The offseason is officially beginning and the rumors are swirling. We have covered every bit of news here at Halo Hangout for the Los Angeles Angels, but what about the rest of the division? Here is your chance to get a hold on what is happening with the teams the Angels will be going against for a division title. There is some player news involved and some other things happening in the American League West.
The Seattle Mariners are looking at the free agent market for offensive help this offseason writes Bob Dutton. For a team that had the best bullpen in baseball, the offense was lacking. They were eleventh in the league in scoring out of fifteen teams so looking at the free agent market would be smart. Some names mentioned include Nelson Cruz, Victor Martinez who has a qualifying offer from the Detroit Tigers so it will cost them a pick, and Yoenis Cespedes. All of those names will bring an offensive punch to a lineup needing some help. The only question is whether they want to come to the Mariners organization or not.
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There is a couple of things happening down in Houston worth mentioning. The first is their former number one overall pick Mark Appel. Appel has pitched in the Arizona Fall League this season and as Jim Callis writes, he is striving for more fastball command. The Astros are playing the prospect game like a lot of small-market clubs and Appel is a big piece of that. He will look to continue to get better with his command, which will in turn make him a better overall pitcher.
Over at Climbing Tal’s Hill, Kyle Franzoni wrote about the possibility of there being no Tal’s Hill at Minute Maid Park after the 2015 season. Using his words, losing Tal’s hill would be, “unimaginable. Call it unfathomable. Call it blasphemy.” He goes on to say that Minute Maid Park would never be the same without it and I agree. The flagpole in play, the rareness of a hill on a baseball diamond, that would all be gone and make Minute Maid Park a cookie-cutter park. The Astros have something unique and they need to stick with it, instead of getting rid of it all together.
Up in Oakland they are having a debate about qualifying offers. As Susan Slusser writes, the A’s are unlikely to give shortstop Jed Lowrie a qualifying offer that would be $15.3 million for one season. The other part of a qualifying offer is that if the A’s offer him a qualifying offer and he declines and signs elsewhere they will get compensation in the June draft. If they don’t give him the offer and decide to go elsewhere, Slusser adds that Stephen Drew could be an option. If I’m the A’s and Billy Beane I decide to spend my money elsewhere. You can get a cheaper shortstop with about the same ability as Lowrie. That’s just me, but they have until 5:00 p.m. tomorrow to decide.
As for the Texas Rangers, Evan Grant tweeted this earlier this week,
Lewis is an arm that they would like to have in their rotation, but wants to test the market to see what he can get elsewhere. The Rangers have a new manager and are looking to start over after a disaster of a 2014 season. Yu Darvish will lead the pitching staff followed by Derek Holland, who is coming off an injury, but after that things get a little bit shaky with the pitching staff. As Grant mentioned in his tweet, the door is still open for a Lewis return to the Rangers rotation.
That is the news & notes from the AL West from this week. Things are sure to start brewing beginning tomorrow with the official opening of free agency. Stayed tuned as we will bring you all the news you will need to know about the AL West and the Halos throughout the winter.