Here’s my picks for the American League West.
- Anaheim Angels: The most unchanged team in the division. Normally, this would be a worry, but given the relative youth of the team, and it’s can-do attitude, I’m favoring the Angels at this point. However, traditionally, teams that win it all, have a hard time repeating, especially teams that were, possibly, over achievers. It’s a hard emotional road to win it all when you are supposed to be medicore at best. Still, the Angels have solid pitching and an offense that knows how to score runs and pressure the other team. It’s hard not to favor the Angels.
- Oakland Athletics: Key off-season loses are Jeff Tam, Ray Durham, Cory Lidle and Billy Koch. But, Tam is only a middle reliever (though a good one), Lidle is at best a number 4 starter, even on a team without the 1-2-3 rotation of the A’s and Durham was kind of a rent-a-player anyway. Losing Koch hurts. It’s unclear who will be the A’s closer at this point, which is why I’m not picking the A’s to repeat their 100-win season and take the West crown. Though you gotta love the pick up of Erubiel Durazo for the D’Backs. What was Arizona thinking?
- Seattle Mariners: Any team that thinks Dan Wilson should be the starting catcher ahead of Ben Davis has a screw loose. Besides, this team is essentially unchanged from last year, and outside of some pretty good pitching, it ain’t that great of a team.
- Texas Rangers: Pudge is gone. So after Alex Rodriguez, what is there left? Decent off-season pick ups in Doug Glanville, Ugueth Urbina, Esteban Yan (maybe), Ismael Valdes (maybe), but it’s not enough to make up for the loss of Pudge. This team sucked last year. It will suck this year. And probably next year, too. Hopeless isn’t the right term to describe the state of the Rangers. Until they can rid themselves of A-Rod’s salary, they will be predictable cellar dwellers.
Next, the National League East.