I have had blinders on this offseason as I watch the Mariners make every attempt to un-seed the Angels as the power of the AL West. What I failed to see is what the Angels had done.
They lost Lackey to a lucrative deal in Boston. But that is about for big time pitching.
They now have a starting rotation of Scott Kazmir, Joel Pineiro, Jared Weaver, Jon Saunders and Ervin Santana. Kazmir (10-9 4.89 ERA) should be gold as usual. Kaz went 2-2 with a 1.73 ERA for the Angels in 6 starts in 2009. Pineiro (15-12 3.49 ERA) returns to his AL West roots. Weaver (16-8 3.75 ERA) has not returned to his rookie year form, but is a decent option. I would place Weaver as your #2 starter. Saunders (16-7 4.60) and Santana (8-8 5.03 ERA) have also had stellar years for the Angels. Santana is coming off a year of injuries, so look for him to turn things around. Saunders would be my #3 starter for the Angels, if I was the manager.
The Angels continue to remain a contender in the West, and potentially the favorite…again. We will see how the hitting goes, but pitching wise, they did not miss a beat in my opinion. For as much work as the Mariners did, the Angels still appear to be the team to beat.