The AL West Has Me Giddy

I am very excited about the American League West. Or at least the two likely top teams – the Mariners and the Rangers. I think that both teams have good bases to build on, and they have both done a very good job of updating and improving their rosters to compete for the division title in what has the potential to be an epic battle.

This came to mind today because the Rangers solved their depth issues on the corners of the infield. They had been pursuing Mike Lowell from the Red Sox but gave up that pursuit in what, in my mind, is a better deal. They picked up Ryan Garko off of waivers from the Mariners. He’ll cost them just $550,000, he’s only 29 years old, and though he hasn’t had a good spring he has enough talent to be useful as a backup at first or third. He’s a good character guy as well.

What makes this race so exciting isn’t just that the teams are talented and hungry – it’s that they are both taking some calculated risks that will make things even more fun to watch. For Seattle Milton Bradley tops that list, but Erik Bedard is up there as well, and Ian Snell is a guy who could work out very well at the back end f the rotation or he could be a disaster. Texas is gambling on Vlad Guerrero and the health of both Josh Hamilton and pitcher Rich Harden. All of those guys have the potential to make their GM look very, very smart, or they could be big anchors on the hopes f the team. This is going to be great drama – the best in the sport this year. I like the Mariners because they have better pitching and better defense, but the Rangers are just going to be able to crush it, and that will make them tough to play against.

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