In a previous posting, I picked who might win the respective divisions in Major League Baseball. Here's a rewrite with some reasoning and stats (if needed). Since then, I have re-written my picks for the AL East and Central. This leaves us the West (or as Al Micheals once called it, "the Mild, Mild West.")
1. Los Angeles Angels. The Rally Monkey may want to get ready for the post season. First baseman Casey Kotchman and third baseman Macier Izturis avoided arbitration by agreeing to one-year contracts last Friday. The 24-year-old Kotchman, who hit .296 with 11 homers and 68 RBIs in 137 games last season, got a raise to $1.45 million and can make $50,000 in performance bonuses: $25,000 each for 550 and 600 plate appearances. He earned $382,500 in 2007. 40 saves by Francisco Rodriguez and a 19-win season by John Lackey proved that the Angels can do it on the mound too. They also got healthy in the outfield with the signing of Torri Hunter, the American League's answer to Andruw Jones.
2. Seattle. Could the Mariners be spoiler for the Angels? They may not need Erik Beddard... although if they do get him, it could be an interesting race in the West on the Pacific Rim. Ichiro... what more could be said? Adding lefthander and former Atlanta Brave Horacio Ramirez to the rotation doesn't hurt the blue and green, either. They signed him to a one-year contract last Friday, avoiding salary arbitration. Ramirez, 28, went 8-7 with a 7.16 ERA in 20 starts last season. What he needs to do is improve. If he's half as good as he was with Leo Mazzone, look out!
3. Oakland. Thank God they're getting the hell out of Network Associates Coliseum, which used to be Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, then McAfee Coliseum. The A's were the girl with the curl in her forehead. When they were good, they were very, very good... when they were bad. You get the picture. GM Billy Beane says the team is going through a youth movement. If that's the case, then it's time to get out of the Pampers and get in the big boy pants. Otherwise, they may be looking up at Los Angeles and Seattle.
4. Texas. This is a team that has yet to win a postseason game. Now there's talk that Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan could be the team's next president. Isn't this the same team that was run by the current president in the White House? Kevin Millwood's 10 wins weren't enough for a team that needed pitching as much as Popeye needed spinach. Not even Sammy Sosa could save them. 4th might be their home unless they get some help ASAP.