AL West Breakdown - Will “Big Ball” Bring a Big Ring to Anaheim?
by Charles Jay, Exclusive to Predictem.com
Can the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim shift the balance of power in the American League West with money? They weren’t able to do it last year, even by shelling out big bucks to get Albert Pjulos and C.J. Wilson to come aboard. Now, pressured by the emergence of a mega-money group that bought the Dodgers for a record price, the Angels have done it again, opening up the bank vault to snag another superstar. is that going to be enough?
Here are the odds in the AL West, as they are posted atBetAnySports:
Los Angeles Angels -160
If the LOS ANGELES ANGELS (-160) prove anything, it’s that you can’t have everything. To a lineup that already caused nightmares for opposing pitchers, they added Josh Hamilton, and he will join Albert Pujols, who is his rival for best offensive player in the game; Mike Trout, who may soon overtake both of them (and is +550to win the MVP), and Mark Trumbo, who has hit 61 homers in two years. When you think about it though, this is a far cry from the style of “small ball” Mike Scoscia won a world championship with. And when you go beyond Jared Weaver and Wilson in the starting rotation, you’ve got question marks. So what do you make of a team like that? They’re a vulnerable favorite, to say the least.
The TEXAS RANGERS (+220) have enough players left over to stick around, even though the loss of Hamilton leaves a hole in the lineup. They will try to fill it with people like Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski, but don’t forget that they also have to compensate for the loss of Michael Young, who was one of the most consistent hitters in the game, and Mike Napoli, who brought real power to the catching spot. As the season moves forward, shortstop Jurickson Profar, who needs a position, and stellar relievers Joakim Soria and Neftali Feliz (on the DL) should have some impact.
And by the way, let’s keep in mind that the OAKLAND ATHLETICS (+635) are still the defending division champions, having beaten the Rangers out by a game a year ago. We’re interested in seeing the future growth of Cuban import Yeonis Cespedes (+2000 for AL MVP atBetAnySports), whois more comfortable now since he was able to get his family over here to the U.S. You can call this sort of a Billy Beane special - a group of no-name players in the lineup and a young pitching staff that could explode at once. Hey, some of these guys could also get the sophomore jinx.
The SEATTLE MARINERS (+1500) opened their checkbook to sign Felix Hernandez to a lucrative contract extension that, at least for the time being, has made him the highest-paid pitcher in the history of the game. And the Mariners, who don’t have the money left over to go after the top-shelf free agents, nonetheless added some useful parts in Raul Ibanez, Jason Bey, Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales. They also moved the fences in, so the “defense-first” approach that got them nowhere has been shelved for the most part………..It may be mid-season before anybody fully realizes that the HOUSTON ASTROS (+6600) have actually shifted over to the American League. But they will no doubt bring some excitement come September, when talk circulates centering around whether they will break the New York Mets’ 1962 record for most losses in a season (120).
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