I'm not sure I see Oakland beating the Angels this year, but this is definitely a team that will make the race neck-and-neck, at least. Much will depend on the health of Milton Bradley and Frank Thomas and the sophomore progress of Haren, Blanton, Street, Nick Swisher and Dan Johnson.
First off, let me say that I love what the Crank is doing with ESWL. I think it's a great idea, and the execution constantly entertains. Thanks for putting in the work, Crank!
Getting to his comments about the A's, it sounds like the Crank is just reluctant to flat-out predict the A's as AL West champions. But in his heart of hearts, he believes. It's hard not to. The Angels look to be re-loading a bit this year, and the A's have (almost) all the pieces - a large handful of quality starters, a solid bullpen, excellent defense and a deep lineup. The superstar slugger is missing from the middle of the lineup, but there's just too much talent on the roster to let that get in the way.
I'm entering this season with high hopes. Let's go A's!