A team-by-team preview of the AL West.
1 | L.A. Angels
He’s here: OF Josh Hamilton, RHP Tommy Hanson, LHP Jason Vargas, RHP Joe Blanton, RHP Ryan Madson.
He’s outta here: OF Torii Hunter, RHP Zack Greinke, 1B Kendrys Morales, RHP Dan Haren, RHP Ervin Santana, INF Maicer Izturis, RHP Jordan Walden, OF Vernon Wells.
Written in Stone: As if having the best hitter of the last generation (Albert Pujols) and the best player of the next generation (Mike Trout) wasn’t enough, the Angels added former MVP and batting champion Josh Hamilton, coming off a 43-homer season. At $125 million, about half the price of Pujols, Angels owner Arte Moreno took it out of petty cash. Did I mention Mark Trumbo and his 32 homers? It won’t be an easy lineup for opposing pitchers to navigate, though the quality drops off precipitously toward the bottom. The Angels also revamped their rotation over the winter, replacing Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana with Jason Vargas, Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson — not necessarily a net gain. The departure of Vernon Wells provides a clear-cut spot for Peter Bourjos.
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|LF Mike Trout||.326||30||83|
|SS Erick Aybar||.288||8||45|
|1B Albert Pujols||.285||30||104|
|RF Josh Hamilton||.285||43||128|
|DH Mark Trumbo||.268||32||95|
|2B H. Kendrick||.287||8||67|
|3B A. Callaspo||.252||10||53|
|C Chris Iannetta||.240||9||26|
|CF Peter Bourjos||.220||3||19|
|RH Jered Weaver||20-5||2.81||142|
|LH C.J. Wilson||13-10||3.83||173|
|LH Jason Vargas||14-11||3.81||141|
|RH Joe Blanton||10-13||4.71||166|
|RH T. Hanson||13-10||4.48||161|
|RH Ernesto Frieri||2.32||23||3|
2 | Texas Rangers
He’s here: DH-1B Lance Berkman, C A.J. Pierzynski.
He’s outta here: OF Josh Hamilton, C-1B Mike Napoli, INF Michael Young, RHP Koji Uehara, RHP Mike Adams, RHP Scott Feldman.
Written in Stone: The Rangers should have enough talent to overcome discordant recent events, starting with last fall’s stretch-drive collapse and wild-card-game ouster. The winter saw the departures of Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young, while the spring brought a management power struggle that might result in the departure of franchise icon Nolan Ryan. Good times. Oh, did I mention that closer Joe Nathan struggled in spring, and prospective fifth starter Martin Perez was lost to a fractured wrist bone? On the brighter side, Mitch Moreland has raked all spring, Lance Berkman appears healthy after two knee surgeries last season and Yu Darvish is over the adjustment period and poised for a big year. Things should get better in May, when Colby Lewis, Perez and Joakim Soria are all due off the DL. Neftali Feliz (Tommy John) could be back in August.
|2B Ian Kinsler||.256||19||72|
|SS Elvis Andrus||.286||3||62|
|DH L. Berkman||.259||2||7|
|3B Adrian Beltre||.321||36||103|
|RF Nelson Cruz||.260||24||90|
|LF David Murphy||.302||15||61|
|C A.J. Pierzynski||.278||27||77|
|1B M. Moreland||.275||15||50|
|CF L. Martin*||.359||12||42|
|LH M. Harrison||18-11||3.29||133|
|RH Yu Darvish||16-9||3.90||221|
|RH Alexi Ogando||2-0||3.27||66|
|LH D. Holland||12-7||4.67||145|
|RH N. Tepesch*||11-6||3.67||127|
|RH Joe Nathan||2.80||37||3|
3 | Oakland Athletics
He’s here: OF Chris Young, INF Jed Lowrie, SS Hiroyuki Nakajima, C John Jaso.
He’s outta here: SS Stephen Drew, RHP Brandon McCarthy, RHP Tyson Ross, OF Jonny Gomes, SS Cliff Pennington, 3B Brandon Inge.
Written in Stone: The doom and gloom of last winter miraculously turned into a division title for the A’s, a tribute to the acumen of GM Billy Beane, the leadership of ex-Mariners manager Bob Melvin and the performance of a young Oakland team. The ever-tinkering Beane has added former Diamondback Chris Young to an already-crowded outfield situation, brought back Bartolo Colon despite last year’s drug suspension, dipped into Japan for shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima (who is out with a strained hamstring), and acquired catcher John Jaso from the Mariners. Beane hit the jackpot last year with virtually every move he made, including the ones that were interpreted as giving up on the season. The biggest yields were 32-homer right fielder Josh Reddick from Boston and starters Jarrod Parker (from Arizona) and Tommy Milone (from Washington), who combined for 26 wins. Signing Cuban Yoenis Cespedes was another coup.
|2B S. Sizemore||.245||11||56|
|CF Coco Crisp||.257||11||46|
|LF Y. Cespedes||.292||23||82|
|RF Josh Reddick||.242||32||85|
|DH Seth Smith||.240||14||52|
|1B Brandon Moss||.291||21||52|
|3B J. Donaldson||.241||9||33|
|C John Jaso||.276||10||49|
|SS H. Nakajima*||.311||13||74|
|LH B. Anderson||4-2||2.57||25|
|RH Jarrod Parker||13-8||3.42||140|
|LH T. Milone||13-10||3.69||137|
|RH A.J. Griffin||7-1||2.95||64|
|RH Dan Straily||2-1||3.89||32|
|RH G. Balfour||2.53||24||2|
*Japanese League statistics.
4 | Seattle Mariners
He’s here: OF Michael Morse, 1B-DH Kendrys Morales, OF-DH Raul Ibanez, OF-DH Jason Bay, INF Robert Andino, LHP Joe Saunders.
He’s outta here: LHP Jason Vargas, C Miguel Olivo, C John Jaso, INF Munenori Kawasaki, INF Chone Figgins, RHP Shawn Kelley.
Written in Stone: The Mariners are looking for a lot more thump from their lineup, and the signs from Arizona were encouraging. With Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales, they should have a bona-fide presence in the middle of the order for the first time in awhile. They hope younger players like Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak will blossom in less pressurized lineup spots. Smoak is probably down to his last chance, but his .341 average over the final 27 games of 2012, plus a strong spring, give hope he has finally figured things out. The rotation is in flux while waiting for the arrival of the “Big Three,” but 22-year-old Brandon Maurer beat them all to The Show. Joe Saunders assumes the Jason Vargas role of crafty veteran lefty, and ace Felix Hernandez anchors it all.
|RF M. Saunders||.247||19||57|
|CF F. Gutierrez||.260||4||17|
|LF M. Morse||.291||18||62|
|DH K. Morales||.273||22||73|
|1B Justin Smoak||.217||19||51|
|3B Kyle Seager||.259||20||83|
|C Jesus Montero||.267||15||62|
|2B Dustin Ackley||.226||12||50|
|SS B. Ryan||.194||3||31|
|RH F. Hernandez||13-9||3.06||223|
|RH H. Iwakuma||9-5||3.16||101|
|LH Joe Saunders||9-13||4.07||112|
|RH B. Maurer*||9-2||3.20||117|
|RH B. Beavan||11-11||4.43||67|
|RH T. Wilhelmsn||4-3||29||5|
5 | Houston Astros
He’s here: 1B-DH Carlos Pena, OF Rick Ankiel, RHP Jose Veras, RHP Philip Humber, OF Chris Carter, RHP Brad Peacock.
He’s outta here: SS Jed Lowrie, C Chris Snyder, OF Travis Buck, RHP Fernando Rodriguez.
Written in Stone: The Astros landed in the AL West after becoming the first National League team to change leagues. They are coming off seasons of 106 and 107 losses — and might not be that good in 2013. The ‘Stros are in the ultimate rebuilding mode, which means that such trifle matters as victories aren’t a high priority. Their inaugural AL campaign figures to be another rocky one. The Astros have dumped virtually all their established players in the past three years, leaving them with a hodgepodge of developing young players and journeyman veterans while waiting for the farm system to churn out prospects. The biggest bright spot — and the best reason to watch them — is 5-foot-5 second baseman Jose Altuve, who hit .290 last year and made the All-Star team. Bud Norris is a solid pitcher, which means he might be the next one out of the door.
|2B Jose Altuve||.290||7||37|
|RF Rick Ankiel||.228||5||15|
|CF J. Maxwell||.225||18||53|
|DH B. Wallace||.253||9||24|
|LF Chris Carter||.239||16||39|
|1B Carlos Pena||.197||19||61|
|3B M. Dominguez||.284||5||16|
|C Jason Castro||.257||6||29|
|SS Ronny Cedeno||.259||4||22|
|RH Bud Norris||6-11||3.77||176|
|RH Lucas Harrell||11-11||3.76||140|
|RH P. Humber||5-5||6.44||84|
|LH Erik Bedard||7-14||5.01||118|
|RH B. Peacock*||12-9||6.01||139|
|RH Jose Veras||3.63||1||1|