The Champ’s MLB Preview: AL West

Sorry about the delay between previews. The Champ got a little hung up in being a corporate juggernaut, postgrad supernova. Let’s continue. Time to let you Texas fucks have a little fun. Today, I dissect the AL West.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Angels spent more money this offseason than their name has letters, signing Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson to contracts that would only make sense in California. But outside of that, the Angels have one of the best rotations in baseball and will finally see Kendrys Morales back in their lineup after missing nearly two full seasons after breaking his leg celebrating a walkoff home run. The rotation is top notch. Jared Weaver, CJ Wilson and Dan Haren headline the rotation with Ervin Santana rounding out the four spot. Pretty impressive when you have a guy who would be most teams’ ace in the four spot. But outside of that, the Angels are a very old team. They’ve really gone all-in for the next three years. Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, Vernon Wells and Albert Pujols all began to show signs of regression last year. I just don’t think the Angels have done enough to overtake the juggernaut that is the Texas Rangers in the AL West.

92-70, 2nd AL West, 2nd Wild Card

Oakland Athletics

Moneyball was pretty good, yeah, but the A’s are pretty far removed from what they used to be a little over a decade ago. The A’s seem to be a franchise without much direction right now. It seems that Billy Beane has mailed it in until the A’s are finally out of the broken-down, house of horrors that is the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The A’s traded away Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey, getting a total of ten prospects back in return. Not a bad haul, but things won’t get any easier for the A’s after a 74-88 season last year. Beane did dip into the free agency pool though, shocking literally everyone by signing coveted Cuban outfielder Yeonis Cespedes and then REALLY shocking everyone by signing the man-child Manny Ramirez. Desperation seemed to be the theme in the bay this winter, and it might blow up into full fledged panic among the 5,000 loyal fans at the big O each night.

72-90, 3rd AL West

Texas Rangers

Alright, I’m guessing you skipped past the first two previews in this article to read this paragraph. I don’t blame you, the Rangers are good enough to warrant that. The lovechild of George W. Bush and Nolan Ryan will be back on top again this season. The Rangers definitely shook things up this offseason, adding Yu Darvish to their fantastic rotation and moving Neftali Feliz out of the closer’s role and into the starting five. The Rangers will try to fill the void left behind by Feliz by signing Joe Nathan, who hasn’t done anything of note since I was living in the frat (three years ago). But other than that, Texas is just too damn good. Their lineup is absurd, the rotation is gravy and the bullpen is among the best in baseball. The only thing Texas has to worry about is keeping Hambone sober and not turning into baseball’s version of the Buffalo Bills. Doubt that happens. The ‘Gers take home the Commissioner’s Trophy in 2012. Book it.

97-65, 1st in AL West

Seattle Mariners

Writing this after previewing the Texas Rangers just seems cruel. Yeah, the Mariners have the best hurler in the game in Felix Hernandez, but outside of that, the M’s are the worst offensive club in baseball and play the most boring brand of hardball I’ve ever seen. Dustin Ackley is as big as prospects get, but man the Mariners are going to struggle on offense this year. I liked the Michael Pineda/Jesus Montero trade, but it always makes me uneasy when a team trades a proven commodity like a stud pitcher like Pineda for an unknown prospect like Montero. Montero profiles as a DH, so his value is awfully limited and the Mariners could have been set at 1-2 in their rotation for the next decade with Pineda and Felix pitching every four days. You would think any lineup with Ichiro in it has to be taken seriously, but as a whole, I can’t take a look at Seattle‘s lineup without laughing. Their offense is flat out offensive. After King Felix, the rotation isn’t much and the bullpen is a scrap work bunch of veterans. Just a shame to see my favorite team of the 90’s fall apart like this.

68-94, 4th AL West

  1. FrattingOutLoud

    I’m glad you didn’t jump on the Angels bandwagon after they signed Pujols like most people.

    12 years ago at 10:12 am
    1. Winston FratChill

      Given he is from Missouri, I doubt he would jump on the Angels bandwagon seeing as Pujols left HIS team to join them.

      12 years ago at 11:50 am
    2. FrattingOutLoud

      Too bad the Cardinals aren’t in AL West, chief and that is what perspective this column was written.

      12 years ago at 1:13 pm
  2. Arnold_justin_e

    ChampsTour, what the fuck man. The only team anyone cares about in the AL is Texas. Fuck the rest of em. You could have written one article about how Texas is gonna take the AL Pennant from New York and then lose to the Phils in Game Six of the World Series.

    12 years ago at 10:15 am
    1. anon7472974648

      The NL is complete garbage compared to the top of AL. These are facts.

      Rangers are also my pick to win the WS, but that’s completely contingent on winning the West. They desperately need to get another pitcher. No one knows how Yu Darvish will do his first go-around the junior circuit (and he’ll almost definitely regress by the time teams see him a second time), and Colby Lewis is Colby Lewis. I do love Holland, Mike Adams, and Feliz (working with Pedro) this year, though.

      Only bad thing about Texas is that, if they lose to LAA, they’ll have to play one of the AL East teams in the WC, and while I like them against TB, they’ll have a tough time against Boston and MFY,

      12 years ago at 11:56 am
    2. carolinahaze

      The AL isn’t necessarily better than the NL on balance, It just has less parity. The NL is frequently an unpredictable crapshoot, while the AL currently has six clubs firmly up top (Angels, Rangers, Tigers, Yanks, Red Sox, Rays). Unfortunately the remaining 8 teams in the junior circuit are so fucking god-awful, they might as well be AAA.

      12 years ago at 1:30 pm
  3. Fraternity Man

    RANGERS. That said, the picture of Ichiro bums me out. He’s one of my favorite non-Rangers, and he hasn’t made the playoffs since 2001. He deserved better.

    12 years ago at 10:51 am
    1. TheFratologist

      Ichiro is a bum anyone that truly likes Ichiro is a kid, has no idea who the guy is only that he is good, or is Japanese.

      12 years ago at 8:09 pm
  4. TheFratologist

    Ichiro does not deserve to be on a better team, he is the most selfish player there is. Yeah he is really really good. But he is the type of guy, that in a tie game with runners on second and third two outs, that bunts to try and get a hit for his own gain, rather than swing away and try and drive in the runs.

    12 years ago at 11:23 am
    1. Sailing

      As an avid Mariner fan, I completely agree with TheFratologist. Ichiro is the most hated player in baseball to TRUE Seattle fans. He refused to play right field after a few years in Seattle so he was moved to center and when he didn’t win the gold glove he demanded he was moved back. He never even tried to learn english, America’s language. This guy is a selfish chump. The most unfortunate thing about the scenario is that Japanese ownership is going to resign this ass hole to another monster deal after he bats .300 again. I can’t believe America’s sport allowed a bunch of geeds from Hiroshima own a franchise. Fuck.

      12 years ago at 12:26 pm
    2. masonmiller

      Ichiro is this way because playing as a team doesn’t mean shit as a jap, which is a TFM bitches. #selfishjaps #bigegotfm

      12 years ago at 2:55 pm
    3. Brooks

      Its going to be quite the sight to see Ichiro as a 3 hole hitter this season bunting with runners in scoring position

      12 years ago at 8:43 pm
  5. Southern Improper

    Am I seeing things, or did someone just claim Felix Hernandez is the best in the game? Kershaw? Verlander? Bueller? Good picks otherwise.

    12 years ago at 11:39 am
    1. Dr Steve BROle

      Read that too. I don’t know how you can put Felix ahead of Verlander, no matter how shitty of a team Hernandez plays for.

      12 years ago at 3:21 pm
    2. Fraternity Lifestyle

      My thought exactly. You cannot have a pitcher win the AL MVP award and not say he’s the best in baseball.

      12 years ago at 12:37 am
    1. 84RepCandidate

      Would you prefer NASCAR as the pastime? Go turn left into oncoming traffic.

      12 years ago at 1:11 pm