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AL West 10/26: Tal’s Hill is gone and so is Thad Levine

Check out what’s going on in the American League West.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Micah Owings is trying to revive his MLB career. The multifaceted veteran has signed a minor league deal with Seattle and will focus on his pitching skills. Owings spent last year playing independent ball (not too different than our good friend Rich Hill) and earned a 4.30 ERA in 106.2 IP and 19 starts. A veteran figure who has leadership skills and takes initiative would certainly bolster the Mariners’ bullpen.

As the Astros get rid of Tal’s Hill, that random and head tilt inducing incline in Minute Maid Park’s center field, questions arise on the removal of this chunk of land. What impact will it have on the game? How long is that going to take? What will the Astros players take turns rolling down when the game is over and everyone has gone home? I need answers.

“Minute Maid Park, in its former composition, was a nearly neutral offensive park. Per FanGraphs, in 2015, it ranked 21st league wide with a park factor of 98 (where 100 is a league-average park). It looks like almost all of that (relatively minor) offensive suppression came on strikeouts, however, where Houston had a park factor of 103, tied for the largest in the league. On the park factors that relate to Tal's Hill, Minute Maid was already above average, with a home run park factor of 105 (9th), a triple park factor of 108 (8th), and a double park factor of 100 (10th). Moving in the fences in deep center – one of the only places where Minute Maid takes away hits rather than adds them – is likely going to push Houston's overall park factor over 100.”



Yesterday, Angels first baseman C.J. Cron underwent surgery to remedy pain he was experiencing in his thumb.

Cron broke his hand earlier this season, so it’s worth noting that this issue could have been lingering affects.

The upside of your time not being in the World Series? More time to yell about football. Mike Trout takes his Eagles very seriously.

After the completion of the World Series, the Twins will hire long time Rangers assistant general manager, Thad Levine. This is certainly going to shake up the Rangers front office, adding the chaos that is offseason hirings and firings. It will be interesting to see who Texas will look for to fill this vacancy (fingers crossed for Kim Ng).

Sonny Gray’s sophomore slump felt more like a finale for a promising career than your average second year growing pains. Could his fast rise and uneventful last season be used against a litmus test of other pitchers who had the same speed bumps? Or is Gray’s career just over before we could come up with a clever catch phrase?

“Then, 2016 happened. Gray was downright bad and a guy who was once the cornerstone of a young rotation was the leading cause of disappointment for a team that couldn't do anything right.

One of the first questions you have to ask when thinking about the viability of a 2017 playoff run is which Gray will we get. The difference between Gray's 2015 and 2016 is the difference between an ace and a fringe major leaguer, and could easily be the difference between 82 wins and a playoff berth. What does history have to say?”

The Athletics also announced the return of Chip Hale to be the team’s third base coach.

After leaving the A’s in 2014, Hale went to Arizona to manager the Diamondbacks, the position he was fired from about a month ago.