Hot Stove Update: American League West, Part I

Sarah Glenn

Last month we focused on our four division rivals. While that takes care of our main competition, we also will play another 86 games out of our division. Here is a brief look at how each team in the AL West has morphed this offseason. Part one of two.

2013 in Review

The Athletics pretty much controlled this division by mid-September. They finished 5.5 games up on the Rangers, who lost the play-in game with the Rays for the Wild Card spot. The Angels never got the season going, finishing at 78 wins. The Mariners did what they normally do, pitch well and not hit a lick. They landed at 71 wins. And deep in the bowels of the AL West (and the AL itself) were the Astros. They did not even win a third of their games, finishing 51-111, a full 45 games back of the A's. They just finished one of the worst three year runs in major league history, 162-324, a 0.333 winning percentage. Ouch!

2013 lineups are based on September games with the bench my best guess. 2013 Rotation/Bullpen is also meant to be September based, but I also went with most starts/appearances in some cases. For 2014, hitting and pitching based off the mlb.com depth charts.

Athletics

2014

2013

2014

2013

Hitting

Pitching

C

Derek Norris

Derek Norris

SP1

Jarrod Parker

AJ Griffin

1B

Brandon Moss

Daric Barton

SP2

Scott Kazmir

Jarrod Parker

2B

Eric Sogard

Callaspo

SP3

Sonny Gray

Bartolo Colon

3B

Josh Donaldson

Josh Donaldson

SP4

AJ Griffin

Tommy Milone

SS

Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie

SP5

Dan Straily

Dan Straily

LF

Yoenis Cespedes

Seth Smith

CF

Coco Crisp

Coco Crisp

CL

Jim Johnson

Grant Balfour

RF

Josh Reddick

Josh Reddick

RP

Sean Doolittle

Sean Doolittle

DH

John Jaso

Yoenis Cespedes

RP

Luke Gregerson

Ryan Cook

RP

Ryan Cook

Jerry Blevins

IF

Barton/Callaspo

Brandon Moss

RP

Dan Otero

Pat Neshek

IF

Punto

Eric Sogard

RP

Jesse Chavez

Sonny Gray

C

Stephen Vogt

Stephen Vogt

RP

Eric O'Flaherty

Jesse Chavez

OF

Craig Gentry

Chris Young

Fernando Abad

Transactions

Lost Free Agents: CL Grant Balfour to Rays; SP Bartolo Colon to Mets; RP Pat Neshek (unsigned); RP Hideki Okajima toFukuoka SoftBank Hawks; RP Chris Resop; 2B Scott Sizemore; C Kurt Suzuki; OF Chris Young

Signed Free Agents: Signed IF Nick Punto; SP Scott Kazmir; RP Eric O'Flaherty; SP Philip Humber (minor); C Luke Montz (minor)

Trades: RF John Wooten to Nationals. for RP Fernando Abad; 2B Jemile Weeks and PTBNL to Orioles for RP Jim Johnson; RF Michael Choice and 2B Chris Bostick to Rangers for OF Craig Gentry and RP Josh Lindblom; OF Seth Smith to Padres for RP Luke Gregerson; SP Brett Anderson to Rockies for SP Drew Pomeranz and SP Chris Jensen; RP Jeremy Blevins to Nationals for OF Billy Burns

2014 Outlook

They have essentially replaced Colon with Kazmir and swapped closers, Johnson for Balfour. The rest of the changes were pretty minor overall. Gregerson should improve their bullpen. Gentry is likely better than Young or Smith, but Punto is really not useful anymore. Callaspo was playing every day in September, but should win a bench role this year. Barton has had numerous chances and probably won't make the roster this year as Moss looks to be the better player. On paper, they should be right around their win season from a year ago.

Rangers

2014

2013

2014

2013

Hitting

Pitching

C

Geovany Soto

AJ Pierzynski

SP1

Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish

1B

Prince Fielder

Mitch Moreland

SP2

Derek Holland

Derek Holland

2B

Jurickson Profar

Ian Kinsler

SP3

Martin Perez

Martin Perez

3B

Adrian Beltre

Adrian Beltre

SP4

Alexi Ogando

Matt Garza

SS

Elvis Andrus

Elvis Andrus

SP5

Matt Harrison

Alexi Ogando

LF

Shin-Soo Choo

Craig Gentry

CF

Leonys Martin

Leonys Martin

CL

Neftali Feliz

Joe Nathan

RF

Alex Rios

Alex Rios

RP

Joakim Soria

Tanner Scheppers

DH

Mitch Moreland

Nelson Cruz

RP

Neal Cotts

Robbie Ross

RP

Tanner Scheppers

Neal Cotts

IF

Adam Rosales

Jurickson Profar

RP

Robbie Ross

Jason Frasor

IF/C

Robinson Chirinos

Lance Berkman

RP

Jason Frasor

Joseph Ortiz

C

JP Arencibia

Geovany Soto

RP

Michael Kirkman

Ross Wolf

OF

Michael Choice

David Murphy

Transactions

Lost Free Agents: DH Lance Berkman (retired); IF Jeff Baker(unsigned); SP Travis Blackley (unsigned), OF Nelson Cruz (unsigned); SP Matt Garza to Brewers; IF Brendan Harris to Dodgers; OF David Murphy to Indians; RP Joe Nathan to Tigers; C Pierzynski to Red Sox

Signed Free Agents: Signed C JP Arencibia; 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff (minor); IF Brent Lillibridge (minor); LF Shin-Soo Choo; RP Rafael Perez (minor)

Trades: 2B Ian Kinsler to Tigers for 1B Prince Fielder; OF Craig Gentry and SP Josh Lindblom to A's for OF Michael Choice and 2B Chris Bostick; 1B Chris McGuiness to Pirates for RP Miles Mikolas

2014 Outlook

For a team that just missed the playoffs by one game a year ago, there was some massive changes to the lineup. The loss of Cruz should not be felt as he missed a good chunk of last year from PEDs already. The pickup of Fielder should help this year, but could become a huge paperweight on the payroll going forward. Choo will definitely surpass what Gentry could have given them. The one benefit in getting Fielder was opening a spot for Profar at second. I don't think he'll hit all that much, but in that lineup, he won't really need to. The loss of Pierzynski might be felt though as Soto is not as good of a hitter. The rotation will be fine without Garza provided Ogando and Harrison return to their pre-injury status. The loss of Nathan at closer should be negated by the fact the Feliz has electric stuff. He just needs to show he can take on that role. On paper, this team should be the favorite over the A's in 2014.

Next up, the Angels, Mariners and woeful Astros.

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