JEFF PEARLMAN

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My 2009 Baseball Predictions

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The first-ever JeffPearlman.com predictions page. Guaranteed to be 100% (not) accurate …

AL East

1. New York Yankees—Will run away with everything. Sabathia and Burnett will both win in double figures. In fact, Sabathia will probably be the first guy to win 15.

2. Boston Red Sox—Just not in the same class. David Ortiz will have a rotten year, likely plagued by steroid allegations. They’ll probably release Smoltz, and he’ll be signed by, oh, St. Louis.

3. Tampa Bay Rays—Hard to do it again. But they’ll hang around.

4. Toronto Blur Jays—They’ll surprise for a while, then slip back to earth, then consider trading their ace. But they won’t.

5. Baltimore Orioles—Added nothing.

AL Central

1. Detroit Tigers—Edwin Jackson is the man.

2. Chicago White Sox—I could see them adding Alex Rios.

3. Minnesota Twins—I can almost guarantee Joe Mauer is an MVP candidate.

kansascityroyalsphotodayb4z_acc5rdzl4. Cleveland Indians—Victor Martinez will be traded to Boston. Mark my words.

5. Kansas City Royals—For three-straight years in the early 2000s I picked KC to shock the world (Where have you gone, Mark Quinn?). I’m not falling for it again.

AL West

1. Los Angeles Angels—The class of the division.

2. Texas Rangers—Admittedly a stretch. But I’m probably America’s lone Ron Washington fan … and this division suddenly stinks.

3. Seattle Mariners—Don’t be surprised if they add Jack Wilson from the Pirates. Maybe Ian Snell, too.

4. Oakland A’s—I’ll be shocked if Holladay and Giambi last the season.

NL East

1. Philadelphia Phillies—Raul Ibanez is a stud, as if Jason Werth. I’m guessing they’ll trade for Cliff Lee and sign Pedro Martinez.

2. Florida Marlins—Hanley is the man. But Andrew Miller? Boy, does he stink.

3. Atlanta Braves—They have lost their way. Look for a deal for Ryan Church.

4. New York Mets—I just have a hunch that everyone will get hurt and Omar will, at some point, call a press conference to humiliate himself.

5. Washington Nationals—Lastings Milledge, the modern-day Darren Bragg. That’s not a compliment.

NL Central

1. St. Louis Cardinals—Too deep, too strong. And John Smoltz, who will arrive at some point, kicks butt.

2. Milwaukee Brewers—I like it.

3. Chicago Cubs—They’ll likely lose 10 of 13 in August. Just because.

4 Houston Astros—Not good enough.

5. Cincinnati Reds—Terrible.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates—Paging Ed Ott … Mister Edward Ott …

NL West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers—Manny, 2008: Bliss. Manny, 2009 (assuming he returns to this planet to play baseball): Headaches. But they still rule.

2. San Francisco Giants—Great young pitching, plus a surprising young star. Maybe an infielder.

3. Colorado Rockies—Goodbye, Clint.

4. Arizona Diamondbacks—Pitching overcomes all this year … and they have none.

ph20071023010015. San Diego Padres—A mess.

AWARDS:

AL MVP: Joe Mauer, Twins

NL MVP: Albert Pujols, Cards

AL Cy Young Award: Zack Greinke, Royals

NL Cy Young Award: Tim Lincecum, Giants

AL First Manager Fired: Probably no one.

NL First Manager Fired: Clint Hurdle, Rockies