Surviving the American League Week 4: The AL West

TORONTO - SEPTEMBER 23: (FILE PHOTO) Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners points to a fly ball during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 23 2010 at Rogers Centre in Toronto Ontario Canada. The Blue Jays defeated the Mariners 1-0. The Baseball Writers' Association of America announced November 18 2010 that Hernandez won the 2010 American League Cy Young Award. (Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)

In light of the pending switch to the American League, each week TCB is helping you adjust to the trauma, breaking down a particular topic each week...Next up we look at our brand new home the AL West.

Can't we just stay in the NL Central? I like it.
TCB: No. Things are changing and you have to accept it.
But there are so many things to like. The Cubs, the Pirates, playing teams in your own timezone....
TCB: It seemed the Astros settled into a groove over the previous decade against lesser opposition when beating the Brewers, Pirates and Reds was like shooting fish in a barrel. Now the roles have been reversed.
So we will do OK after the move to the AL West?
TCB: No, we'll probably get slaughtered for the first few seasons, but that's life. The Rangers are a well constructed team, and the Angels are turning into a very big-spending team. Oakland are a bit of a jolly-bag and Seattle are probably due for some wins by now.
So what have I got to look forward to?
TCB: There's Yu Darvish, Jesus Montero, Felix Hernandez, the shade of Albert Pujols and Jered Weaver are among the stars the Astros will face for the majority of their games starting next year. And maybe even mega prospect Mike Trout.

Is this going to get boring? How will anyone beat the Rangers?
TCB: They've done well with the talent they've brought through, and there's more on the way, Jurickson Profar being one. FanGraphs' Marc Hulet ranked their system fifth-best coming into the 2012 season.
Are we talking about a decade of destruction? They've made it to the World Series two straight seasons.
TCB: We'll see how far they can push spending over the next few seasons. They have a daft amount of money tied up in Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler, while they have some big decisions to make on some soon to be free agents, with Josh Hamilton being the most important one.
His Wikipedia page is longer than Jesus'. What does he get up to?
TCB: It's a sad case where his Cinderella story has focused too much of the spotlight on him. From the tragic story of the man who died trying to catch a ball tossed into the stands, to a case of him slipping and finding his way into a Dallas bar, you do feel a little sorry for the way he is hounded.
How much is he worth on the open market? Should the Astros secretly hope the Rangers sign him?
TCB: He turns 31 this month and his results have been wildly inconsistent. But when he's on it, he's one of the most potent, if not the most potent offensive player in baseball. Right now he is slugging .744 for the season. Unfortunately he just does not walk enough to be able to demand Pujols or Fielder money.

So no facing giant mechanical spiders, teaming up with Kevin Kline and using wildly anachronistic weapons?
TCB: On a list of films I would never want to see again that would rank very high. Watching Will Smith's music video actually makes me feel nauseous.

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