AL West Off Season Outlook

Today we finish the off season out look articles as we take a look at the AL West. This should be a 3 team race again for the division.

Angels:

I just call them the Angels because the franchise likes to link themselves to a bunch of cities in California. The Angels won the division going away last year and were probably the best team in baseball last year in terms of the regular season. But the Angels were exposed in a short series versus the upstart Royals. Angels like everyone else in baseball have a lot of work to do.

Not having their ace Richards for the post season was a major issue. With a healthy Richards the Angels seem to be set in the rotation with their ace along with Weaver, Shoemaker, CJ Wilson (not the same pitcher anymore now #4 SP) & Santiago. The Angels do have top starting pitching prospect coming in Sean Newcomb and could be ready sometime this season. Have to figure talented youngster Tyler Skaggs will miss most of the season due to Tommy John. Angels bullpen is good but would love to see them land an impact arm to help this team take it well into October. I think Andrew Miller fits the bill for the Halos to a tee.

The Angels have a deep lineup but a key question to me is will Josh Hamilton ever be an impact player again? I guess really the first question is can Hamilton play a full season? The Angels I am sure hope they can get a lot of Hamilton who they still have signed for 3 more years at a total of 89 Million. The Angels are the favorite to repeat as Division winners in the West, the question is can they make a couple of moves this off season to help them next October? Continue reading AL West Off Season Outlook

The Red Sox should pass on the Panda

There is little doubt that desperation is playing a role in the Boston Red Sox rebuild – or as team president and CEO Larry Lucchino would say “reloading” – this offseason.  Just 13 months removed from a ridiculous run from worst to first and a stunning 3rd World Series title in the last decade in 2013, the Sox fortunes sank quickly in ‘14 and now general manager Ben Cherington finds himself searching for answers for a team that been in the basement 2 out of the last 3 years.

If he thinks that one of the answers to the sad state of affairs for the Sox is signing the 3-time World Series Champion with the San Francisco Giants and the man the fans in the Bay area lovingly refer to as the Kung Fu Panda, Pablo Sandoval, he is most certainly mistaken.

Even if you overlook Sandoval’s struggles with his weight and the fact that it is not always a wise investment to give a guy that doesn’t take great care of himself a boatload of cash – hello, Prince Fielder – there is that nagging trend of decreasing performance that has taken place over the last 3 seasons.

Since 2012 his OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) has steadily gone down from .789 in ’12, to .758 in ’13, to .739 last season.  During that 3 year stretch he hasn’t hit more than 16 home runs and his highest runs batted in total has been 79.  Continue reading The Red Sox should pass on the Panda

AZ Diamondbacks Hot Stove

It’s going to be another interesting hot stove season for the Arizona Diamondbacks. They have already made moves under the new leadership of Tony La Russa, Dave Stewart and De Jon Watson. Chip Hale was named Manager in October and Hale wasted no time rounding out his staff. Mobile Bay Bears Manager, Andy Green, will be the new third-base coach, Mark Grace will be the assistant hitting coach for 2015. Glenn Sherlock, who has been with the organization since its inception, moves from third-base coach to bench coach, with Henry Blanco shifting from assistant hitting coach to a dual role as a bullpen catcher/coach, which is something this organization really needs. Pitching coach Mike Harkey, bullpen Coach, Mel Stottlemyre, Jr., hitting coach, Turner Ward, and first base and running coach Dave McKay will return for the 2015 season.

Former closer J.J. Putz will be re-joining the organization, not as a player, but as special assistant to team president and CEO, Derrick Hall. Putz will fill a variety of roles, assisting not just Hall, but other departments on both the baseball and business sides of the organization.

As far as the hot stove season for player decisions, they picked up 2015 contract options on pitchers Daniel Hudson and Matt Reynolds. Both spent most of last year working their way back from Tommy John surgery and both will be invited to Spring Training. They also reinstated Patrick Corbin, Bronson Arroyo, and David Hernandez from the 60-day disabled list. Continue reading AZ Diamondbacks Hot Stove