Originally Posted by metaldude26
It wouldn't take too much in the way of internal improvement for that to happen. Simply getting a healthy Longoria (not a guarantee, of course) could be worth 3-4 extra wins. Then all you need is for each of the young pitchers (Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, Jeremy Hellickson) to bring you one or two more wins and suddenly you are ahead of the game.
There's also no discounting Joe Maddons' ability to make lemonade. For that reason alone you can't discount them.
Shields averaged just about 15 wins a season for them over the past 3 years and 225 IP/year and I don't think the remaining pitchers are ready to fill that void....yet. On paper their pitching staff will take a hit in games won vs the staff they put on the field last year (I'm not saying some youngsters couldn't step up in a big way but that sort of stuff doesn't/shouldn't really factor into conservative season long predictions). Price has shown us the best of what he has to offer so it's up to Hellickson, Moore and Cobb to make up the difference and if they can't eat the innings that Shields was logging then the trickle down effect on the entire bullpen could become noticeable. On top of all that they've lost one of their main bullpen arms in Davis! Dude ate up 70 innings with a glowing 2.43 ERA , 11.13K/9 and 1.09 WHIP so in actual fact they've not only lost one of their most reliable starters but they've lost a workhorse out of the pen also. None of this even takes into account that Rodney is 35 and just miraculously came up with BY FAR his best season ever. I'd bet my house that he can't repeat!!!!
I do completely agree that a healthy Longoria will play a huge role in the team having any chance of repeating last years performance but I just don't buy any predictions that have them with a better record than last year unless people are simply trying to come up with ways that it's conceivable. I will concede that it is conceivable