With Opening Day less than a week away, I'd like to welcome you to the Darn This Gold Glove Official Season Preview, or How I Started Worrying About This Season Once I Learned the A's Might Have a Chance in 2010.
In March its easy to see your favorite team as a contender. I have every year since Spring since 2000. To be fair to me, though, the A's were contenders every year from 2000 - 2006. 2007 saw the A's bring back the core of its 2006 ALCS team (less Barry Zito and Esteban Loaiza) and in 2009 the A's acquired Matt Holliday and a bunch of veterans in what seemed like a good faith effort to compete. My optimism in 2008 was probably unfounded.
Am I crazy to think the A's can compete this season? Well, no one thinks of themselves as insane, so I hope this six-part season preview shows that my thinking that the A's have a shot at winning the AL West is grounded in reality. Here is how the preview will unfold:
Part 1: The Offense, or Hey, It's Not as Bad as You Think!
Part 2: Run Prevention, or Good Pitching plus Good Defense Equals Happy
Part 3: The Mariners, or Cliff and Felix, Not Much Next
Part 4: The Rangers, or Learning the Hard(en) Way
Part 5: The Angels, or More Jeff Mathis, Please
Part 6: Putting It All Together, or Yes Oakland, the AL West Title Is Your Only Chance at the Postseason (But It's Not a Bad Shot!)
I don't think anyone thinks that the A's are the favorites to win the AL West and I think its very possible the A's come in last again. Hopefully, by Part 6 we can judge just how likely it is that the A's play into October this year.