Thursday, September 19, 2013

AL West


Oakland Athletics (AL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: The A’s are one of the best rounded teams. Their downfall is defense with several players using their bat to make up for their glove. The pitching staff has one of the best collections of FIP and Whip pitchers available.

OUT: Chance Mantei, Craig Torres, Charles Bando, Terrence Smoltz, Roosevelt Wilson
IN: Al Navarro, Vance Cora

PREVIEW: Things were far from broken in Oakland, yet a fixing was in order. Gone is Charles Bando (3.1 war, 88 rc), and a few outliers that didn’t contribute to the success of the franchise in the way mike needed.
In comes Vance Cora, a supremely gifted player that brought in 5.1 war and 103 RC for the Orioles last year. The deal cost them Bando, Smoltz (1.2 war in 324 pa) and a gifted 2b Bobby “the flair” Blair. It’s too early to say who won that deal.
The pitching staff that dominated the AL is intact, and the bullpen is still solid with Esteban Iglesias, and Pascual Calderon. Marv Mathews (3.81 fip/1.04 whip) was actually optioned to AAA.
Lonny Soto will be a great addition off the bench as he makes his ML debut, and the same goes for Bengie Guiterrez for defensive help. There was no free agent pick ups for the A’s. They didn’t need it.
This team is even more dangerous now than before. But is it enough to get to the promised land? They haven’t been their yet, and are long overdue.


LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Although it would be hours or even days to sort through all of the trades done by the Angels, it has become apparent that trader-sweet is always looking for a good deal and a chance to improve in Orange County. This is a solid team. The role players need to step up and give the Angels that fifth guy that can produce at a higher level.

OUT: Ebenezer Lloyd, Damian Carpenter, Daryle Smith, Dickie Wallace, Melvin Damon
IN: Mario Valentin

PREVIEW: The Angels are a team in transition this season. Damian Carpenter, who made 28 starts, was traded to the Knights. Ebenezer Lloyd appeared in 72 games, and logged 127 innings was shipped to Toronto. They didn’t get any immediate ML help from those deals. Benji Limon was a starter last year, but not a successful one for the past two years wearing Angel Red. Ace Clayton Brand blew out his elbow (possibly costing a playoff spot), and then reinjured it in spring training. Jake Linebrink looks to stay in the rotation, as does aging veteran Jacob Uehara. Dave Olmos was also optioned despite having a successful year (3.96 fip/1.18 whip).
On the offensive side, Dickie Wallace was let go (0.8 War in 306 ab). Mark Nakano was lost to the Mets, and Melvin Damon and his 2.6 War was optioned. (At this point I just have to say, that someone has to get on the horn with sweet and try to get Olmos and Damon. I feel bad for those kids. They need a home in the ML.)
There were several promotions….Sal Martin (P), Sammy Sanchez (cf making debut). And reliever Mario Valentin joins the club from Arizona. But there were no other moves.
It is clear that Angels feel they can build on their 86 win season, and it appears that they are ready to make a run.

Portland Beavers (AL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Kinsella was buzzing with the news that famed owner Dakar had joined the league and taken over the Beavers deep in the heart of the northwest. The Beavers were a consistently mediocre team with the old ownership, so with Dakar will things be different? It’s going to be a long year in rainy Portland. “Keep Portland Weird”…words to live by for Dakar.

OUT: Javy Johnson, Jose Lirano, Willie Gonzales, Harry Cubillan, Lariel Juarez, Sandy Rolls, Geoff Radmanovich
IN: Hank Milton, Greg Hewson, Lance Bergeron, Fritz Munoz, Don Martin, Hunter Young

PREVIEW: Newsflash…Portland is still weird. And Dakar had a magic touch. This team had no business winning 75 games. Can the magic be repeated? Almost the entire pitching staff is GONE. Some got old (Javy Johnson…maybe he’s moving to Houston?). The survivors not voted off the island are starters Kenneth Mann, DJ Greinke (surprisingly good!), Michael Dupler, and super relievers Adam Strange, Robert Clayton, and the not so super BC Herrera (5.24 fip/1.28 whip…huh?). Suspiciously, Harry Cubillan was sent down after a strong 49 innings of work.
On the offensive side, Patrick Kipling is getting old, but he’s still awesome. Curt Ramsay is coming along nicely (2.7 War). Otto Meyers was a big question mark (negative War for a player like that???).
Hank Milton will surely help from the SS spot, Greg Hewson is a capable starter at age 35, and rule V was kind to the Beavs. Although they were not people I needed, they were on my short list (14 guys) and will help out. Lance Bergeron was a nice pickup for the bullpen (19 stamina means 10 pitches tops…). Good signings overall by Dakar.
If this offense improves, and the new pitching gels, the Beavers could challenge the Angels for a playoff spot. Things just got a lot more interesting in the Wild Wild West.


LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Things have been cold and rainy in the Emerald City since then as the M’s have won 72, 75, 68, and 64 games. One name to remember is Erik Cosby. He should be able to contribute as much as 90 runs. The Mariners gave up 883 runs…and no moves were made to make that group better or even competitive. Haven’t seen any indication the Mariners will be better, but they could be worse with the loss of Marin (their most productive hitter).

OUT: Al Navarro, Danys Lopez, Tommie Williams, Andy House, Alfonso Lecuona, Ezdra Guillon
IN: Chance Mantei, Craig Torres, Russ Byrne

PREVIEW: To sum up sug’s feelings on Seattle…WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GET THE ME THE HELL OUT OF THIS COLD RAINY HELL HOLE!?!?!?!?! I feel that this should be put up for a vote, and allow Portland the opportunity to move up to Seattle. Just my personal opinion…
Seattle folks love wet and cold (not that it’s a big deal, they have a retractable roof, but they do love the cold wet weather, just watch a Seahawks game. PEOPLE ARE CRAZY!). But as sug put it “as the GM of the proverbial team that sucks hindass (HA NO FILTER BITCHES!)…we will do our best.” One encouraging tidbit was “(it would make me happy to) see the Mariners in the Wild Card Race”. Optimism…pass it on.
To start the previews I want to point out that the pitching appears to be turning around. Mendoza is solid, Hume was a good pick up last year, and Cliff Fox is turning into an ace. Guys were let go that really weighted down the team. The bullpen still has Gary Richardson and Phil Tracy which is GREAT, (but also Howard Glenn who should be taken out Old Yellar Style).
So, how do they build further? First…FIX THE DEFENSE!!! The pitchers are good, but there is NO HELP behind them. JD Lamb should be immediately removed from RF. Alexander McGee should be removed from SS. Erik Cosby will be better in CF, and Ezdra Guillon has been sent packing. Pedro Sierra is a good catcher and it’s a good move to have him behind the dish (but with 75 durability he needs help, and George Ramirez isn’t it). Ted Gardner is not a 2b. Ed Curtis should be in LF, not as a part timer at 3b. If a few of things are done, the Mariners can be respectable again. If not, they could give up 1000 runs.
I was wrong on Cosby…he only pulled down 74 runs, with a 1.2 War. He WILL be better this year. 90-100. Count on it. Can James Hunter get to 3000 hits? Russ Byrne was a great pickup and give them at least four good starters.

PREDICTIONs: no fix on defense 60-102, fix defense 78-84

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