Hot Stove Update: American League West, Part II

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, we reviewed the A's and Rangers from the AL West. Here is a brief look at how the Angels, Mariners and Astros have morphed this offseason. Part two of two.

AL West 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 second Wild Card spot. The Angels never got things going, finishing with 78 wins. The Mariners did what they normally do, pitch well, but 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 finished 51-111, a staggering 45 games back of the A's. They just finished one of the worst three year runs in MLB history, 162-324, a 0.333 winning percentage. Ouch!

Find Part I of the series (focusing on Oakland and Texas) here.

2013 lineups/rotation/bullpen are based on a balance of full season and September usage. For 2014 what you see is based on current MLB.com depth charts.

Angels

2014

2013


2014

2013

Hitting


Pitching

C

Chris Ianetta

Chris Ianetta

SP1

Jeff Weaver

Jeff Weaver

1B

Albert Pujols

Mark Trumbo

SP2

CJ Wilson

Jerome Williams

2B

Howie Kendrick

Howie Kendrick

SP3

Garrett Richards

CJ Wilson

3B

David Freese

Andrew Romine

SP4

Hector Santiago

Garrett Richards

SS

Erick Aybar

Erick Aybar

SP5

Tyler Skaggs

Jason Vargas

LF

Josh Hamilton

JB Shuck

CF

Mike Trout

Mike Trout

CL

Ernesto Frieri

Ernesto Frieri

RF

Kole Calhoun

Kole Calhoun

RP

Joe Smith

Dane De La Rosa

DH

Raul Ibanez

Josh Hamilton

RP

Sean Burnett

Michael Kohn

RP

Dane De La Rosa

Kevin Jepsen

IF

Grant Green

Grant Green

RP

Michael Kohn

Scott Downs

IF/OF

Colin Cowgill

Chris Nelson

RP

Kevin Jepsen

JC Gutierrez

C

Hank Conger

Hank Conger

RP

Fernando Salas

Buddy Boshers

OF

JB Shuck

Peter Bourjos

Lost Free Agents: SP Billy Buckner (unsigned); RP Robert Coello (Yankees); SP Barry Enright (unsigned); SP Tommy Hanson (non-tendered); OF Brad Hawpe (released); SP Jason Vargas (Royals); SP Jerome Williams (unsigned)

Signed Free Agents: RP Joe Smith, DH Raul Ibanez, SP Mark Mulder (minor), IF John McDonald (minor); OF Brennan Boesch (minor); 1B Carlos Pena (minor)

Trades: OF Peter Bourjos and OF Randal Grichuk to Cardinals for 3B David Freese and RP Fernando Salas; OF Mark Trumbo and SP AJ Schugel (PTBNL) to Diamondbacks for SP Tyler Skaggs and SP Hector Santiago from White Sox

2014 Outlook

The Angels struggled from the get go last year and then Pujols went down. If Pujols returns to his normal levels, the loss of Trumbo will not be felt. But, Pujols is another year older and another year closer to being a contract albatross. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Of course, when you have one of the best players in baseball (Trout, in case there was any doubt) on your team, you have a chance. Trumbo netted them two pitchers to help out their rotation in Santiago and highly regarded prospect Skaggs. I like the pickup of Freese, but I think Ibanez is done. Old friend Joe Smith was signed to help bolster their pen. I think they are improved for 2014, but still a bit back of both Texas and Oakland.

Mariners

2014

2013


2014

2013


Hitting


Pitching

C

Mike Zunino

Mike Zunino

SP1

Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez

1B

Justin Smoak

Justin Smoak

SP2

Hishashi Iwakuma

Hishashi Iwakuma

2B

Robinson Cano

Nick Franklin

SP3

Erasmo Ramirez

Brandon Maurer

3B

Kyle Seager

Kyle Seager

SP4

Taijuan Walker

James Paxton

SS

Brad Miller

Brad Miller

SP5

Brandon Maurer

Erasmo Ramirez

LF

Dustin Ackely

Raul Ibanez

CF

Saunders

Dustin Ackely

CL

Danny Farquhar

Tom Wilhelmsen

RF

Logan Morrison

Michael Saunders

RP

Yoervis Medina

Yoervis Medina

DH

Corey Hart

Kendrys Morales

RP

Charlie Furbush

Charlie Furbush

RP

Tom Wilhelmsen

Carter Capps

IF

Willie Bloomquist

Brendan Ryan

RP

Lucas Luetge

Oliver Perez

C

John Buck

Henry Blanco

RP

Stephen Pryor

Danny Farquhar

OF

Franklin Gutierrez

Franklin Gutierrez

RP

Hector Noesi

Lucas Luetge

IF/OF

Nick Franklin

Abraham Almonte

Lost Free Agents: OF Jason Bay (unsigned); C Henry Blanco (Diamondbacks); LF Raul Ibanez (Angels); DH Kendrys Morales (unsigned); RP Oliver Perez (unsigned); SP Joe Saunders (unsigned)

Signed Free Agents: IF Willie Bloomquist; 2B Robinson Cano; OF Corey Hart, C John Buck; SP Scott Baker (minor); OF Cole Gillespie (minor)

Trades: RP Carter Capps to Marlins for 1B Logan Morrison; OF Carlos Peguero to Royals for PTBNL

2014 Outlook

After years of a great pitching staff and horrific hitting, the Mariners finally addressed the lineup this offseason. They signed the top hitter on the market, Cano and then traded for Logan Morrison. Both are huge upgrades to the roster. Corey Hart should adequately replace Morales. Bloomquist is a definite upgrade over Ryan and John Buck was signed as insurance for phenom Zunino. The starters were basically Hernandez, Iwakuma and nothing else. Taijuan Walker has the pedigree to join as a third ace, but is still just 21. Farquhar should be an upgrade over Wilhelmsen and the rest of the pen have ok K rates, but are mostly unproven. If everything breaks right, they could pass the Angels. But they will not be a pushover any more on nights Hernandez and Iwakuma are not pitching.

Astros

2014

2013


2014

2013


Hitting


Pitching

C

Jason Castro

Carlos Corporan

SP1

Scott Feldman

Dallas Keuchel

1B

Brett Wallace

Chris Carter

SP2

Brett Oberholzer

Erik Bedard

2B

Jose Altuve

Jose Altuve

SP3

Jarred Cosart

Jordan Lyles

3B

Matt Dominguez

Matt Dominguez

SP4

Brad Peacock

Brett Oberholzer

SS

Jonathan Villar

Jonathan Villar

SP5

Dallas Keuchel

Paul Clemens

LF

Robbie Grossman

Trevor Crowe

CF

Dexter Fowler

Brandon Barnes

CL

Josh Fields

Josh Fields

RF

LJ Hoes

LJ Hoes

RP

Chia-Jen Lo

Wesley Wright

DH

Chris Carter

Brandon Laird

RP

Jesse Crain

Hector Ambriz

RP

Josh Zeid

Travis Blackley

IF

Marwin Gonzalez

Brett Wallace

RP

Alex White

Lucas Harrell

C

Carlos Corporan

Cody Clark

RP

Chad Qualls

Jose Cisnero

OF

Marc Krauss

JD Martinez

RP

Anthony Bass

Philip Humber

IF/OF

Jesus Guzman

Marc Krauss

Matt Albers

Lost Free Agents: RP Hetcor Ambriz (unsigned); SP Erik Bedard (unsigned); OF Trevor Crowe (Tigers); SP Edgar Gonzalez (unsigned); SP Philip Humber (Athletics); IF Brandon Laird (Royals); RP Wade LeBlanc (Angels)

Signed Free Agents: SP Scott Feldman; RP Chad Qualls, RP Matt Albers, RP Jesse Crain; SS Cesar Izturis (minor)

Trades: OF Brandon Barnes and SP Jordan Lyles to Rockies for OF Dexter Fowler and PTBNL; PTBNL to Padres for RP Anthony Bass and PTBNL; 3B Ryan Jackson to Padres for 1B Jose Guzman

2014 Outlook

If the Astros win 63 games this year, thus avoiding 100 losses, it will be like making the playoffs, as bad as they have been in the past three seasons. The good news is they have a decent young hitting core in Altuve, Dominguez and Hoes. Having Castro back from injury will give them another good stick to work with. The pickup of Fowler should help as well. Carter and Wallace both need to start living up their prospect hype or they could be gone after this season. Feldman will help the rotation, but is only one guy. They still have a lot of unproven arms in the rotation. Mark Appel can't get to Houston fast enough. The bullpen picked up three veterans in Crain, Qualls and LGFT Albers. Whether or not they will help is another story as they are all on the wrong side of 30.

Next week, the AL East, otherwise known as the division of massive payrolls.

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