Results tagged ‘ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ’
Josh Hamilton, as you might have heard, hates people in Texas. Or Dallas. Or the Rangers. Something. With all the booing Hamilton received this weekend you’d think he’d have done something really, really bad. He had a poor stretch as the 2012 season came to an end, which didn’t sit well with fans, some perceived it as “giving up,” which is silly because I don’t get that. He signed with the Angels over the off-season, and the Rangers didn’t want to take that kind of financial gamble on him, so I’m not sure why they’re so mad about that. Would they have booed him less if he went to another non-AL West team? Yea, maybe a little. But what he said in Spring Training really got people in Texas going. Just stirring angry. Here’s what he said:
“Texas, especially Dallas, has always been a football town. The good with the bad is they’re supportive, but they also got a little spoiled at the same time, pretty quickly. You can understand a really true, true baseball town. There’s true baseball fans in Texas but it’s not a true baseball town.”
How dare he say Dallas is a football town! Mark Cuban is going to be pissed. And how will the Dallas Stars’ clever twitter account respond to that one??
Of course, you know that people are angry that he said Dallas isn’t a “true baseball town,” even though he clearly, and rightfully, acknowledged there are true baseball fans in Texas. Many people that attended the first games were really butthurt about this quote. Then I saw this sign on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball:
This can be read multiple ways:
- Before Arlington Hamilton was a was Baseball 1981 Born 1972 Town Now
- Before Hamilton was born 1981 Arlington was a Baseball 1972 Town Now
- Before Hamilton was born (1981) Arlington (1972-Now) was a Baseball Town
Huh. So from 1972-April 7, 2013 Arlington has been a baseball town? I’m hoping I see some really impressive figures to show me that this is the case. Should I not feed the trolls? I absolutely shouldn’t, but I’m curious because I actually forreally reals do not know what attendance was like before Hamilton, or myself, were born. Luckily for me, baseball reference always comes around to save the day:
|2013||Texas Rangers||4||2||2||Rangers Ballpark in Arlington||138,080||46,027||1st of 10|
|2012||Texas Rangers||93||69||2||Rangers Ballpark in Arlington||3,460,280||42,720||2nd of 14|
|2011||Texas Rangers||96||66||1||Rangers Ballpark in Arlington||2,946,949||36,382||5th of 14|
|2010||Texas Rangers||90||72||1||Rangers Ballpark in Arlington||2,505,171||30,928||5th of 14|
|2009||Texas Rangers||87||75||2||Rangers Ballpark in Arlington||2,156,016||26,617||8th of 14|
|2008||Texas Rangers||79||83||2||Rangers Ballpark in Arlington||1,945,677||24,021||11th of 14|
|2007||Texas Rangers||75||87||4||Ameriquest Field||2,353,862||29,060||8th of 14|
|2006||Texas Rangers||80||82||3||Ameriquest Field||2,388,757||29,491||7th of 14|
|2005||Texas Rangers||79||83||3||Ameriquest Field||2,525,221||31,176||6th of 14|
|2004||Texas Rangers||89||73||3||The Ballpark in Arlington||2,513,685||31,033||6th of 14|
|2003||Texas Rangers||71||91||4||The Ballpark in Arlington||2,094,394||25,857||7th of 14|
|2002||Texas Rangers||72||90||4||The Ballpark in Arlington||2,352,397||29,042||6th of 14|
|2001||Texas Rangers||73||89||4||The Ballpark in Arlington||2,831,021||34,525||5th of 14|
|2000||Texas Rangers||71||91||4||The Ballpark in Arlington||2,588,401||31,956||5th of 14|
|1999||Texas Rangers||95||67||1||The Ballpark in Arlington||2,771,469||34,216||5th of 14|
|1998||Texas Rangers||88||74||1||The Ballpark in Arlington||2,927,399||36,141||4th of 14|
|1997||Texas Rangers||77||85||3||The Ballpark in Arlington||2,945,228||36,361||4th of 14|
|1996||Texas Rangers||90||72||1||The Ballpark in Arlington||2,889,020||35,667||3rd of 14|
|1995||Texas Rangers||74||70||3||The Ballpark in Arlington||1,985,910||27,582||5th of 14|
|1994||Texas Rangers||52||62||1||The Ballpark in Arlington||2,503,198||39,733||3rd of 14|
|1993||Texas Rangers||86||76||2||Arlington Stadium||2,244,616||27,711||6th of 14|
|1992||Texas Rangers||77||85||4||Arlington Stadium||2,198,231||27,139||7th of 14|
|1991||Texas Rangers||85||77||3||Arlington Stadium||2,297,720||28,367||7th of 14|
|1990||Texas Rangers||83||79||3||Arlington Stadium||2,057,911||25,096||7th of 14|
|1989||Texas Rangers||83||79||4||Arlington Stadium||2,043,993||25,234||9th of 14|
|1988||Texas Rangers||70||91||6||Arlington Stadium||1,581,901||19,530||11th of 14|
|1987||Texas Rangers||75||87||6||Arlington Stadium||1,763,053||21,766||10th of 14|
|1986||Texas Rangers||87||75||2||Arlington Stadium||1,692,002||20,889||8th of 14|
|1985||Texas Rangers||62||99||7||Arlington Stadium||1,112,497||13,906||12th of 14|
|1984||Texas Rangers||69||92||7||Arlington Stadium||1,102,471||13,781||12th of 14|
|1983||Texas Rangers||77||85||3||Arlington Stadium||1,363,469||16,833||10th of 14|
|1982||Texas Rangers||64||98||6||Arlington Stadium||1,154,432||14,252||11th of 14|
|1981||Texas Rangers||57||48||2||Arlington Stadium||850,076||15,180||10th of 14|
|1980||Texas Rangers||76||85||4||Arlington Stadium||1,198,175||14,977||9th of 14|
|1979||Texas Rangers||83||79||3||Arlington Stadium||1,519,671||18,761||8th of 14|
|1978||Texas Rangers||87||75||2||Arlington Stadium||1,447,963||17,658||9th of 14|
|1977||Texas Rangers||94||68||2||Arlington Stadium||1,250,722||15,441||9th of 14|
|1976||Texas Rangers||76||86||4||Arlington Stadium||1,164,982||14,382||5th of 12|
|1975||Texas Rangers||79||83||3||Arlington Stadium||1,127,924||14,099||5th of 12|
|1974||Texas Rangers||84||76||2||Arlington Stadium||1,193,902||14,924||4th of 12|
|1973||Texas Rangers||57||105||6||Arlington Stadium||686,085||8,470||11th of 12|
|1972||Texas Rangers||54||100||6||Arlington Stadium||662,974||8,610||10th of 12|
Don’t you think “Baseball Towns” would consistently rank in the at least the top five of their league? They did so in 1974-1976, so maybe the area was feeling a little baseball-y, but with a capacity of over 35,700, through 1985 Rangers fans were only able to break 1.5 million attendees once with a possibility of being able to seat 2.891 million fans. This doesn’t mean there weren’t true baseball fans around, just saying the attendance data doesn’t suggest it was that kind of town from 1972-1985 whatsoever. Now, I do get that it’s hard to support a 100 loss team, I do, but there were also some winning records there, as well.
The question for now though that is Arlington a baseball town in the present an accurate statement is not one I could factually and emphatically state “yes” or “no,” and I know the SABR conference mentioned something about the growth in “unique” Texas Rangers fans, so I don’t think Arlington is inching away from becoming a baseball town. Word that I’ve just seen around twitter is that Arlington still isn’t a baseball town, what with their love for football at every level. Their current ballpark, The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, has the potential to bring in nearly 3.9 million fans a season with the over 48,000 seating capacity it has.
So now that some Rangers fans live with a sound bite-sized chip on their shoulders, I’ll see it as interesting to see how they show up in good times and bad, and when I visit sometime in either 2014 or 2015, I’m very interested to see what I’ll experience when I get to the area, but it’s not going to matter to me whether it’s a baseball town or not. Just give me baseball.
The regular season begins
this Sunday tomorrow at 5:05PM PST when the Texas Rangers play the Houston Astros in that famous AL West rivalry, which means this week is all about previews, bold predictions, and message board put downs. I will say I am not good at predicting things, so let’s get that straight. Like everybody else though, I have an opinion on the matter of how events will play out. Let us preview the postseason, where the best team doesn’t always win due to the randomness of how the short series will go. It’s a first team to eleven wins once the DS begins, and normally the team that catches fire tends to do the celebrating. Also in my analysis, the team that scores more runs tend to win games. I’ll start with who I have going into the playoffs, then the predictions of the resulting postseason series. After that, I’ll go into regular season awards.
NL Playoff Seeding
1. Washington Nationals
2. Cincinnati Reds
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Atlanta Braves
5. San Francisco Giants
Wild-Card Play-in Game
Atlanta beats San Francisco
Atlanta beats Washington
Cincinnati beats Los Angeles
Cincinnati beats Atlanta
AL Playoff Seeding
1. Detroit Tigers
2. Toronto Blue Jays
3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
4. Tampa Bay Rays
5. Texas Rangers
Wild-Card Play-in Game
Tampa Bay beats Texas
Detroit beats Tampa Bay
Toronto beats LA of A
Detroit beats Toronto
World Series (game will be in AL Park when AL wins ASG)
Detroit beats Cincinnati
Don’t worry Tiger fans, I’m sure my predictions won’t be correct!
Regular Season Awards
I will go into who the MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year for both leagues will be. These will also probably be wrong.
AL MVP — Mike Trout
Asking me if I’m mad, bro? Nah, not mad, but let’s say Mike Trout does even 80% of what he did in 2012 in 2013, and his team gets to the playoffs, the voters are going to give him his “redemption,” and feel good that “see, we don’t hate advanced stats,” as we roll our collective eyes together. Sophomore slump? Maybe a little, but the only thing that will stop this fish is if he gets hurt playing the game.
NL MVP — Justin Upton
They say a change of scenery can do wonders for a player, and how about playing with an organization that wants you? I’d say that’s a good start. I think Upton will have a career year, players like Braun and Posey will regress a little, and Upton will find his team in the playoffs. Justin Upton may not have the best year of everybody, but I think he gets the award.
AL Cy Young — Justin Verlander
Kind of like Trout, he’s only going to get stopped by an injury. He should continue to rack up the pitcher wins, satisfying the old school, and his team will make the playoffs all with lots of money, and lots of strikeouts. Probably not many multi-homer against games though. Verlander is just excellent.
NL Cy Young — Clayton Kershaw
Dickey was a great story in 2012, but I still side with the overall metrics a bit on Kershaw, believing he got snubbed by just a little bit, nothing too controversial. Kershaw, like Verlander, will be getting plenty of pitcher wins behind a boosted offense, and he’s still really, really good. Oh, and his team will be going to the playoffs so that equals instant votes.
AL Rookie of the Year — Jackie Bradley Jr.
Shot up the prospect lists in 2012 into 2013, and is projected to start with the team. For the kid, the defense will be getting peoples attention, while the stick may not be able to do anything super special, it’ll be enough. Lots of names for both RoY awards, JBJ just happens to be my guess right now.
NL Rookie of the Year — Zack Wheeler
Wheeler will not come up until June and he’ll still get the award. Dominating the minors, and yes, I understand the pain he’s going to cause Giants fans, but the kid is good, and will be going after his opposition from the get-go with heat and curveballs and breaking balls and strikeouts.
Let’s hear what your predictions are! Pretty much anything goes before the season gets going.
The regular season begins this Sunday at 5:05PM PST when the Texas Rangers play the Houston Astros in that famous AL West rivalry, which means this week is all about previews, bold predictions, and message board put downs. I will say I am not good at predicting things, so let’s get that straight. Like everybody else though, I have an opinion on the matter of how events will play out. As I preview these divisions, I’ll tell you a little of what sport betting sites see, what computer simulations see, and what I see. The teams will be previewed in the reverse order I expect them to finish. Let us preview the AL West, where everyone is welcoming in the Astros, and my predictions are pretty predictable.
5. Houston Astros
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 50/1, 125/1, 250/1
Stuart sees: a franchise that got forced into the AL West when the club got sold and bought, and now there will be interleague all the time and it’s all your fault, Houston. (Is nothing sacred anymore?!?!?) I’m not sure how bad this team will be, especially in the AL West. I’m going to say all overall aspects of this roster are below average, and when that kind of thing happens, get ready for nobody showing up to Minute Maid Park, and continued talk of what will happen in the future. If you read that Danny Knobler article on the Astros and agreed with everything, I don’t know what to tell you besides that article was a load of [noun]. Hopefully last year was the worst of what we’ll see out of Houston, but it may be this year. Don’t see them beating out Seattle for fourth.
4. Seattle Mariners
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 15/1, 50/1, 100/1
Stuart sees: a bunch of guys that guy play first base or hit designated-ly. Have fun Seattle Mariners pitchers, because you get Michael Morse, Jason Bay, and Raul Ibanez guarding those foul lines for you, although might they still be able to hit? Maybe, yes, but gosh this team’s overall defense is just going to be one giant sad face. Despite having a lineup that might be able to hit, an “eh” rotation, and a maybe decent bullpen, help is on the way, and it’s in the form of arms and a new battery. RHP Taijuan Walker, LHP Danny Hultzen, LHP James Paxton, RHP Brandon Maurer, and catcher Mike Zunino are all expected to be called up some time in 2013, it’s just a matter of when will that happen? Should these guys mentioned hit their ceilings, Seattle won’t have an unbeatable rotation, but they will have a strong, and deep set of guys ready to go.
3. Oakland Athletics
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 5/1, 16/1, 33/1
Stuart sees: a team that could sneak in again if the Rangers lose their way like they did at the end of 2012. I’m not sure they can pass the Angels, but the Athletics have a decent lineup with good depth in Chris Young, and Derek Norris, although I’m not expecting the lineup to blow you away. The rotation, led by Brett Anderson and Jarrod Parker, should be good again, but my question mark will be the bullpen and how they do this year. I’d love if the energy from the Coliseum is there on a routine basis just like it was at the end of the season, but I think we all know that their stadium and their stadium situation is just a mess. Bringing the Astros into this division definitely will not hurt Oakland’s (or Texas’, or the Angels’) chances of lowering their win-count.
2. Texas Rangers
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 9/4, 15/2, 16/1
Stuart sees: a team that did well in the offseason not to overdo it on guys like Josh Hamilton, Kyle Lohse, or keep around the statue of leadership known as Michael Young. Lance Berkman was brought in for what looks to be his swan song, while questions of “how will top prospect Jurickson Profar fit” will keep the masses talking. The lineup still looks like it can hit, and the rotation should be strong. The bullpen should get a nice addition in Joakim Soria in May, but they’ll hope he’s not too-damaged goods and will be able to make that back-end of the bullpen into a game over scenario. Neftali Feliz also had Tommy John surgery in early August, so he will be a welcome force once he is ready to come back for the home stretch. Can this team overtake the Angels of Orange County? Yes, but they’re going to need some help from the Angels, and from their bullpen to keep their team in the games.
1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 2/3, 9/2, 17/2
Stuart sees: money money moneyyyyy being spent all over the place but who in the heck knows how they were just able to get rid of most of Vernon Wells‘ contract to the Yankees. What will doom the Angels is their starting rotation after Weaver and C.J. Wilson. You have Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas, and Tommy Hanson. Your first thoughts after that should either be 1) who’s in the minors to take one of their spots (answer: ???), or 2) how’s their bullpen (answer: decent). Lucky for the Angels they have the bats to combat this lack of back-end pitching that will allow some homers here and there. The top half of the Angels lineup will be trouble for the opposition, and if that top half stays healthy, the Angels will probably be riding those bats and their top two arms to a division title. If something goes wrong, specifically with their rotation, I could see this team missing the playoffs.
This AL West set of predictions was pretty standard, but if you got some dark horse picks/flippity-floppity going on or you want to agree, I’d love to hear it in the comments section!
I had this article sitting on ice yesterday. Was just waiting for a certain pitcher to get off the market, but didn’t happen until this morning.
Announced around noon PST yesterday, news out of Anaheim (not Los Angeles) shocked just about everyone when they signed Josh Hamilton to a 5/$125MM deal and right now you can see him slotted in between Albert Pujols and Kendrys Morales here. We’ve heard Torii Hunter may be a little unhappy with that organization, and while the Angels may have gone two more years further than anyone else for Josh, there’s no doubt that in 2013 at least their lineup is pretty formidable. Now they just need to strengthen that starting rotation. My feelings about the contract are that this could be good for about two to three years, and then a whole lotta blah. Good for the Angels for going for it, though. This is also great for non-LA/OC area fans because now everyone will be rooting against any team with the name “Los Angeles” in them, and that’s never a bad thing, although this probably makes both LA/OC teams their respective division favorites on paper. Word has also been spreading that the Angels will face the Reds and Rangers first, two of Hamilton’s former teams.
Underrated Free Agent Anibal Sanchez is finally off the market, after the Detroit Tigers matched the Cubs’ offer in years and then added a few more dollars to give him a 5/$80MM contract. Sanchez and his agent gave the Tigers one last shot to match the 5-year deal from the Cubs, as Bob Nightengale reportes that Detroit initially offered him a team friendly 4/$48MM deal, and then raised it to an about market value deal that was reached by both sides. In the end, it appears Anibal Sanchez really wanted to be with an organization that had the image of being in the contenders role for more of the five years in his deal, and I know a lot of people see a lot of logic in that, myself included. Writing yesterday about the 5/$77MM the Cubs offered, I said that the Cubs should get most of the value of Anibal from that deal, and so the same goes with a 5/$80 with the Tigers. In the playoffs, Anibal Sanchez was the #3 pitcher behind Doug Fister and Max Scherzer.
As for major free agents still left? We’re still waiting on Michael Bourn to find a home, and teams that could employ him are looking for cheaper options, like that of Peter Bourjos and Dexter Fowler.
Today could be a day of many trades, and Atlanta and the Angels of Anaheim have kicked off the day with some names you’ve heard of: Atlanta sending Tommy Hanson out for Jordan Walden. Here’s why Atlanta may be saying that they were ready to part ways while he had value:
This is his average velocity through the years on his fastball. Notice how in 2009 it’s in the 90′s , and in 2010 it’s also there, and 2011 OK it’s still there but the velocity range is down and then in 2012 you’re like dude, not even touching 95 anymore? What did you get older? No, but really, it’s not like Hanson has been consistently good: like his decline in fastball velocity, he’s seen a rise in BB/9 and FIP, which is not a good thing at all. Here’s what they got in Jordan Walden (who still doesn’t hit arbitration until 2014):
That’s in three seasons (’10-’12), the first one in 2010 not even being a full season in the bigs. His velocity looks like this:
It’s not the triple digit heat you might remember him for anymore, but mid-90′s is nothing to scoff at. The Braves add another power arm to their already powerful bullpen. If Hanson (going into his first of three arbitration years) regains his form, this will be a great trade for the Angels, but as it is on paper, I deem the Braves the winner of this early morning trade.
With the Dodgers losing at the hands of their rival Giants tonight 4-3, they have now ended their pixie-dust-and-crazy-money-powered run at the postseason in 2012. Hard to say they will always play second fiddle to the Giants in the future, because I don’t think that will be true for 2013. However, they are out, and their fans are of course, very disappointed. But what about the Angels fans with MVP-candidate Mike Trout, and new signees Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson? They’ve gotta be hating life right about now as well.
This is the NL West on May 27th:
Sure it was a while ago, but that’s pretty hard to keep up a 68% winning rate, shoot even the Nationals and Reds, who own the best records in baseball, have a 60.2% win% right now so you might be able to see why this was perceived as unsustainable. Fast forward to September 22nd and it’s all:
I know, right? The Rockies’ win% got better. Oh, and there was a 18.5 game swing between the Giants and the Dodgers. Holy moly.
Now for the Angels, who never really had a 7.5 game lead or anything but whatever on July 2nd:
Would ya look at that, the Angels with a 2.5 game lead for the #4 spot. Things were looking great. Mike Trout was reminding us how unathletic we were at his age, Albert Pujols wasn’t being crappy April Pujols, things were great in Anaheim (as my wife likes to point out, it’s not Los Angeles). And then, well we all saw yesterday:
I like to think this was more of a wth run by the A’s than a Red Sox-ian or Braves-ian collapse by the Angels. They do have the 5th best record in the AL (better than the AL Central winning Tigers), so they really got beat out by a team that played out of their minds, but I’m sure their bullpen knows they could’ve done better.
Both playoff teams from California will be from the Bay Area. Let that sink in, because we probably didn’t think that’d be the case in July, much less in May.
So fortunately… but actually unfortunately, when the local teams lose, especially down here, the crowd moves on, and that means I get to hear about the NBA and NFL non-stop now which is going to be super annoying. If you’re in a baseball playoff town, you should feel lucky. It really could be a lot worse for you.
If you’re like my finacee, the biggest problem you have with the Angels is that they have the city name “Los Angeles” in front of their name when they are clearly in Orange County and the only thing Los Angeles-y about them is that they love the wave, and they’re surrounded by freeways. Their fans drench the seats in red better than the Doyers do in blue, which is kind of cool, and they got a rock in LCF, which I would probably understand if I’d just taken the ballpark tour. Just because this team can never pass the Rangers, don’t think they’re no good, because they are certainly capable.
Monday, June 18th: RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Jerome Williams (yes, that Jerome Williams)
One sentence preview: The Angels are about to get Matt Cain’d as many focus on the consecutive batters retired streak of Cain’s.
Tuesday, June 19th: LHP Barry Zito vs. LHP C.J. Wilson
One sentence preview: This may be the pitching mismatch of the series, and I doubt there will be a blister on C.J.’s finger to save the Giants from facing him.
Wednesday, June 20th: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. **RHP Jared Weaver
One sentence preview: I’ll be at this game, guys, so don’t worry about it,no matter who the Angels decide to put out there.
The Angels’ Bullpen Guide
Things may be going well for the Giants (or we’re getting blown out) if you see: Hisanori Takahashi, David Pauley, or David Carpenter
Runs might be tougher to come by against: Jason Isringhausen, LaTroy Hawkins, Jordan Walden, Scott Downs, Ernesto Frieri (former Padre)
Small Sample Sizes (SSS) and the 2012 Season for the Bats
While Mike Trout (.396 wOBA, 6 HR, 16 SB, 13.3 wRAA) or some “Pujols” guy (.320 wOBA, 10 HR) you’ve heard of may be the biggest names on the offensive side of the halo, you’d be silly to overlook the strong Mark Trumbo (.418 wOBA, 15 HR, 19.2 wRAA) who is warranting some serious All Star consideration. Erick Aybar hasn’t been doing so bad the past 7 days (.457 wOBA) but with a.467 BABIP and a 7.1 LD% rate, don’t be surprised if Mr. New Contract cools off. Alberto Callaspo (.372 wOBA L7) hasn’t been doing so bad himself lately, but him and Aybar have .286 and .264 wOBA, respectively, so Alberto may just be having one of those times right now.
How’s this for your SSS: in the last 7 games, your 3 highest wOBA on the Giants belong to the BBB: Brandon Belt (.572 L7, .335 overall), Brandon Crawford (.457, .261), and Buster Posey (.434, .357). Melky (35.3%), Pablo (35%), and Belt (35.3%) are all scorching the ball with line drives in their last seven. On the opposite side of things, Angel Pagan hasn’t been producing too much lately (.192 wOBA, .231 BABIP, -2.1 wRAA, 14 wRC+) in his last 7 but maybe some warmer weather will change things up for Mr. Pagan.
Monday: Giants win (Matt Cain. Any questions?)
Tuesday: Angels win (Although it’d be great if C.J. Wilson could regress to Barry Zito levels for a game)
Wednesday: Giants win in extra innings (Los Angeles and Orange Counties figuring out this Ryan Vogelsong guy is pretty good, while San Francisco gets to see for themselves how good Jared Weaver is)
I know I never predict the Giants lose a series, but with the pitching they throw out there, why should I expect them to lose one? Enjoy the games, ladies and gents!
Miami had its 15 minutes of fame. Jose Reyes? Oooooooh. Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle? Ahhhhh. New stadium? Ooooh. Federal investigation? Ahhhhh. And then the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim — or as I like to call them: “The Anaheim Angels,” come in and take CJ Wilson and Albert Pujols almost at the same time. Holy moly, we all thought. But are they better than the Rangers yet? I don’t think so, but I know the bandwagon in the Orange County side of town has a lot more members now for a reason. This division is going to get interesting. Meanwhile, Gio Gonzalez could be traded to just about any team needing prospects as the A’s gear up for the 2014 season and no, that’s not a joke. They’ll fit right in with the Houston Astros. The Seattle Mariners are up to a load of nothing but the reigning back-to-back AL Champions have been busy adding more pieces to their bullpen because they’re freakin’ loaded with cash. Oh and that stud in Japan everyone’s talking about? They just won the bid to have exclusive contract negotiations with him at a cool $51.7MM. Even though only 2 teams have done some big-league-ready additions, the focus of baseball fans are shifting west a bit to watch some big names play. We don’t even know where Prince Fielder will go. Just imagine if he lands in that West division somewhere.
Think of the matchups you’ll see: Darvish vs. Ichiro, Feliz vs. Pujols, Hernandez vs. Fielder (maybe). That just sounds cool.
And then here we have the NL West. You liked it in 2010 when two offensively challenged teams fought for the title in Game 162. In 2011 Arizona used its offense and up-and-comers to take over the division from the crowned champions. So naturally every team goes into the offseason thinking, “We have to get better. How do we do that without signing a big name?” Every team has done their due diligence. One has done a great job doing it in one trade, and that was the Padres in trading Mat Latos to the Reds. The Giants have improved their offense in my opinion with Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan but the health and the back end of the rotation along with Brian Wilson’s elbow remain question marks for me. The Rockies were convinced Michael Cuddyer should be overpaid, especially after Josh Willingham was given a fair 3/$21MM deal. The DBacks did do a good job of getting Takashi Saito to a 1/$1.25MM but then trade for Cahill and then sign Jason Kubel? Confusing considering they’re considering platooning a Gold Glove defender (I understand that these awards may not be the best, but still a testament to Gerardo Parra being a better defender). And then there’s the Dodgers, who are adding every AAAA middle infielder known to man and signed Capuano and Aaron Harang and those AAAA all to 2 year deals just about.
Now imagine these matchups you could see in the NL West in 2012: Aaron Harang vs. Melky Cabrera, Edinson Volquez vs. Jason Kubel, Huston Street (as a Padre) vs. Michael Cuddyer. Doesn’t exactly have the same ring the AL West does, now does it?
So excuse MLB Network and ESPN when you see an overhaul of AL West games, especially involving the Angels and Rangers or both over games involving the teams in the NL West. Things are about to get exciting in the AL West, while in the NL West we’re left scratching our heads wondering what’s to come.
The sun is shining on the West, for sure. Just not in the parks that have the pitcher batting 9th.