MLB Preview AL West: Cano Won't Make the Mariners Go

Rangers will knock the cover off the ball.
Seattle is the sexy pick because it overpaid for Robbie Cano, the season’s elite free agent. Pick ‘em as the Best of the West if you want, but it says here that it’s Texas, Oakland, and the rest.

Let’s start with the Mariners. Cano is a thoroughbred, but the M’s really need to sign someone like Nelson Cruz, or Cano will be in a barn with plow horses. Smoak is decent, Seager may be an ascendant third baseman, but will Hart hit in the AL? Felix the Great anchors the staff, but Iwakuma might start the year on the DL and there’s nothing but question marks after him. Cano will also miss Yankee Stadium’s short fences. This is a team headed by two superstars with not much to support them.

The Rangers should knock the horsehide off the yarn. Fielder, Andrus, Profar, Beltre, Rios… ridiculous! Choo will set the table. The question mark is pitching. Holland, Darvish, and…? Perez remains unproven and Harrison was riddled by injuries last year. Is Ogando a for-real starter, or a bullpen guy? Soria can close games, though.

The A’s ought to adopt the slogan: “The Power of Fundamentals.” Manager Bob Melvin manages to get high mileage out of guys who were in Pawtucket for much of their careers: Moss, Lowrie, Reddick, Crisp. Céspedes looks like he’s going to bust loose soon; look out when he does. But pitching is the real key to the A’s success: Parker, Griffin, Gray, Straily, and whomever else Billy Beane manages to unearth.

The best everyday lineup ought to belong to the Angels if Pujols and Hamilton pull their heads out of their behinds and give the magnificent Mike Trout the support he deserves. Add Freese and Kendrick and these guys will unravel the yarn left by Rangers’ hitters. Alas, once one gets past Weaver and Wilson, the pitching staff looks thinner than hobo stew. Frieri to close? I don’t think so. This team needs to score a lot of runs to win.

Everyone’s a hopeful for the Astros and fans simply need to understand that this is going to take a while. If you live more than 20 miles from Houston you’ve not heard of anyone in the starting lineup. Of their pitchers, you might recognize the names Feldman, Crain, Qualls, Albers, and Oberholtzer. Of these, only the last is worth being excited about. The kids are going to play, some of them will be good, and the Astros won’t lose 111 games again, but 95-100 is probable.

1. Rangers: Awesome lineup. If the pitching holds, this team wins.
2. A’s: If Rangers hurlers falter, Oakland wins another improbable NL West crown.
3. Angels: This team is like the Tigers of the 1980s. It will win and lose 7-5 games.  
4. Mariners: This doesn’t look like Yankee Stadium, Toto.
5. Astros: Youth and prayer. Both will be in abundance. 

PS--Nelson Cruz signed with the Orioles after this was prepared, so scratch that bat for the Mariners. 

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