Joe Sheehan of SI.com and a million other baseball websites has provided his list of ten predictions for the coming season.  It seems appropriate considering that as we near the end of 2010, if you’re not arguing about the Octavio Dotel signing or slinging mud at moral grand standers who won’t accuse but proclaim their suspicion over PED use among Hall of Fame candidates, you’ve really got nothing better to do than take a shot at the future’s dart board.

I’m not really big into predictions, but in that spirit, allow me please to provide my own crystal ball foresight into the coming year with a single safe estimate: the Boston Red Sox will be very good.

As Sheehan says while predicting that the Phillies won’t surpass 96 wins:

It’s easy to win December: make the biggest trade, sign the biggest free agent, lose the least talent, and no one is shredding their elbows or having trouble locating their fastball or just plain feeling old. It’s harder to win September, when stat lines give way to baseball games, bad bounces, human frailty. It was three years ago that pundits — myself included — were raving about the Tigers’ 1,000-run offense in the wake of their trades for Edgar Renteria and Miguel Cabrera. That team won 74 games, finished last and fell just 179 tallies shy of a grand.

But as Sheehan also suggests, with all due respect to Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke, Boston arguably added the top free agent (Carl Crawford) and top trade target (Adrian Gonzalez) this offseason, drastically improving a team that was already pretty darn good considering they were only six games out of the playoffs after one of the most injury plagued seasons in baseball history.  Adding Bobby Jenks and potentially more to a bullpen that showed signs of strain last season makes them even stronger.

Speaking of all this spooky forecasting, Replacement Level Yankees Weblog has the first CAIRO predictions of the year, which come with a warning to not get one’s panties in a bunch.  The projected standings tend to favour teams that have already completed their offseason shopping.

Here’s how CAIRO sees the AL East finishing:

TM W L RS RA Div WC PL W+/- RS+/- RA+/-
Red Sox 98.1 63.9 856 690 54.6% 15.6% 70.2% 9.1 38 -54
Yankees 89.1 72.9 835 740 23.2% 21.7% 44.9% -5.9 -24 47
Rays 87.1 74.9 707 640 17.9% 18.7% 36.6% -8.9 -95 -9
Blue Jays 74.1 87.9 693 737 2.6% 5.8% 8.4% -10.9 -62 9
Orioles 70.1 91.9 723 813 1.8% 2.9% 4.7% 4.1 110 28

It’s going to be yet another tough year.

And The Rest

Speaking of teams not yet done their offseason shopping, MLBTR has a list of cures for the ails of every team in baseball.  Although, it should be noted that some ailments are far more serious than others.

Sticking with MLBTR, they’re now saying that six teams are in on Chad Qualls.  We argued back and forth about the Octavio Dotel signing yesterday, and I kept suggesting that Qualls would be a far superior option.  It will be interesting to see how much he gets in negotiations with these teams considering the wide disparity between his surface numbers like ERA and the statistics that take more into account like FIP.

Yesterday, we also took a look at Jeff Bagwell’s claims of innocence when it comes to PEDs, and while parts of what he said may have sounded suspect, overall he made a good case.  Somehow, I can’t extend the same trust to Rafael Palmeiro’s claims.  He’d still be on my Hall of Fame ballot though.

Then again, only a true witch would deny being a witch.  So, burn them all at the stake.  I’m not accusing Dan Graziano of being a piece of [Getting Blanked] hack journalist whose thought process is so hampered by idiocy it amazes me he’s able to speak coherently let alone write, but I am suspicious.

Speaking of which, The Hardball Times asks if collusion is to blame for Jack Morris’ case.

WAR Graphs rule!  And there goes your day.

Maybe Ozzie Guillen’s son should have walked away from the laptop when he began tweeting about Bobby Jenks.  Then again . . . maybe not?

The sad career trajectory of Nick Markakis has been as disappointing as a clown being shot out of a cannon and not reaching his mark(akis!).

Scott Boras.  That’s a [Getting Blanked] ton of money.

Making Miller Park tastier.  Could someone please do this in Toronto?

Finally, old baseball movies look really, really, really cool.