A: That's a great question. We'll never know the answer, of course. But I do believe the Rangers could have won the AL West without Young and from there, anything can happen.
This is to take nothing away from Young, who produced a .338 average/213-hit, 106-RBI regular season, and made a successful transition to DH/utility infielder. He also led the team in at-bats, total bases, doubles and on-base percentage.
But it speaks more to how much talent the Rangers have. Let's say Young was dealt — to Colorado (as was discussed last winter), or somewhere else. A couple of other scenarios then could have unfolded.
Maybe Texas would have hung onto Chris Davis longer, given him more of a chance to break through and establish himself at the major-league level. Instead, Davis got only 78 at-bats, was sent down to Triple-A Round Rock and traded to Baltimore. Or more likely, Mike Napoli would have played far more at first base than he did, and Yorvit Torrealba and Mike Treanor would have logged more time behind the plate. Finally, they could have made a trade for another bat.
Either way, Young's production wouldn't have been entirely replaced. But the dropoff probably wouldn't have been enough to keep them out of the playoffs.
A: I'd say the chance is miniscule. It's no secret that Fielder wasn't thrilled with previous contract results in Milwaukee, and now that he has his one big shot at free agency, he won't be taking any 'hometown discount' to stay put. Not when his agent is Scott Boras.
And there's no way the Brewers can match the money that will be offered to Fielder from a handful of potential suitors. If Albert Pujols stays in St. Louis — the chance of which has risen lately — Fielder's marketability will increase even more.
Bad body notwithstanding, Fielder won't even have to sign with an American League team. He prefers to play first base than be a DH, and you can count the Marlins, Nationals, Giants and Cubs among the likely NL teams to be interested.
A: No less an authority than Tony La Russa said after the LCS round that all the bad starting pitching is "freaky', and also called this postseason, "the weirdest. I've never been a part of anything like this.''
Through the LCS round, the Cardinals and Rangers had the highest combined starting pitchers' ERA (5.53) of any two World Series teams, so this is indeed a strange occurrence. But I'm not sure it will carry through the World Series, and I expect one of the starting staffs — most likely the Rangers — to perform better.
Obviously, both rotations pitched far better during the regular season, or these two teams wouldn't be here. In fact, the Rangers had all five starters record between 13 and 16 victories — enough depth to allow the move of Alexi Ogando to the bullpen, which has become a real area of strength for the Rangers.
I'm not as confident in the Cardinals rotation beyond Chris Carpenter. But both teams have been able to compensate for the lack of starting pitching with dominant offenses and bullpens.
Enjoy it while it lasts, because you may not see anything like it for awhile.