Major League Baseball begins

It may be hard to believe, but opening day for baseball is less then a month away. A lot of changes happened during the offseason that are sure to make for an exciting season.
First, let’s look to the National League and the hometown favorites, the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies were quite busy during the offseason, signing multiple players such as former all-star utility man Ty Wigginton, all-star closer Jonathon Papelbon and slugger Jim Thome. The Phillies are by far one of the most balanced teams in the National League. The only downside to the Phillies’ offseason was losing Roy Oswalt via free agency-but with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee on staff, the Phillies still have one of the better rotations in baseball.

One of the Phillies’ biggest competitors this year will be division rivals, the newly relocated Miami Marlins. The team added a bunch of all-star-caliber players like Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell and Carlos Zambrano. The Marlins, under new manager Ozzie Guillen, look poised and ready to challenge Philadelphia for the top spot in the NL East.
The National League is going to be wide open this year. With the departure of all-star Albert Pujols, who signed a huge deal with the Los Angeles Angels, it will be very hard for the 2011 World Series champions, the St. Louis Cardinals, to repeat their victory.

The Milwaukee Brewers lost their all-star first baseman Prince Fielder to the Detroit Tigers, another American League Team. With two of the best hitters now on American League teams, pitching will truly dominate this year in the National League.

Over in the American League, it is the exact same story as any other year: There are a bunch of teams, but only about five of them really matter. This year, those teams are the Angels, Tigers, Rangers, Red Sox and Yankees.
Each team has a unique story line this year that should make for an entertaining and exciting season.
The Angels made a lot of free agency signings, the biggest names being Pujols and Jered Weaver.

Division rivals, the Texas Rangers also made a big offseason move by signing number one pitching prospect Yu Darvish. He was Japan’s top pitcher last year and is projected to do well in the major leagues.
The Detroit Tigers are interesting because of the arrival of Prince Fielder.

And then there are the Red Sox and Yankees. After a devastating collapse last season (at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles!), Boston will be looking to rebound. They did not make many major offseason moves, but the Red Sox always have a team capable of winning.

Surprisingly, the Yankees did not do much either this offseason. They did, however, trade AJ Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates, which may strengthen the team. Do not be surprised if, once again, they are the most dominant team in the American League.

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