Remember that exciting pennant race in the American League Central?
Well, maybe not so much. Gleeman:
CoolStandings.com projects the Twins to win the division 93.9 percent of the time and Baseball Prospectus has Minnesota's odd of prevailing at 93.5 percent. In the past two seasons the AL Central has come down to a one-game playoff, but unless the Twins stumble against the Indians this weekend the 2010 drama may not even last until mid-September.
I'm actually surprised those percentages aren't higher. If the Twins manage to win 10 of their remaining 22 games -- and there's every reason to think they'll win more than 10 -- the White Sox will have to win 16 of their last 23 just to forge a tie. We generally think of such things as a long shot, but we're really talking about two long shots here: One good team must play poorly, and one less-good team must play particularly well.
And so we're reminded once again of how insignificant single players usually are. The Twins have been without their second-best player for two months, and the impact on the standings has been approximately zero. The White Sox just spent millions of dollars to add a single player, and the odds are strong that their investment will have approximately zero impact on the standings.
Every team is composed, over the course of a season, of dozens of moving parts. Most of the time, changing just one part won't change the ultimate outcome.