For the first time in I don't know how many years, I haven't bought a baseball preview magazine. I peeked through it the last time I was in the supermarket, and the one I picked up didn't even have the Johan Santana deal. So I figure, why bother? And I also figure, why don't I just write my own. So this week I'll quickly preview each of the divisions, culminating in my playoff picks and my award winners. Today we look at the American League West.
The Seattle Mariners got better. The Oakland A's got worse. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim stayed at about the same level they've been at recently. And the Texas Rangers may have done just enough to scoot past Oakland and out of last place.
The A's are in rough shape. They're like the Twins will be this year - they've gotten rid of anyone capable of making an impact this year, and whereas in past years they've been able to survive it, this year, they're going to suffer because of it. They're destined for last place. Want proof - look at their outfield and tell me who you've heard of.
Not far behind (or not far ahead in the standings, I guess), though, are the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are kind of talented. On paper, they look like a good team. But they don't win games against teams in their division, and they haven't done much to get better than last year. And last year they were in last place. Milton Bradley should do wonders for that clubhouse, incidentally. That might be fun to keep an eye on.
The race will be between Seattle and Los Angeles.
Seattle will be very good. Unfortunately for them, there will be four or five teams in the American League that will end up being slightly better, so they will be on the outside looking in come playoff time. I like the Erik Bedard deal for Seattle - but I think it will pay off next year. I think Bedard has a year of adjusting, and the Mariners are 2009 West division champs.
The reason it's not this year is because the Angels stayed good, and might even be better this year than their division-winning performance last year. They're like the opposite of the Rangers - they win the games they're supposed to...and, well, they're good. The West will be a two-horse race for much of the season, but I expect Los Angeles to pull away about mid-September: