Key Additions: none
Key Departures: Gerrit Cole, Will Harris, Wade Miley
It’s been one hell of an offseason for a team that nearly won a second* World Series in three years. It’s clear the players don’t really feel bad or ashamed of the cheating scheme they went unpunished for. In fact, they’re playing the victim card of wanting to prove everybody wrong by winning this season. With the roster being very much the same - sans Cole - as last year, it’s not unreasonable to view them as an AL favorite in 2020. The biggest unknown is how far did the advantage go with the cheating. That’s something that might be realized this year.
Key Additions: TJ McFarland
Key Departures: Blake Treinen, Josh Phegley, Tanner Roark
Assuming the Astros take a tiny step back due to their tumultuous offseason, the A’s are the team that’s best set to steal the division. The core of Chapman, Olson, and Laureano is a strong one. The biggest question will be the pitching, which is a perennial patchwork effort. Sean Manaea hopes to be healthy for a full season, Mike Fiers has new spotlight on him, and closer Liam Hendriks looks to continue his dominant form.
Key Additions: Anthony Rendon, Dylan Bundy, Julio Teheran, Jason Castro
Key Departures: Kole Calhoun
The Angels got some help for Mike Trout, but ultimately didn’t get enough. They landed Rendon to bolster the lineup, but flopped on every quality starting pitcher on the market. Owner Arte Moreno also nixed a trade with the Dodgers that would’ve nabbed them Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling for only Luis Rengifo. Shohei Ohtani’s full time return might give some spark, but this club still lacks in overall talent in a very competitive division.
Key Additions: Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson
Key Departures: Nomar Mazara, Hunter Pence, Delino DeShields
The Rangers are looking to open their new ball park with some big moves. They got good value in acquiring 2-time Cy Young winner Kluber and add Kyle Gibson to a rotation that saw Mike Minor and Lance Lynn have breakthrough - or outlier - years in 2019. While the rotation could be very good, the lineup is still a boom or bust prospect with Odor and Gallo being a major part of the offense. They face the same issues as the Angels going up against the top two teams.
Key Additions: Taijuan Walker
Key Departures: Felix Hernandez, Domingo Santana, Wade LeBlanc
In the AL West, there seems to be two frontrunners (Astros, A’s), two weaker challengers (Angels, Rangers), and then the Mariners. On a roster where nobody is safe from being traded, it’s tough for this team to find consistency. There doesn’t seem to be much urgency to make moves that would make Seattle a better baseball team. A return to the playoffs for the first time since 2001 seems a ways off.