WTNYFebruary 12, 2004
Central Questions
By Bryan Smith

Sorry, can’t bring a whole lot of writing to the table today. I have the NL Central questions, but not the corresponding questions that the Easts got. And no, this is not East Coast bias, I’m a central boy born and bred. Kyle Farnsworth, Guillermo Mota, and B.J. Ryan all avoided salary arbitration yesterday...which was the largest story of February 11. I’ll be back tomorrow with more...

Chicago Cubs

Five Pressing Questions
1. How does Dusty organize the veteran middle of the infield?
2. Maddux or Cruz in the fifth spot?
3. Will Derrek Lee reach the potential he had with the Padres and Marlins?
4. Can Joe Borowski keep red-hot with Hawkins breathing down his back?
5. Will one of the Cubs’ starters have their arms fall off?

Houston Astros

Five Pressing Questions
1. Can the bullpen recuperate from losing their best reliever?
2. How do the veteran starters pitch?
3. Are Biggio and Bagwell really down the drain?
4. Is Richard Hidalgo as good as the 2004 version shows?
5. Will the lack of depth come back to haunt the team?

St. Louis Cardinals

Five Pressing Questions
1. How does the back end of the rotation do?
2. Does Jason Isringhausen have a genuine set-up man?
3. Is Jeff Suppan the Pirate or Red Sox version?
4. Who plays the 1B/LF spot that Pujols doesn’t use?
5. Who plays second base?

Pittsburgh Pirates

Five Pressing Questions
1. Will Jason Bay make noise in the Rookie of the Year talks?
2. Will Craig Wilson finally get some playing time?
3. Can Kris Benson bounce back from injury?
4. Is there a person in baseball who knows any reliever on this team?
5. Oliver Perez. Breakout or no?

Cincinnati Reds

Five Pressing Questions
1. Is Adam Dunn anything more than a present day Rob Deer?
2. Can Ken Griffey Jr. bounce back from injury?
3. Is there any way of avoiding having the worst rotation in baseball?
4. Will Ryan Wagner get the closer’s role?
5. Is Austin Kearns ready to become a superstar?

Milwaukee Brewers

1. Will Ned Yost realize Keith Ginter is a better choice than Junior Spivey?
2. What will Scott Podsednik do in year 2?
3. Is there a starter in the Milwaukee organization worth talking about?
4. Will Dan Kolb continue his end of the year success?
5. ETAs of J.J. Hardy, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart?