His self image has certainly taken a visible turn for the better. A leaner Myers has shed a reported 30 lbs. in anticipation of Spring Training. In the past, his conditioning betrayed him as the season wore on. Now, having just signed a $26 million three year deal, Myers is expected to anchor one of the best starting rotations in the National League. Exonerated in
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A few pundits caution that the Florida Marlins might suffer a collective sophomore slump this coming season, to which I would reply, “Utley and Howard”. Just don’t count those kids out, especially the position players. Before anyone jumps down my throat, I am not suggesting the Marlins have any players of the same caliber as the two Phillies All-Stars, but only one year ago some were cautioning that Utley and Howard still had something to prove in their second years as fulltime starters.
On the other hand, young pitchers, always delicate it seems in this era, are another matter altogether. Already there are reports that Anibal Sanchez and Josh Johnson have had some arm problems. One report mentioned that Johnson might not even start the season with the big club and Sanchez just underwent an MRI on his shoulder. Still, the Marlins can throw a fairly potent every day lineup at you and can be expected to be very competitive.
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The defending World Champs hardly improved themselves during the off-season. They lost Jeff Weaver and Jeff Suppan among others, re-signed an ailing Mark Mulder and aging Jim Edmonds and have the Scott Rolen-Tony LaRussa sideshow to contend with. I suspect winning a World Series will not substantially brighten Rolen’s outlook that much and LaRussa has never been one to yield on questions of control.
Of course the Cardinals also have Albert Pujols, the one-man wrecking crew ,Chris Carpenter, one of the most reliable starters in the league the last few years, and sparkplug David Eckstein, but they won’t be enough.