Season Preview: AL West

Time to move to my own team’s division, as I take a look at the AL West. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East and AL Central.

Last Year’s Records
Texas – 90-72
Oakland – 81-81
Los Angeles – 80-82
Seattle – 61-101

Notable Additions

Los Angeles – Vernon Wells, Hisanori Takahashi

Oakland – Hideki Matsui, David DeJesus, Brian Fuentes, Grant Balfour, Josh Willingham, Rich Harden, Brandon McCarthy

Seattle – Miguel Olivo, Jack Cust

Texas – Adrian Beltre, Arthur Rhodes, Mike Napoli, Brandon Webb

Notable Losses

Los Angeles – Mike Napoli, Juan Rivera, Hideki Matsui, Scot Shields

Oakland – Rajai Davis, Vin Mazzaro

Seattle – Russell Branyan, Jose Lopez

Texas – Cliff Lee, Vladimir Guerrero, Frank Francisco

My Thoughts

Los Angeles – When I first look at the moves that the Angels made, I really like what they did in terms of how it affects my own favorite team, the A’s. This is a team that really does not look like it has improved overall, and managed to spend quite a bit of money doing it. They looked to be one of the main suitors for Carl Crawford, and failed to sign him. Adrian Beltre would have been an amazing fit, especially given the fact that third base has been a black hole for the Angels for parts of the last few years. Instead, they went out and acquired Vernon Wells. While Wells is a solid player, his best years are probably behind him. I talked about that trade when it happened, and I still think it’s an awful trade for the Angels.

Oakland – I’m excited to see what the team can do this year, but I’m not 100% sold that the offense has been given enough of an upgrade to leap past the Rangers. The pitching is very good, and I really like what they did with the bullpen. But I am concerned about whether the additions of DeJesus, Matsui, and Willingham are big enough upgrades over the players for those positions last year. They seem like they are still a bit short on the power side, but with their pitching they may not need as much power as some teams. Something I do foresee happening if they fall out of the race early is for the team to start shopping a bunch of their relievers. They couldn’t get a big bat to sign in Beltre or Lance Berkman, so instead went and spent that money on more bullpen help.

Seattle – This is a team that is continuing to rebuild, and there isn’t a lot to look forward to with this year’s team any more than there was with last year’s. They will hope for improvements from Justin Smoak and a bounceback season from Chone Figgins, but there’s really not a lot of other places where they have improved. There is some hope coming, as prospects Michael Pineda and Dustin Ackley could both be in the Majors before the All Star break.

Texas – The Rangers are looking to repeat as American League champions, and losing Cliff Lee is probably the largest hole in their roster. They were able to replace Vladimir Guerrero‘s bat with Adrian Beltre, although at the expense of face of the franchise Michael Young. Their pitching still contains question marks in the rotation, but they are hoping that Brandon Webb will provide some much needed innings, and there still remains the possibility of Neftali Feliz successfully converting back to a starter.

Overall Thoughts

The AL West always gets a bit of a knock on it for being a bit of a weaker division, and this year’s group probably isn’t going to dissuade anyone from that opinion. The Rangers, Athletics and Angels all could win 90+ games and the division, but I’m not particularly confident which one it will be, or if even one will do it.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. Texas
2. Oakland
3. Los Angeles
4. Seattle

3 responses to “Season Preview: AL West

  1. Pingback: Season Preview: NL East | Jason's Baseball Blog

  2. Pingback: Season Preview – NL Central | Jason's Baseball Blog

  3. Pingback: Season Preview – NL West | Jason's Baseball Blog

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