AL West

Spring Training '99: The Major Issues

February 21, 1999|By PETER SCHMUCK

Anaheim Angels

Manager: Terry Collins

1998 record: 85-77, second place

No. 1: The Angels must assemble a capable -- and durable -- starting rotation. Tim Belcher is the only significant addition.

No. 2: Club tries to tap great outfield depth to get a front-line starting pitcher by Opening Day.

No. 3: Will the presence of Mo Vaughn create a more dynamic team chemistry?

No. 4: Is promising third baseman Troy Glaus ready for prime time?

No. 5: Can right fielder Tim Salmon shake off last year's injury problems and open the season as a solid MVP candidate?

Oakland Athletics

Manager: Art Howe

1998 record: 74-88, fourth place

No. 1: Possible sale of franchise might be the most interesting story line of uneventful spring.

No. 2: In the meantime, if you're in the marketing department, how do you sell this team?

No. 3: Jason Giambi, Matt Stairs and Ben Grieve. Then what?

No. 4: Trade rumors figure to follow left-handed starting pitcher Kenny Rogers all over Arizona this spring.

No. 5: Can no-name bullpen -- featuring 37-year-old, four-year veteran Bill Taylor -- make a name for itself?

Seattle Mariners

Manager: Lou Piniella

1998 record: 76-85, third place

No. 1: After giving club management an improve-or-else ultimatum in January, superstar Ken Griffey figures to be the focus of spring attention.

No. 2: Club officials may try to persuade shortstop Alex Rodriguez to agree to a contract extension, but it won't work.

No. 3: Can the Mariners build a decent rotation around left-handers Jeff Fassero and Jamie Moyer?

No. 4: Even if they do, what's going to happen in the late innings?

No. 5: Jay Buhner -- Comeback Player of the Year?

Texas Rangers

Manager: Johnny Oates

1998 record: 88-74, first place

No. 1: The Rangers need to fill out their rotation, especially after losing Todd Stottlemyre.

No. 2: Texas didn't land Roger Clemens, but owner Tom Hicks has proved willing to spend for talent. Who's coming?

No. 3: Does anyone believe Rick Helling and Aaron Sele can repeat last year's combined 39 wins?

No. 4: With Rafael Palmeiro back, could this be the best offensive team in Rangers history?

No. 5: If you're Juan Gonzalez, what do you do for an encore?

Pub Date: 2/21/99

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