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The Los Angeles Angels had a really unfortunate start to their day Tuesday as a man jumped to his death from a 42-story window at the Manhattan hotel they were staying at and a few players witnessed it.

According to ESPN New York, Angels pitchers Jered Weaver and Matt Palmer were at a coffee shop across the street and witnessed it take place.  They were obviously shaken up and neither appeared in Tuesday’s game.  Some autograph seekers and at least 13 other Angels players were also witnesses.

The man was reportedly not a guest at Le Parker Meridien and had asked to visit the hotel pool shortly before he jumped from the 42nd floor.

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Continuing on with season previews, I’m going to tackle the AL West all in one post.

2009 Standings:

1.) LA Angels 97-65 (Swept Boston in ALDS; Lost ALCS to Yankees)

2.) Texas Rangers 87-75

3.) Seattle Mariners 85-77

4.) Oakland A’s 75-87

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:

Key Losses: John Lakey-P (free agent); Chone Figgins-2B (free agent); Vladamir Guerrero-OF/DH (free agent);

Key Additions: Hideki Matsui-DH (free agent);

The Angels have a great coach in Mike Scioscia and have been a traditional powerhouse for most of the last decade, but this season appears to be the first the team fails to make the postseason in quite some time.  The team lost three “A-Quality” players and added one “B” player.   Their lineup will score runs but mostly only to try to keep up with the runs their pitching staff will allow.  Outside of Ace Jered Weaver, who has the potential to be a 20-game winner, and Brian Fuentes who was one of the top three closers in the game last season, the pitching staff is underwhelming.

The team let Ace John Lackey leave for the Red Sox, leadoff man Chone Figgins go to the Mariners and slugger Vladimir Guerrero go to the Rangers and made virtually no effort to replace them.  Hideki Matsui is a great guy and a clutch hitter, but I still think I take Guerrero.  Even if the Angels are fortunate enough to make the playoffs, they won’t make it past the divisional series.

2010 Prediction: 87-75, 3rd AL West

Seattle Mariners:

Key Additions: Chone Figgins-2B (free agent);Cliff Lee-P (trade); Milton Bradley-OF;

This team looks very strong, especially with the additions of Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins.  I like the 1-2 combination of Lee and Felix Hernandez, who is probably the best pitcher in the league under 25 years old.  The runner-up for the 2009 AL CY Young was 19-5 last season with an astonishing 2.49 ERA.  Expect him to be better this year.

The rest of the rotation is sketchy at best, but the rest of the division isn’t that strong and if one other starter steps up, the Mariner’s might have what they need to make the postseason.  I like the first five hitters in their lineup, Ichiro Suzuki, Chone Figgins, Franklin Gutierrez, Milton Bradley and Ken Griffey,Jr.  Junior is looking stronger this spring after off-season knee surgery and this might well be his last season.  Expect Ichiro to continue his dominance at the plate and in center and if Bradley can keep his positive attitude, he could have a phenomenal year at the plate.

2010 Prediction: 90-72, 2nd AL West

Texas Rangers:

Key Losses: Hank Blalok-DH

Key Additions: Vladimir Guerrero-OF/DH (free agent); Rich Harden-P

This scrappy little team really seems to represent the underdog team really well.  The Rangers haven’t made it to the postseason since ’99 and they have pretty much had a lock on the bottom of the division for most of that time.  After a great start to the 2009 season, the team faltered down the homestretch amid a plague of injuries, allowing the Angels to capture the division.

Team president Nolan Ryan really appears to have done well with this team.  He has gotten involved with the pitching, implementing some intriguing strategies that may well make this rotation exceed expectations.  I also like the addition of Rich Harden to an already decent rotation.

Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero, and Nelson Cruz are a great 2-5 in the opening day lineup and will have to be responsible for most of the runs generated.  Ian Kinsler starts the season on the DL but could add a potent sixth hitter to that lineup.  I think the Rangers have enough this season to take the division and challenge in the playoffs.  As long as everyone stays healthy.

2010 Prediction: 91-71, 1st AL West

Oakland Athletics:

Key Additions: Ben Sheets-P (free agent/injury);

It’s hard for the whole moneyball concept to work when your players are constantly on the disabled list.  The A’s have unfortunately gone from contenders year-in and year-out to divisional bottom feeders.  Outside of Ben Sheets and Eric Chavez, I don’t really like anyone on the team.

I’m not saying this team won’t build back to greatness, in fact this may be a part of that path.  Unfortunately, this team does not have the lineup or pitching to challenge in even this division.

2010 Prediction: 71-91, 4th AL West


I’ll admit I’m a little sad about this piece of news.  Slugger Hideki Matsui ended a 7 year period with the Yankees on Monday by officially signing a $6.5 Million deal with the LA Angels.  Matsui apparently chose not to wait and see what the Yanks would be willing to offer, instead jumping on a one year deal with the Yankees 2009 ALCS rivals.

Matsui is a career .292 hitter who had 597 RBI for the Yankees in his seven years.  He was the Yankees everyday left fielder for the better part of 5 seasons.  Although I understand not offering Matsui a ton of cash to stay, but to let him leave completely is a little disheartening.

It does not appear that the Yankees have made any effort to retain Matsui nor have they released a statement about Matsui leaving and I think that I am the most disappointed about.  Matsui was an extremely good player of the Yankees for the better part of 7 seasons and it all culminated in World Series MVP honors this past November.  I realize that Matsui must not have fit into the Yankees 2010 plans – but he still deserved a “thank you” style press release.

The Los Angeles Angels, who lost to the Yankees in the ALCS, had their manager, Mike Scioscia named as the American League Manager of the Year Wednesday.  Jim Tracy, the manager for the Colorado Rockies was named the National League Manager of the Year.

Scioscia received 14 first place votes and 106 overall points to win the award for the second time in his career.  Ron Gardenhire was second in voting, and Joe Girardi was third.

If you look around the AL, Scioscia was the most deserving.  He took a team that lost pitcher Nick Adenhart to a tragic drunk driving accident.  Adenhart was killed the night he made a stellar debut for the team.  The Angels team pulled together and made it as far as the ALCS, before losing to the eventual World Series Champion NY Yankees.

Congrats to Scioiscia.  He’s always been a top-notch manager.

Wow what a postseason.

The Yankees won their 40th American League Pennant last night around 12:05 am.  In a game they never trailed in, the Yankees looked like the dominating team they were in the second 2/3 of the regular season in disposing of the Los Angeles Angels 5-2 in the Bronx.

Andy Pettitte looked every bit like the experienced post-season pitcher he is – allowing only 1 run on 6 1/3 innings pitched.  You know, I said in the offseason that we did not need Pettitte if he refused to sign for a smaller contract.  I thought Phil Hughes would do well enough to get the Yankees to the postseason.  I still feel that I was correct in that assessment.  However, I did miss one thing – how strong and confident Andy Pettitte would be for the Yankees in the postseason.

In a time where many pitchers and hitters crack under the pressure of the postseason, Pettitte has always been one of the most consistent, leading to the domination he has had on the mound in the last 14 years.

The new Yankee stadium will host a World Series in its inaugural season – a feat I would assume has not been done many times before – if at all.  The Yankees will have home field advantage – courtesy of the American League victory in the All-Star game earlier this season.

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