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LA Angels: American League West Offseason Review

By Vincent Page
ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 22: Owner Arte Moreno and general manager Billy Eppler applaud as The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Introduce new team manager Brad Ausmus during a press conference at Angel Stadium on October 22, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 22: Owner Arte Moreno and general manager Billy Eppler applaud as The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Introduce new team manager Brad Ausmus during a press conference at Angel Stadium on October 22, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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The LA Angels were one of the most improved teams in baseball this offseason. However, what their division rivals in the American League West did is just as important, so we’ll be recapping each team’s offseason for you here.

Texas Rangers

Okay, maybe this one doesn’t matter too much for the LA Angels. The Rangers finished last season 67-95, one of the worst recorded in the entire league.The biggest moment of the Rangers’ offseason was when future Hall of Fame third baseman Adrian Beltre decided to hang up the cleats, ending a career that is one of the best in Rangers’ history.

While the team seems bound for a long rebuilding process, the front office doesn’t seem ready for that. They went out and signed aging starting pitcher Lance Lynn to a three-year, $30 million deal. On top of that, they gave former Halo Jesse Chavez a two-year deal despite him turning 36 this season.

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It was a confusing offseason by the Rangers. In the uber-competitive AL West they seem to be an easy choice for dead last, as their ball club has too many holes to win games consistently.

Seattle Mariners

Speaking of teams that are confusing, does anybody have any idea what the Seattle Mariners’ goals are this season? They had one of the biggest winter’s in the MLB, but made headlines mostly for subtractions from the roster.

First, they traded ace James Paxton to the New York Yankees for a package involving Justus Sheffield, who some see more as a reliever than a starter.

Then, they dealt Robinson Cano to the Mets, while also giving up Edwin Diaz, who is arguably the best closing pitcher in baseball right now. In return they received prospects and role players, most notably Jay Bruce.

For a club that wants to end their 16-year playoff drought (the longest current drought in US sports), they sure seemed to take a step back this offseason. Even by signing Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, this team is nowhere near as talented as the core that, if not for a late season collapse, would have ended that drought in 2018.

Oakland Athletics

After a 2018 season that surprised all of baseball, the Oakland A’s are a strong candidate for serious regression this year. No, this isn’t because of Kyler Murray choosing to play football, even if that may make Halo fans smile. For a glimpse into the A’s offseason, just take a look at some of the newest Angels.

Jonathan Lucroy was vital to the A’s success last year, especially as their starting rotation dwindled. He navigated ballgames exceptionally in Oakland, something Halos hope he replicates in Anaheim this year. Starting pitcher Trevor Cahill also was in Oakland last year, so he and Lucroy both will hope to keep their magic in 2019.

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The A’s being a small market team were unable to make a lot of noise this winter. They did add some depth to a very questionable rotation. Their biggest splash was signing Jurickson Profar, who has the potential to be one of the best utility men in the MLB. While he hasn’t gotten to that point so far in his career, the A’s are hoping his age 26 season is the beginning of his prime.

Overall, their losses have been greater than their gains in Northern California. Their bullpen is still one of the elite group in the MLB, but they do risk being overused if Oakland’s top pitching prospects Jesus Luzardo and A.J Puk aren’t able to pitch meaningful innings this season.

Houston Astros

Plain and simply, the Houston Astros have regressed so far this offseason. However, when it comes to the AL West, their regression might not matter all that much come the season. The Astros were, and still are, amongst the best teams in baseball.

Their offense is still exceptional, as the only big loss for that group was utility man Marwin Gonzalez, who signed with the Minnesota Twins. They did add outfielder Michael Brantley, who is hoping for a comeback season as he chases a title in Houston. The team also brought in catcher Robinson Chirinos to replace former Angels favorite Martin Maldonado, who is still on the market.

The big question mark for the Astros is their rotation, which seems weird to say. Obviously Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole form the best 1-2 duo in the entire MLB, but there is a lot of uncertainty behind them. Former Cy Young Dallas Kuechel is still on the open market, though it seems there won’t be a reunion. The Astros brought in Wade Miley to try to fill the gap, but it is an obvious downgrade.

Next. Three Free Agents That Can Make the Angels Contenders

Overall, the Astros are still far and away the best team in the division. Despite their regression over the offseason, they were so far ahead of the rest of the AL West it doesn’t matter. However, it is worth noting that the only team in the American League that undoubtedly improved over the winter was the LA Angels.

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