I grew up an A's fan, have always had a warm spot in my heart for the underdog Cubs, and since moving to SoCal have rooted unceasingly for the Angels (well, except when they play the A's), but I recently defended the quality of the M's when in a discussion with my wife. It seems that her best friend's mother, a die hard M's fan and Seattle local, is not only disappointed in the performance of her team, but has begun to blame management for losing key players and sabotaging her franchise. I couldn't have disagreed more. I think the M's are a tremendously strong team, in a remarkably deep Division. Gaining Rich Aurelia and losing Carlos Guillen is a blessing not a loss.
Let's look at the M's lineup.
Ichiro RF: career .328 hitter with a career .374 OBP and a cannon for an arm.
Randy Winn CF: career .282 hitter who steals an average of 20 a year and has good range.
Bret Boone 2b: career .269 hitter who hits for power and is the best fielding second baseman in the game.
Edgar Martinez DH: he's 100 years old but a career .315 hitter with pop and patience.
Rich Aurelia SS: career .279 hitter with time to time power and one of the best fielders in the league.
Raul Ibanez LF: career .279 hitter, but at the peak of his career hitting .294 the past two years and
over .280 since becoming a starter.
John Olerud 1b: career .297 hitter and perrenial golden glover.
Ben Davis/Dan Wilson C: interchangable and talented defensive catchers who call great games. Neither a
hitting giant, but both disprove Costner's monologue re: BA in Bull Durham.
Willie Bloomquist 3b: this is the ? career .280 hitter, but this is his first year as a starter. We will
see if he is truly cut out for the bigs, but his AAA stats say yes as does his fill
The pitching, unlike a lot of its fielders, is (with the exception of Jamie Moyer) young and talented. Moyer is just talented. This is a great squad that has not weak spots in the lineup until the 8 and 9 spots, but that is true of almost every team.
Just my thoughts.