas-2B Morneau-1B Koskie-3B   Hunter-CF  Jones-rF
LeCroy-DH  Blanco-C    -SS     
Rotation:
              Santana     Radke      Lohse       Silva    
Bullpen:
           Nathan          Rincon   Romero        Balfour    Muholland
Crain           
Bench:
         Ojeda          Cuddyer     Ford        Restovich   Miller        Kubel
Luis Rodruguez
Added: Corky Miller,
Lost: Joe Beimel, Aaron Fultz, Jose Offerman, Pat Borders, Christian Guzman
Offseason Grade: Coming in March

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