Yes, believe it or not, it is that time of the year again. As we hurry up and wait for the Super Bowl to start, we can either turn our sports attention to the NBA, NHL or MLB. Since I don't follow hockey too closely and the Suns are one more old player away from the All-Time Retirement team, we'll choose Major League Baseball and my all time favorite activity, Spring Training.
Pitchers and catchers report for all Major League ball clubs the 18th-22nd of February. With essentially one month left to go, I'll preview the entire American League West and National League West just in time for the teams to head to camp. Each Tuesday and Thursday for the next four weeks will be dedicated to Spring Training Baseball. Tuesdays will be the AL West, Thursdays will be the NL West.
Let's get started.
The team that finished with the 3rd worst record in baseball hopes it can do better than it's 95 loss season a year ago. Sadly, I am not convinced that it can. The Mariners just completed a trade for the top catching prospect in all of baseball, but to get Jesus Montero from the Yankees, they had to give up their lone bright spot from a season ago in Michael Pineda.
Yes, the M's have some serious pitching depth and prospects in Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Jose Campos and Danny Hultzen, but you just gave up on someone who could be the ace of your staff should something happen to King Felix Hernandez. I know, that's a lot of coulds and shoulds. That's what happens when you trade a possible ace for a potential stud catcher.
The line up is three words. Tear. Uh. Bull. Or Tear A Bull. Or Terrible. All different paths to the same result. Probably a lot like my predictions for this team. I could predict the offense struggles (which it will). I could predict the pitching won't hold up (which it won't). Or I could just say the M's will lose at least 90 games like last year. Justin Smoak, Ichiro Suzuki, Jesus Montero and Dustin Ackley are about the only things capable of scoring or driving in a run. Not good.
At least Ken Griffey, Jr is back. Although as a special consultant, it sounds unlikely he'll be making any diving catches in center field or driving one deep onto the train tracks at Safeco.
Fearless prediction: 62-100, last in the AL West.
Up next on Thursday in our Cactus League Spring Training Preview, Josh Byrnes and the San Diego Padres.