Baseball Prospectus is out with it's 2010 predictions.
Although it speculates that the Cardinals will win the National League Central, which seems to be the man on the street view as well, I was a little bit surprised by how mediocre of a team the book projects the Redbirds to be:
St. Louis Cardinals 84 78
Cincinnati Reds 82 80
Chicago Cubs 79-83
Milwaukee Brewers 79-83
Houston Astros 76 86
Pittsburgh Pirates 70 92
I'd take it, if this is the way things pan out. It sure seems like it could be an exciting race with four teams basically in an all or nothing battle for the division title or nothing until the very end -- because 84-78 doesn't seem likely to snag the wildcard playoff berth...
But what is the beef with the Birds? They have a much improved lineup, two of the top three pitchers in the NL, according to the Cy Young balloting and a solid if not spectacular bullpen. The only glaring weakness is the bench. And I think it is safe to assume that improving that is tops on GM John Mozeliak's to-do list...