Thursday, March 17, 2011
Ichiro will presumably get 200 hits for the billionth straight time and his Mariners will likely be just as terrible as they were the past few years. Last year they got some hype due to having a decent pitching staff but they wound up with one of the worst offenses in recent major league history (despite making some decent offensive moves that didn't pan out). Felix Hernandez did of course win the Cy Young and presumably would have had 22+ Wins on an actually good team but that's really all they have left, and it's too bad for Felix as he's stuck in a terrible situation for another 4 or so years. Almost as bad as the KC Royals with Semper Failcouer
Ah Billy Beane the legendary GM, master of making a team be successful with absolutely nothing. Err wait he had 3 excellent starting pitchers and simply had a decent team apart from them, now that he has exclusively Beaneball or Moneyball projects his team isn't so stellar. On the other hand it's mostly the owners fault for not wanting to pay for any free agents whatsoever and Beane does run a reasonably competent organization with a tight budget. The Twins are vastly superior and have only recently begun to spend, but Beane is okay. I have the utmost respect for non douchetastic Sabermetricians but Billy just hasn't done all that much to be remarkable of late. The playoffs may be luck but even getting a shot at them is not.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Angels are a very oddly run team, they have money and a very large market but are generally late to the buying market every time a big time free agent is available. Unless they pick up Pujols next year they look to be a mediocre team with a fairly large contract and they traded for Vernon Wells for fuck's sake. Vernon Wells has either the worst or second worst contract in the majors, while Zito continually puts up astonishingly mediocre years that is somewhat valuable for a pitcher, Wells is hit or miss and it is doubtful that he'll ever be as good again as he was last year. While the Angels can probably soak the damage they'll still want to pick up quite a lot more than just Wells if they want to compete with the Rangers.
The Rangers are actually a pretty competent team. While the Giants getting to and winning the World Series was something of a fluke the Rangers weren't really that much worse than the Yankees or Red Sox(or Phillies or Twins for that matter) last year. They have Josh Hamilton, who might have a short peak but while he's still in it he's going to be pretty damn good, Nelson Cruz who is one of the most underrated players in the majors, and a very good young pitching staff and bullpen. While their offensive numbers are somewhat illusory in that hitting haven of theirs in Arlington they still do have an above average offense in the league when adjusted. The Red Sox might have a 30% chance or so of making the World Series while the Yankees have anywhere between 25-30% but the Rangers probably have 20-25% chance of returning themselves.