Spring Training Preview: AL West
The thing to keep in mind about the Angels is just how easy a path they have at the moment. Neither the A's nor the Rangers are a threat in the division, and while the Mariners won 88 games last season, they weren't quite that good a team. Even with
This is the first A's camp in nearly a decade that brings together a team without championship aspirations. That's a hard sell for Oakland fans, who never got a taste of postseason success while the team was good, and now face the prospect of watching bad teams in a lousy ballpark for a few years. There's the potential for excitement here, as Cunningham,
The Mariners' record outpaced their performance in '07, which may have set expectations a bit too high in '08, pushing the team to invest in Silva and give up one of the game's best prospects in Jones. Adding Bedard is attractive -- he could put up amazing numbers in Safeco Field with an unbalanced schedule -- but trading Jones for two years of him, given the team around Bedard, was unwise. The Mariners just aren't good enough to contend.
The Rangers will probably get out of the AL West cellar in 2008, if only because the A's will be free-falling past them on their way to 98 losses. Whether they can finish above third for the first time since 1999 depends on assembling a back end of the rotation, and how healthy a collection of injury cases can stay. A lightning strike -- like getting 1,500 PAs out of Bradley, Hamilton, and