Part 1, Part 2.
49er16: Remember when everyone made fun of the west coast baseball? Now both the AL West and NL West are probably the most interesting divisions in baseball besides the NL East.
The Colonel: I would still list the AL East because more teams are competitive now. It's not just the Yankees or Red Sox.
49er16: It still feels weird that the Astros are in the AL West. The Rockies should have been moved to the AL West just for the travel because I'm sure the Astros will love that Houston to Seattle trip.
The Colonel: Selig should have made everything right and moved the Brewers back to the American League. I'm sure if Selig's family still owned the Brewers, he would have absolutely moved them back to the AL. Selig jumps on money like Vito jumps on a sausage.
49er16: Do you like what the Astros have done? Stripping everything to the bare bones and building it back up?
The Colonel: I actually do. It's like they filed for bankruptcy. They stripped everything, sold off assets, built up a little equity, and now are in rebuild mode. And they stuck with the plan so far. They could have signed some free agents, but didn't. They are though taking a risk by building solely through prospects drafted or traded. If some of those guys don't pan out, then they're in trouble for a while.
49er16: The Mariners are one of those teams where building through the farm system hasn't quite worked. Also some of their trades haven't worked out well neither. Big reason why I believe you have to have smart minor league development coaches to help players and build them up.
The Colonel: I would also say don't trust minor league or college numbers too closely. I mean just look at Justin Smoak. His college numbers and minor league numbers suggested that he would become a great hitter. Has never happened.
49er16: So what do you think of the A's? I see now why they traded for Lowrie because reports are that Japanese shortstop they bought might be defective. Hopefully they kept the receipt.
The Colonel: I gotta wait and see before I make any judgments on the A's. I have a feeling they're going to struggle early. Their pitchers aren't as new so other teams have scouted them by now. The outfield should be fine again but that infield. Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson are at the corners. And they're trying to make a second go around with Jemile Weeks. I just need to wait for a couple of months, see if Beane makes any trades, before I feel confident in the A's.
49er16: Is the cream of the crop though really Texas and Anaheim? (Sorry but I refuse to call them Los Angeles of Anaheim) I mean besides a few players, both of those teams are old. Hamilton and Pujols aren't getting younger. Ditto for Beltre and Kinsler. Nelson Cruz looks like he can barely field anymore. I'm just not in love with either of those teams. Yes, they're interesting but that doesn't mean they're going to win the division.
The Colonel: I sort of agree. Anaheim I believe will be better than Texas. I don't trust the Rangers pitching staff beyond Darvish.
49er16: I haven't even gotten to the Rangers pitching staff yet. I just feel if there's a year the Rangers are going to regress badly, it's this one. And while I'm not a Hamilton fan, replacing him with Craig Gentry or Daniel Murphy doesn't exactly inspire confidence.
The Colonel: They do though have a nice trade piece in Andrus. It's going to be interesting to see if they try to unload him during the season and what they can get.
49er16: Is this Mike Trout weight gain blown out of proportion or have we seen nothing yet if he struggles to start the year?
The Colonel: It's going to be blown out of proportion if Trout can't live up to the season he had last year. I can already hear the columnists screaming, "THE WEIGHT SLOWED HIM DOWN!" if he doesn't steal a lot of bases again.
49er16: I like the Angels pitching staff. They added depth with Blanton and Hanson. That bullpen though could have problems especially if Madson's elbow doesn't improve.
The Colonel: At least the Angels have God on their side.