Friday, March 6, 2009

The Preview: AL West

I got a lot of dissension during the NL Central preview yesterday, and for good reason. I really really REALLY expect the Cubs to win the Central, but I can't bring myself to make it an official prediction.

Now to the AL West, where things like curses and goats do not apply.

The AL West: Well, somebody has to win it

Best team first this time...

Angels... No matter how bad or lame their offense is, the Angels are the team to beat in this division. I'm not even doing any buildup here... because its so freakin' obvious the Angels are better than the other teams in the AL West. Starting Pitching is the big reason why. The Angels have four starters who pitched ERAs under 4 last season. Four! Thats impressive, and shows the depth of their rotation. I don't even think the Angels care that Frankie Rodriguez bolted for NY. Not a whit... They still have Scott Shields, one of the best setup guys in the game, along with new closer Brian Fuentes from Colorado.

Offense is going to be the same as it ever was, possibly worse. Anaheim (and yes I said Anaheim, Arte... live with it!) lost Garret Anderson and Mark Teixiera to free agency. Granted, they won't really miss GA, but its a bummer that they don't have much to replace him with. Torri Hunter and Vlad Guerrero have the pop of a soda can, and everyone else would celebrate if they got a ball past the infield. Nevertheless, a very capable manager, Scoscia, will make the most of whatever lineup they have and get them to a division title. Remember, this is a regular season preview, so its irrelevant if their entire rotation is "not built for October".

[that said, it would be REMARKABLE if the Angels lost in the first round again... for a third year in a row]

Now to the teams that will compete for 2nd.

A's... I like the A's, and I have no idea why. But I've always appreciated their commitment to smart management. Some good that "smart management" has done the last two seasons, but this year will be different. For one, they have Matt Holliday and got Giambi back. For two, theres also Kurt Zusuki, Eric Chavez, and a budding bullpen. Yes, we know watching A's games is like watching baseball in slow motion, but it should at least be compelling for half a season.

M's... No Ibanez? No problem! We'll bring back Jr. Griff! He's almost as good, and older, but less expensive! there ya go! The M's also feature Kenji Johjima at catcher... not great, but listen, he's a catcher, and um... ok he has good defense? Oh and they have beltre!! He's not that bad but he's not that great. Maybe Franklin Gutierrez would be a bright spot, but we have yet to see.

"Not bad but not great" is basically the M's in general. I still can't believe how dumb that Bedard for Adam Jones trade is. Unless Bedard pitches Cy Young quality innings this year, I doubt they're getting the better end of that deal. Just wait until Bedard hits the DL... again! The rest of the staff... Felix Hernandez, who's solid, and three scrubs. The bullpen isn't much better without JJ Putz. This team might have one good month of baseball in them.

Rangers... Go go power raaaaangers! More like go go steroid juicers. What a joke this franchise is. I didn't say "become", because they were a joke to begin with. Even when I was a little kid, their highlights were a 59 year old pitcher pounding Robin Ventura and a ball going off Canseco's skull. To even attempt to break them down is an insult to baseball. That is ALL.

Dave's Take: The Angels win this thing fairly easily. One could make a case for Oakland, but they'd really rely on their bullpen to get it done. Unless someone knows of farmhands in the Oak Farm System, I doubt they'll muster anyone to get through innings 1-6 consistently.


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