CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Outlook. The Sox, in moves characteristic of their aggressive GM Ken Williams, acquired RHP Jake Peavy last July 31 and OF Alexis Rios last Aug. 10. They were anything but the standard "quick fixes" you see in the middle of the season. The team took on more than $100 million in combined commitments because it viewed the two players as pillars for the future. That future is now for Rios, who was awful, and Peavy, who pitched well in September. Spotlight on. Manager Ozzie Guillen, whose latest flap has concerned Twitter - his usage of it.
Final word. They win the division with their strong starting rotation.
2009: 79-83, Third place.
GM: Kenny Williams.
Last playoff appearance: 2008.
Outlook. This was going to be a breakout season. The Twins broke out of their old ballpark, the Metrodome, for the great, gorgeous outdoors of Target Field. They picked up 2B Orlando Hudson, SS J.J. Hardy and DH Jim Thome, re- tained RHP Carl Pavano and locked up franchise player C Joe Mauer. But they sustained a huge blow when closer RHP Joe Nathan went down (right elbow injury).
Spotlight on. Target Field. The Twins made the most of their dome-field advantage, but can they maintain that advantage playing a more normal brand of ball?
Final word. The starting rotation will falter in the new place.
2009: 86-76, First place.
Last playoff appearance: 2009, Lost in Divisional Series to Yankees, 3-0.
Prediction: 3rd place
Outlook. What a long, strange trip it has been for this team. It kicked off the winter trading OF Curtis Granderson and RHP Edwin Jackson - an apparent sign that 2010 would be a rebuilding year. But then they signed veteran closer RHP Jose Valverde to a two-year, $14-million agreement, and in spring training added OF Johnny Damon. Now they have a chance to contend, if they can find some run production.
Spotlight on. 1B Miguel Cabrera. After a winter of treatment for alcohol abuse, Cabrera professes to be a new man.
Final word. A very interesting club that has a bright future, but too many questions loom over this season.
2009: 86-77, Second place.
GM: Dave Dombrowski.
Last playoff appearance: 2006.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Outlook. We are long past the time when loyal Royals fans can point to Major League Baseball's system and blame it for the franchise's woes. Kansas City spends money now, but with a pointed lack of intelligence. This offseason, the Royals picked up C Jason Kendall, CF Rick Ankiel, LF Scott Podsednik and 2B Chris Getz, a series of acquisitions that should prompt Royals fans (bless their souls) to shake their heads and say, "Yeesh."
Final word. Until they stop taking on poor veteran talent, it's going to be bad.
2009: 65-97, Tie for fourth place.
Manager: Trey Hillman, third season, 140-184, .432.
GM: Dayton Moore.
Last playoff appearance: 1985.
Prediction: 5th place
Outlook. Even after their slow start, the Indians didn't intend to trade LHP Cliff Lee and C Victor Martinez, because the ace and All-Star catcher had reasonable contracts for 2010. But emerging financial concerns forced Cleveland to sell low on their two assets, and assured that this season would be all about rebuilding. Ex-Mets coach Manny Acta is the new manager.
Spotlight on. DH Travis Hafner has more than $40 million guaranteed to him through 2012, and he hasn't been able to stay on the field the last two seasons.
Final word. RHP Jake Westbrook could be an interesting trade-deadline target.
2009: 65-97, Tie for fourth place.
Manager: Manny Acta, first season; third season overall, 158-252, .385.
GM: Mark Shapiro.
Last playoff appearance: 2007.