AL Central

Spring Training '99: The Major Issues

February 21, 1999|By ROCH KUBATKO

Chicago White Sox

Manager: Jerry Manuel

1998 record: 80-82, second place

No. 1: Club must replace the run production lost when Albert Belle and Robin Ventura signed elsewhere. Rookie Carlos Lee, 22, will get a long look in left field.

No. 2: DH Frank Thomas may be dealt as team falls out of the race.

No. 3: First baseman Paul Konerko struggled with Dodgers and Reds after being 1997 Minor League Player of the Year. Is he for real?

No. 4: What to do with high-priced pitching flop Jaime Navarro?

No. 5: Will shortstop Mike Caruso keep his errors at a reasonable count? Like, say, double digits.

Cleveland Indians

Manager: Mike Hargrove

1998 record: 89-73, first place

No. 1: Even without a bona-fide No. 1 starter, they probably won't be bitten in this toothless division.

No. 2: Will Roberto Alomar stay happy and motivated now that he's with brother Sandy?

No. 3: The Indians count on Sandy to rebound offensively. It won't happen if the knee and back problems return.

No. 4: Will shortstop Omar Vizquel's desire to renegotiate his contract lead to a trade?

No. 5: The bullpen added Ricardo Rincon and Jerry Spradlin. Was it enough?

Detroit Tigers

Manager: Larry Parrish

1998 record: 65-97, fifth place

No. 1: Can Willie Blair recapture the magic that made him a 16-game winner in 1997?

No. 2: Dean Palmer hit 34 homers in Kansas City and should top that at cozy Tiger Stadium.

No. 3: Parrish must decide if Damion Easley, coming off a career year, or Palmer will hit fifth.

No. 4: Japanese right-hander Masao Kida gets a chance to join the rotation but must improve his off-speed stuff.

No. 5: Parrish is largely unproven as a manager. So was Buddy Bell; you know what happened to him.

Kansas City Royals

Manager: Tony Muser

1998 record: 72-89, third place

No. 1: If Kevin Appier is traded, Jose Rosado could become the No. 1 starter. Blindfolds will be handed out at the gates.

No. 2: What about the rest of the rotation? Better yet, don't ask.

No. 3: Can anyone here play shortstop? Can anyone here at least fake it?

No. 4: If Jeff King remains in K.C., his temperamental back will be a season-long concern for Muser.

No. 5: One relief candidate is former Oriole Terry Mathews. If he comes to Camden Yards, please be gentle.

Minnesota Twins

Manager: Tom Kelly

1998 record: 70-92, fourth place

No. 1: Pretty soon, the highest-paid person in the clubhouse will be the bat boy.

No. 2: Brad Radke will have to win, oh, about 75-80 games for the Twins to be competitive.

No. 3: Why keep $4 million-plus closer Rick Aguilera when there won't be many leads to protect?

No. 4: Just how much will the Twins regret cutting loose Pat Meares in another cost-saving move?

No. 5: How long before Kelly runs screaming from the room? The over-under is July 1

Pub Date: 2/21/99

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.