One quick Lost thought before I get to the American League West. Scroll down if you have no interest.
There is much chatter about why Ben talked Locke down from his noose only to wind up killing him then staging the suicide.
Well, I had a thought. Remember last season when Michael tried to kill himself and the gun didn’t go off. When Michael went to Ben’s right hand man he asked Michael ‘Did the gun jam or did bullet just bounce off your head?’
According to that dude, Michael couldn’t kill himself because the island wouldn’t let him.
Maybe Locke was in the same boat and Ben knew it. Locke wouldn’t be able to kill himself no matter what he tried, so Ben did it for him.
In which case Ben murdering Locke was the most considerate thing Ben has ever done.
Ok, onto the American League West. Let’s get right to it.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
2008 Status: 100-62; first place; lost to Red Sox in ALDS (giggle)
Key Offseason Moves: Replaced K-Rod with Brian Fuentes; lost Mark Teixiera to the Evil Empire; signed Juan Rivera to 3 years; Chone Figgins, Bobby Abreau, and Darren Oliver to one year deals, extended Ervin Santana 4 years.
What’s It All Mean: Considering they’ve lost 2 key pieces in Rodriquez and Teixiera they’ve done a nice job filling in the gaps. Fuentes is decent, Abreau is an on base machine, Vlad is still Vlad, Torii is still Torii and their rotation starts with Lackey, Santana, Weaver.
Wild Card: Manny. He declined yet another offer from the Dodgers. Why can’t the Angels sweep in and scoop him up? Keep an eye on them.
Bottom Line: Unless they upgrade the team, expect another 90-100 win season and a first round exit.
2008 Status: 75-86; third place
Key Offseason Moves: Signing Jason Giambi, Justin Duchscherer, and Jack Cust to one year deals; trading for Matt Holliday (bastards!).
What’s It All Mean: If Giambi has a good year, this is going to be a tough lineup to face. Holliday, Cust, Giambi, Suzuki, Chavez are nothing to sneeze at. Problem is with the pitching. Top four are projected as Duchscherer, Dana Eveland (who I assume is a guy), Sean Gallagher, and Gio Gonzalez who may have been a former model. Have you heard of any of these guys?
Wild Card: On the other hand this is Oakland and these pitchers are probably going to be fighting amongst themselves for the Cy Young award. I don’t know where they keep coming from.
Bottom Line: Who the hell knows? If the young pitchers perform well they could go a long way. Otherwise, expect another third place finish.
2008 Status: 61-101; last place; one lost manager.
Key Offseason Moves: Made a nice, three team trade that netted them Endy Chavez, Aaron Heilman, Jason Vargas, Mike Carp among others. Resigned Erik Bedard and traded Jose Lugo. Oh, and brought back Ken Griffey Jr about 8 years too late.
What’s It All Mean: Obviously a rebuilding year, but they have some nice pieces in place. Felix Hernandez, Eric Bedard and Jarrod Washburn make a nice rotation.
Wild Card: Bedard. If he can FINALLY stay healthy and get his shit together, there won’t be a better 1-2 combo in the league with him and Hernandez. Also, if any of the pieces from the trades mesh, this will be the surprise team of the year.
Bottom Line: Don’t expect a crap fest like last season, but don’t expect much, either.
2008 Status: 79-83; distant second place.
Key Offseason Moves: Signed Andruw Jones, Brendan Donnelly, Jason Jennings, Kris Benson, Omar Vizquel to minor league contracts. Signed Marlon Byrd and exercised option on Hank Blalock.
What’s It All Mean: While the lineup – Hamilton, Blalock, Murphy, Saltamacchia, Kinsler – is still imposing, there is virtually no pitching to be seen here. Millwood as your number one? Where’s Kason Gabbard? He hurt?
Wild Card: Andruw Jones. What does his resurgence do for this team?
Bottom Line: Potent offense, lousy pitching, rinse, repeat.
I'll try to get the National League done next week. Maybe Manny will have signed somewhere to help clarify things a bit. Manny really should just sign one year contracts, then hold out until after spring training. He never shows up on time anyway and he obviously doesn't enjoy it, so just hold out, sign with a new team every year and enjoy yourself.
Not like he needs the money.
Today's distraction: Some very cool urban camouflage. Maybe a bit unsafe for work, but considering the first few pictures I really should have become on artist. In my next life.