Friday, January 14, 2011

Season 14 "Preview" - AL WEST

And now, the thrilling conclusion of "Previews"...


Vancouver Primetimers
Projected Record: 85-77, 1st
Best Player: Lloyd Garcia
Trivia: Massive heat stroke ended the Canadian Tuxedo as team uniform.

The only "prime" thing available in Vancouver last season was the parking, as the 65-win team drew roughly 2,000 fans a game.  Sensing a weak division, and without a single All-Star, Vancouver was incredibly active in the off-season, taking advantage of the beneficial exchange rate to sign six free agents, including Junior Bennett, for a total of $55M USD.  Can they buy the division? With a 6-man rotation and new lineup additions, the Primetimers say yes.  The question is, do they really know what they're talking aboot?

Salem Slims
Projected Record: 84-78, 2nd
Best Player: Robin Richards
Trivia: The Salem witch trials were the inspiration for "Witchy Woman"

The rest of the league might call Salem slim on talent, but they weren't short on wins, as they took the division with 88 of them last year.  However, they needed a pitcher, and the management delivered, as Salem traded valued prospect Mike Hill for 2-time Cy Young winner Bernard Myers to anchor the staff.  With the additions to the staff and hitters like Darin Coco and Robin Richards, the only question remaining is whether the bullpen can finish enough games to bring Salem a second straight division title.  And those odds are better than Slims to none.

Anaheim Sprawl
Projected Record: 82-80, 3rd
Best Player: Buddy Campbell
Trivia: Like the Scarlet Letter, everyone branded with this "A" has been to 3rd base.

Holy massive exodus Batman - Anaheim saw a league-leading 14 players leave via free agency, including former Cy Young winner Vic Molina and all-star Carl Blue.  So how do the Sprawl still have a payroll over $100M?  Apparently they found plenty of players willing to take the money, as they pledged over $80M to 8 players with an average age of 33.  And what are the expectations for this LA suburb?  With the minor league infusion a couple of years away, it's win or go home.  Anaheim should be a tough out, and may give this division a run for their money.  Of course if they can't, fans shouldn't have a problem sprawling out in the stands.

Tacoma McGees
Projected Record: 70-92, 4th
Best Player: Matt Black
Trivia: Popular in Ireland, the phrase "McGee Whiz!" expresses Irish surprise.

It's a good thing no one knows where Tacoma is, because there's nothing to see in season 14.  Aging players like Giomar Cedeno and Butch McPherson are gone, and future stars like Emmanuel De La Vega and Curtis Snyder aren't here yet.  There are still a lot of nice pieces on the McGees at the ML level, but it brings to mind thoughts of a fridge full of nothing but condiments.  Until they are ready to bring up the future blue-chippers, the McGees will need a whole lot of luck to stay in the playoff hunt.  However, they won't keep the fans waiting too long for success, as the minors are well-stocked and coming to the ballpark in Tacoma soon.  Wherever that is.

Check back Monday/Tuesday for draft results and grades...

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