So… The Angels or the Mariners?
When looking at the AL West in 2023, it's clear that this division has the potential to be one of the best in baseball. The Astros continue to look like World Series favorites. The Mariners, led by Julio Rodriguez, Luis Castillo, and Teoscar Hernandez for full seasons, are ready to make the jump. The A's suck and the Rangers signed some massive names, but don't count out the Angels.
I believe this team has gone out and really raised their floor with some shrewd transactions. Mike Trout being fully healthy can go a long way in determining how far this team can go, and I expect Ohtani to perform at both Cy Young and MVP levels in a contract year. Their season will need 3 things to go right for them to jump the Mariners.
1- Can they play well enough to silence the Ohtani trade rumors?
2- Can the supporting cast lift Trout and Ohtani, rather than sink them?
3- Can Phil Nevin find a way to not screw this up?
I believe that the supporting cast will play well and make this a better team than last year. I do believe that Phil Nevin will once again screw this up and we'll only hear the Ohtani trade rumblings grow louder and louder as the Angels fail to keep up with the Mariners and a stacked AL West.
While they will hang for a bit, expect the Angels to fade and be forced to think about their future at the deadline, rather than playoff baseball.