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THE PAYOFF PITCH . . .
ALBERT CHEN
April 04, 2011
BEST CASE
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April 04, 2011

The Payoff Pitch . . .

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WORST CASE

Ownership's investment in 2011 is wasted as the lack of an experienced closer spells disaster. The aging roster shows its warts, and kids like Gordon Beckham and Chris Sale fail to develop.

BEST CASE

Comeback seasons from Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner and breakouts by Justin Masterson and Carlos Carrasco in the rotation set up the Tribe as a contender for 2012.

WORST CASE

Injuries continue to mount and the young rotation struggles, and an early-season dive forces a trade-deadline exodus of top veterans. Cleveland gets further from the postseason, not closer.

BEST CASE

They flirt with .500 as Billy Butler and Alex Gordon make big leaps and the prospects that begin to arrive make a splash. For once, K.C. fans look forward to next year.

WORST CASE

With the thin rotation faltering and veteran free-agent signings turning into busts, the team's struggles result in the front office rushing prospects to the majors prematurely.

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