AL WEST

**SPOILER** In this section my heavy personal bias will rear it’s ugly head, and all opinions will be completely subjective.

Oakland Athletics

  • 2015: 68-94 (last)
  • Offseason (current roster): traded RHP Jesse Chavez to Toronto Blue Jays for RHP Liam Hendriks, traded RHP Evan Scribner to Seattle Mariners for RHP Trey Cochran-Gill, traded 3B Brett Lawrie to Chicago White Sox for RHP J.B. Wendelken and LHP Zack Erwin, signed free agent RHP Ryan Madson, signed free agent RHP John Axford, signed free agent RHP Henderson Alvarez.
  • Top performers: Sonny Gray (5.8), Stephen Vogt (3.5), Josh Reddick (3.5), Scott Kazmir (3.3) ** traded on 7/23/2015
  • I can never really tell what level of success Oakland is going to attain in a given year. 2012-2014 were the most recent glory years in Oakland’s history, but then 2015 happened. 2015’s problem was without a doubt, the bullpen. They’ve made a few moves toward trying to improve that problem, but anything should be better than the disaster that was there last year. Their starting rotation is relying on a whole lot on everyone not named Sonny Gray staying healthy, so it might be a long shot to hope for a whole lot there. The Athletics might not be anything to write home about this year, but in the next few years when everyone gets on the same page I think they’ll definitely be a problem in the West again.  Actually if Billy Beane has anything to say about it… I know they will. 

Texas Rangers

  • 2015: 88-74 (1st)
  • Offseason (current roster): traded CF Leonys Martin and RHP Anthony Bass to Seattle Mariners for RHP Tom Wilhelmsen, CF James Jones and Player To Be Named Later (3B Patrick Kivlehan), Texas Rangers traded RHP Spencer Patton to Chicago Cubs for 2B Frandy De La Rosa, signed free agent RHP Tony Barnette, signed free agent RF Justin Ruggiano.
  • Top performers: Adrian Beltre (5.8), Yovani Gallardo (4.3), Shin-Soo Choo (3.5), Mitch Moreland (2.2)
  • I have a personal connection to the  Texas Rangers, as I live with a Rangers fan. The rivalry is STRONG in our household. I will never not believe that the Rangers should belong three steps behind the Mariners at all times. In reality I haven’t really been able to backup my strong opinions with concrete facts, but this year I might actually be able to do just that. Fangraphs has my Mariners finishing on top of the Rangers (barely), but beggars cannot be choosers my friend. On a more serious note they look to be in alright shape coming into 2016.  Like many other teams they have a decent enough ace (Cole Hamels) but with Yu Darvish coming back off a season long injury and Derek Holland being currently plugged in as their number 3, it’s hard to tell if the Texas rotation will have significant upside. They have Jurickson Profar for another year of infield depth (and for cheap may I add). Adrian Beltre is talking extensions, and Prince Fielder will hopefully remain producing. They are projected to have a +16 run differential (only down 2 from last year’s finish where they won the division). While I don’t like to admit success to my opponents, the Rangers, Astros and M’s will have a competitive race ahead of them this year.  

Houston Astros

  • 2015: 86-76 (2nd)
  • Offseason (current roster):  traded LF L.J. Hoes to Baltimore Orioles for cash. traded 3B Jed Lowrie to Oakland Athletics for RHP Brendan McCurry, traded SS Jonathan Villar to Milwaukee Brewers for RHP Cy Sneed, traded C Hank Conger to Tampa Bay Rays for cash,  signed free agent LHP Tony Sipp.
  • Top performers: Dallas Keuchel (7.2), Jose Altuve (4.5), Carlos Correa (4.1), George Springer (3.8)
  • To me (maybe to you too) the Astros seemed to be the annoying little brother of the West. You knew they were eventually going to be really good and stronger than you could ever imagine,  but they grew up at least 3 years too early… The Houston Astros everybody. Dallas Keuchel was the AL Cy Young winner and Carlos Correa was the AL Rookie of the Year, because of course they were. My point here is that they matured a little bit earlier than projected/expected because of their great player development and it will continue to pay off this season. Let us not forget there was a period of time last season where they knocked themselves out of the AL West title by losing a whole bunch of games when Texas subsequently won a bunch of games, but we can chalk that up to growing pains. First base could still be an upgrade worth looking at (Chris Davis anyone), but they return pretty much the same good lineup (pocket Altuve included) as last year. Like mentioned earlier it’s going to be tight division race among the Astros, M’s and Rangers, and I can only assume that the Astros will continue to build on their success from last year.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

  • 2015: 85-77 (3rd)
  • Offseason (current roster): signed free agent 2B Cliff Pennington, signed free agent C Geovany Soto., signed free agent CF Rafael Ortega., traded LF Collin Cowgill to Cleveland Indians for cash., signed free agent LF Craig Gentry, signed free agent LF Daniel Nava.
  • Top performers: Mike Trout (9.4), Albert Pujols (3.1), Kole Calhoun (3.0), David Freese (2.4)
  • Well, the Angels seem to be playing the no money game this year… As they are still paying Josh Hamilton a full salary. They are having to buy low where they could use an upgrade in an everyday player (Daniel Nova/Craig Gentry platoon in left I’m looking at you), but hey any improvement over whatever the heck was in LF last year could contain endless possibilities. They also could use some certainty at 2B/3B. Mike Trout is of course phenomenal but there is no way he can do it on his own, but lets be real he’ll probably come close. He’s just that good. Albert Pujols won’t be back for the start of the season, so you’ll only have to hope that he can get it together quickly when he does return. I mostly agree with Fangraph’s .500 projection for them this year, as I can’t find a whole lot to be excited about this year for them.

Seattle Mariners

  • 2015: 76-86 (4th)
  • Offseason (current roster): traded SS Brad Miller, 1B Logan Morrison and RHP Danny Farquhar to Tampa Bay Rays for RHP Nathan Karns, LHP C.J. Riefenhauser and CF Boog Powell, Seattle Mariners signed free agent LF Franklin Gutierrez,  signed free agent C Chris Iannetta, Seattle Mariners signed free agent RHP Justin De Fratus, Seattle Mariners signed free agent LF Nori Aoki, signed free agent RHP Steve Cishek, signed free agent RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, signed RHP Ryan Cook, acquired RHP Joe Wieland from Dodgers.
  • Top performers: Nelson Cruz (5.2), Felix Hernandez (4.4), Kyle Seager (4.3), Robinson Cano (3.4)
  • I’m sure if you have read a single one of my posts before, you probably already have a pretty decent guess at what my thoughts on the 2016 Mariners are. JUST IN CASE this is your first time reading, my opinion is (always) optimistic. I will always be happy and excited that I have a baseball team that will play all 162 games that season. That fact remains throughout every year. However this offseason in particular has managed to give me quite a few more talking points than I’ve had in the past few offseasons. New GM Jerry Dipoto has spent his short time here in Seattle creating a shiny new roster through buying low (with the hope of a huge upside) and trading away almost everything that has “property of Jack Zduriencik” stamped on it. He’s brought in athletic, defensively suited outfielders (Nori Aoki, Leonys Martin). A first baseman (Adam Lind) that would improve on all 1B performances of the past since good Richie Sexson was in Seattle. He added a catcher that will provide our desired catcher of the future the well deserved (and required) time to actually develop into a major league catcher. What I just mentioned were only a fraction of the transactions that have taken place since November. What I like most about the changes that have occurred here in the Pacific Northwest is the shift in communication. While fans/observers may not have agreed with everything he’s done, there has always been clear reasoning behind each move. Not once in this entire offseason have I felt Dipoto was evading questions, hiding his intentions or anything of the like.  Jerry D is trying implement and execute a fundamental change throughout the entire organization, and that in itself should be enough to warrant genuine excitement. Steamers has us projected at finishing 2nd in a tight AL West division and my goodness I hope they’re wrong… because we’re taking back the division y’all! Go Mariners.
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