The LA Angels might not have been as active as fans were hoping for, but they are still arguably the most improved team in the AL West thus far in free agency.
While that doesn’t make the LA Angels the best team in the division right away, they definitely took a step in the right direction. They placed fourth in the AL West last year, but it doesn’t appear they’re destined to do so again. While games won’t be played for nearly three months, it’s never too early to power rank the five teams in the AL West after the initial free agency period.
5.) Seattle Mariners
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The Mariners finished 2019 as the worst team in the division, and have only gotten worse this offseason. They traded away one of the best offensive catchers in Omar Narvaez, and continue the early stages of their rebuild. There wasn’t much for the Mariners to lose this offseason, but they still somehow managed to go into the new year with less talent than they had before.
4.) Texas Rangers
Outside of Anaheim, the Rangers may be the most improved team this winter. They went into the offseason with their sights set on starting pitching and Texas native Anthony Rendon. They succeeded in adding pitching, as Corey Kluber could be the frontline starter they need, and they got him at a phenomenal price. However, this offense still lacks the pop to keep up with the rest of the division.
3.) Oakland Athletics
Key Additions: None
As is always the case for Oakland, the offseason has been about shedding salary rather than finding free agents to bring in on lucrative deals. However, while they didn’t bring in anyone notable from outside of their organization, they have plenty of help on the way from their minor league systems.
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Top prospects A.J Puk and Jesus Luzardo are set to be full-time major leaguers next year, while two-way catcher Sean Murphy is ready to be the team’s starting backstop. Given their already great core of position players, elite bullpen, and consistent overachieving, the A’s will be the Angels’ strongest competition for an AL Wild Card spot.
2.) LA Angels
Key Losses: OF Kole Calhoun
The Angels are inarguably the most improved AL West team this offseason. They’re the only ones who added a legitimate superstar in Anthony Rendon, and while missing out on all of the top starters hurt, Teheran and Bundy are nice fallbacks. Neither are going to be an All Star, but they’ll provide the consistent innings that the Angels’ needed last year. Shohei Ohtani will also be making his much-anticipated return to the mound.
People forget this team was legitimately good midway through last season, and these two acquisitions should stabilize the rotation. Another plus for the Angels is that they arguably have the most maneuverability to make a trade to further bolster their team. Whether that comes this offseason or during the 2020 season, Billy Eppler doesn’t seem to be done yet.
1.) Houston Astros
Key Additions: RP Blake Taylor
It’s hard to think of a team who lost more talent than the Astros this offseason. The most dominant pitcher in baseball, a starting catcher, rotational depth, their closer, and a key outfielder all departed from Houston this offseason. Nonetheless, they are still the best team in this division, with or without a trash can.
The Astros offseason is going to be the theme for years to come. With so much young talent the past few years, they’re going to have to start choosing who to keep and who to let walk. However, for the time being, the Astros are head and shoulders above the rest of the division.