Sure the AL doesn't play real baseball. They play DH-Ball, but that's a good thing for us. At least for next year since we already have one of the most expensive DHs playing left field. I know; I know; Carlos Lee has good UZR this season. We might even be getting more value from his glove than from his bat. But let's be realistic, he's our DH in the American League. And even after his huge contract expires we have a bunch of positionless bats in the minors or players that profile best as first basemen. JD Martinez, Kody Hinze, Jonathan Singleton, Koby Clemens, Brett Wallace, and even Chris Johnson all could fit into the DH roll. Some may not hit well enough to be DHs (Clemens, CJ, Wallace) and some I'm not willing to give up on their defense just yet (Martinez, Hinze, Singleton), so a move to the AL West shouldn't be solely about finding a position for our lumbering players. The odds of winning that smaller division are better too...right?Of course the odds are better. Don't be silly, my NL lovers. It's easier to beat 4 teams instead of 5, and lets face it the Rangers are the only really impressive team in that division. But alas the wild card is pretty much out of reach year in and year out with Boston and New York buying their post season tickets every winter. So even if the odds of winning the division are better the odds of making the playoffs look bleaker. Maybe there will be a new playoff system which will open up some other back door for us to sneak into the playoffs, but the odds of making the playoffs will still be better in the NL.
Now, I know our Astros are the most pathetic team in all of baseball this year. I'm not delusional, but I wanted to see just how they matched up against the AL west teams to try and make myself feel a little more optimistic about a move. Right now it's hard to compare our offense to any of the teams because most of our offense has been traded away. Pence, Kepp, and Bourn pretty much supplied all things positive. So even though in many categories the Astros match up pretty well with the Mariners, A's, and Angels, the guys that are here now are not the guys that did all the work. I was also surprised to see just how bad the Rangers bullpen has been. Looking for a silver lining, I thought, "That's the one bullpen that is as bad as ours! We win!" There was a weak spot in the beastly Rangers and I started to feel a bit better. Then I checked to see how the starting rotations match up...this pretty painful... here are the ERAs of starters for the AL West: Angels 3.34, Mariners 3.60, A's 3.46, Rangers 3.76. And here is what our Astro starters have given us so far: 4.55. Ouch. And the other teams face DHs everyday too.
I knew we wouldn't compete next year, but I was hoping to at least be able to compete in individual games, and that doesn't seem likely. So I have now convinced myself that my gut instinct to the idea of moving to the AL West was correct, "Hell no!" We would have to watch DH-ball, we would have a smaller chance of making the playoffs, a ton of away games would start at 9 or 10pm, our young hitters would get schooled, and our lack-luster starters would have to face DHs not to mention the Boston and New York lineups every season. Doesn't MLB know that this is our worst season ever? Why must they kick us when we're down? Are they going to take away our first overall pick next year too?