Home of the mighty Athletics. A new owner took over last year...but it was the same old result. The A's win the division, advance beyond the DCS, ALCS, and play in the World Series. Is there anyone in this division that can step up and take on the venerable A's?
(ps - the only division that I have personally seen every single team, in person, at their home stadiums in real life)
Key Players Returning: Omar Bonilla , Alex Gabriel , Lorenzo Manto , Sean Pearson , Albert Castillo
Key Players Leaving: Bobby Raggio (fla), Felix Turner (STL), Ugueth Ontiveros (FA), Alex Diaz (FA)
New Additions: Harry Guzman (STL), Alex Nolan (STL), Einar Gonzalez (STL), Merv Christopher (phi), Eugenio Johnson
Prediction: The answer to the question above is...no. And not for a long time to come. Their best players are all young and not even close to their prime. Yet the wins keep coming. And the sneakiness is enough that if you aren't paying close attention you will miss it...the A's are actually REBUILDING (through trades, not draft/intl). UH OH...for all the teams in the west.
Key Players Returning: Patrick Kipling , Ed Pickering , Brad Carlson , Albert Ortiz , Benny Ryan , Jesus Feliz , Ned Stanton , Hector Romano , Paulie Winn
Key Players Leaving: Jerry Grieve (clv), Bret Simmons (sd), Jean Carpenter (mil), Branch Vitiello (AZ),
New Additions: Ned Reed (phi), Wilt Terry (tex)
Prediction: The Beavers have some good young talent. Kipling is a solid player. But their pitching staff will take a beating this year. I predict a last place finish for the Beavers this year as the rebuilding continues. If call ups are made, they might climb out of the cellar, but it could be more prudent to wait.
Key Players Returning: James Hunter , Craig Frazier , Merv Edmonds , Rodrigo Marin , Kent Robertson , Kelly Strickland , Tommie Williams , Dicky Watson , Phil Tracy (rule5-houston)
Key Players Leaving: Peter Kaye (FA)
New Additions: Midre Valdez (oak), Erik Fox , Tommy Heredia
Prediction: The M's have a truly horrible offense outside of Hunter (who would be a fringe player on a lot of teams). But the pitching staff (at least 4 of 5 starters) are very solid. However, it's not translating into runs allowed (787 runs = 4.85 rpg). One deficiency is on defense. They are weak at shortstop, catcher, and especially thirdbase. Making some slight improvements to their priorities in this area while they rebuild might help them rebound and move into contention.
Key Players Returning: Eric Murray , Eric Ducey , Ezdra Guillon , Germany Adcock , Geraldo Hernandez , Rico Mendoza , Spike Henley , Fred Miller
Key Players Leaving: Travis Murphy (FA), Harry James (FA), John Jackson (FA), Luis Pineiro (BOS), Vasco Castillo (CIN), Graham Ardoin (NYY), Steven Leon (Bos), Howie Voigt (TB), Derrek Rivers (TB), Blade Malone (TB)
New Additions: Brandon Matthews (TB), Luis Flores (TB), Mark Russell (mtl), Matt Person (bos), Erubiel Vasquez (balt), Bill Smith (TB)
Prediction: I really like this team. Is it possible to go from last to a playoff spot? (They won't challenge for the division). They get on base, can hit, and upgraded their pitching. Their bench is still a little weak, but there is some talent in the minors. Overall, I think they are still a year or two away plus a few big moves from contending.