American League West

April 03, 2005|By Previews by South Florida Sun-Sentinel

L.A. Angels of Anaheim

Record, finish: 92-70, 1st.

Manager: Mike Scioscia, 6th season with Angels.

Payroll: $93 million.

Hot seat: Francisco Rodriguez. First Angels closer not named Troy Percival in 10 seasons.

Best case: Vladimir Guerrero again puts the offense on his back the way he did in his first Most Valuable Player season last year. ... Steve Finley shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 40. ... Orlando Cabrera provides a big upgrade taking over for the popular-but-limited David Eckstein. ... Bartolo Colon doesn't pitch to a 6.38 ERA in the first half of the season again. ... They return to the playoffs for the third time in four years.

Worst case: Dallas McPherson isn't ready to take over for the departed Troy Glaus, leaving a power void at a previous team strength. ... Pending free agency proves distracting for Bengie Molina and by extension the pitching staff. ... Adding Paul Byrd wasn't enough to upgrade a pitching staff that needed help.

LINEUP

1B Darin Erstad

DH Jeff DaVanon

RF Vladimir Guerrero

LF Garret Anderson

CF Steve Finley

SS Orlando Cabrera

3B Robb Quinlan

C Bengie Molina

2B Chone Figgins

ROTATION

RHP Bartolo Colon

LHP Jarrod Washburn

RHP Kelvim Escobar

RHP Paul Byrd

RHP John Lackey

BULLPEN

RHP F. Rodriguez

RHP Scot Shields

RHP Brendan Donnelly

Oakland Athletics

Record, finish: 91-71, 2nd.

Manager: Ken Macha, 3rd season with A's.

Payroll: $60 million.

Hot seat: Barry Zito. Big Three is down to him, and he could be next to go.

Best case: Catcher Jason Kendall energizes the lineup and transfers his intensity to a young pitching staff. ... Steve Swisher gives A's their second straight Rookie of the Year. ... Power arms in bullpen help shorten games. ... Healthy again, Eric Chavez develops into the team's next superstar. ... Magic formula for big second halves works again after one-year hiatus.

Worst case: Trading highly regarded starting pitchers Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder proves too much to overcome. ... Octavio Dotel flops in his free-agent year, leaving a void at the back of the bullpen. ... Another late-season fade occurs, leaving Moneyball paperback sales plummeting and cutting into GM Billy Beane's corporate speaking fees.

LINEUP

CF Mark Kotsay

C Jason Kendall

DH Erubiel Durazo

3B Eric Chavez

LF Eric Byrnes

1B Scott Hatteberg

SS Bobby Crosby

RF Nick Swisher

2B Mark Ellis

ROTATION

LHP Barry Zito

RHP Rich Harden

RHP Danny Haren

RHP Joe Blanton

RHP Seth Etherton

BULLPEN

RHP Octavio Dotel

LHP Ricardo Rincon

RHP Juan Cruz

Seattle Mariners

Record, finish: 63-99, 4th.

Manager: Mike Hargrove, 1st season with Mariners, 14th overall.

Payroll: $95 million.

Hot seat: Richie Sexson. Got the big payday. Now will his shoulder cooperate?

Best case: The amazing Ichiro Suzuki, coming off the single-season record for hits, finds another way to put his name into the record book. ... Free-agent signings Adrian Beltre and Sexson clear the deep Safeco Field fences and energize an offense that ran on empty for much of last season. ... Uber-prospect Felix Hernandez, a right-handed pitcher, reaches the major leagues early on and challenges for Rookie of the Year honors.

Worst case: Hargrove doesn't have any more success with this reclamation project than he did with his last one in Baltimore. ... Arm problems keep Joel Pineiro and Gil Meche from reaching their potential. ... Bret Boone keeps sliding back into the pack.

LINEUP

RF Ichiro Suzuki

CF Jeremy Reed

3B Adrian Beltre

1B Richie Sexson

2B Bret Boone

DH Raul Ibanez

C Miguel Olivo

SS Pokey Reese

LF Randy Winn

ROTATION

LHP Jamie Moyer

RHP Gil Meche

LHP Bobby Madritsch

RHP Joel Pineiro

RHP Aaron Sele

BULLPEN

LHP Eddie Guardado

RHP S. Hasegawa

LHP Ron Villone

Texas Rangers

Record, finish: 89-73, 3rd.

Manager: Buck Showalter, 3rd season with Rangers, 10th overall.

Payroll: $51 million.

Hot seat: Richard Hidalgo. Back in Texas with a chance to reclaim lost luster.

Best case: Mark Teixeira (Mount St. Joseph) takes his already formidable game up still another level and challenges for Most Valuable Player. ... A talented, young lineup builds on the solid gains of last year and puts Showalter back into the playoffs for the first time since he was with the 1999 Diamondbacks. ... Pitching coach Orel Hershiser coaxes some unexpected magic from a middling staff.

Worst case: Alfonso Soriano's slide from superstar status picks up speed. ... Hidalgo shows why he was such a disappointment to the Astros and Mets. ... Arm woes continue to hinder Francisco Cordero and Frank Francisco. ... Last year's improvement proves a mirage.

LINEUP

2B Alfonso Soriano

SS Michael Young

3B Hank Blalock

1B Mark Teixeira

RF Richard Hidalgo

LF Kevin Mench

DH David Dellucci

C Rod Barajas

CF Laynce Nix

ROTATION

LHP Kenny Rogers

RHP Ryan Drese

RHP Pedro Astacio

RHP Chan Ho Park

RHP Chris Young

BULLPEN

RHP Francisco Cordero

RHP Frank Francisco

LHP Ron Mahay

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