West – That Four Team Division
I don’t call my column East Coast Bias for no reasonâ€¦ I only have half a clue when it comes to West Coast teams. You should probably check out My West Coast Brutha for some better looks at the west coast.
What’s To Like: They’ll be in contention come August and September, like every year. The team is built the same way they’ve always been built. There isn’t much anyone can say about the A’s that hasn’t been said nine million times previously.
What’s Not To Like: Huston Street isn’t filed under “dominant” by any stretch. They lost their ace, which is never good for any team. The question is whether or not Harden can grab the mantle and run. The fun question is this: do California fans care enough to boo Zito when he comes back across the bay for inter-league play. I’ll go with no.
The Verdict: I have to pull for the A’s a little by default this year due to Piazza finally biting the bullet and falling into a DH slot. By the by: if you’re in to fantasy sports and haven’t drafted yet, look for Piazza in the sixth or seventh round. He’s the only DH with Catcher eligibility. At the risk of being dead wrong for a second straight season, the Athletics take second in the west while trying to adapt to not having their ace any more. I’ll also tentatively put them on the short list of “the Mets really need a pitcher who isn’t 50” trade list.
Los Angeles Angels
What’s To Like: It’s easier to list what’s not to like on this team. Then again, I loved the Angels last year and the Athletics owned them. I love their line-up, anchored by Vlad. I love their rotation. I love their closer. I can’t see them not winning 95-games this year. Of course, I couldn’t see it last year either, so take it with a grain of salt.
What’s Not To Like: Nothing. Even in a league where everyone is struggling for middle relief, they have Scott Shields who was tops in the league with Holds last year, Darrin Oliver who bailed the Mets out of many a sticky situation with long relief, and K-Rod to close things out.
The Verdict: If I didn’t essentially pick this same thing last season, I’d have no reservations. The Angels win the division with about 90 wins.
The Verdict: I’m not going to pretend to know much about the Mariners. If it isn’t named Ichiro, I got nothing for it. What I do know is I don’t think they’re nearly as good as the Angels or the A’s and, as such, I put them at third in the division. I got nothing else.
The Verdict: Has anyone predicted them winning the series this year due to Buck Showalter’s untimely firing? Anyone? If they do, can we get the Royals or the Bucs to hire him for a few seasons to truly test his powers?
See above for the extent of my Rangers’ Knowledge. Until the Rangers prove that they don’t suck and exist to be more than “The other team that Scott Boras is negotiating with”, they do nothing for me. I’m sure they’ll play better than most teams in the NL Central, but I’m calling them as the coveted “AL West toilet.”