As we all know, the Houston Astros are moving into the AL West in 2013. The AL West was once considered one of the toughest of the tough, and it certainly is showing that right now. The Texas Rangers are still doing strong, and likely to stay that way for some time (but the loss of guys next year like Josh Hamilton won't help them any good). The same can be said for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (although their pitching seems to be a huge Achilles heel), and the completely unexpected totally flying high wild card contending Oakland Athletics are also in this division. The Seattle Mariners are also suddenly resurgent. We could see all teams in this division finish at .500 or above! (Correct me if I'm wrong, but seeing all teams in a division finish .500 or above hasn't happened since the 2005 season in the NL East)
However, all this drama, the excitement, the fun of seeing all the teams all still having a chance at winning, may soon go away. The Houston Astros are the absolute worst team in the MLB. The Houston Astros were better at losing then the Oakland Athletics were good at winning in July. They only won 4 games that month. This team really loves losing. And they're in the National League. Only 2 teams in the AL are below .450, completely different from the NL. They're basically getting swept by punching bag teams like the Miami Marlins and the Chicago Cubs. Just imagine three, or even 4 game series versus big teams like the Texas Rangers, the New York Yankees, the Detroit Tigers, etc. Everyone in the AL is much better than the Houston Astros. If this team is .315 in the NL (and probably going to slip below the .300 mark, something a team hasn't done since the god-awful 2003 Detroit Tigers), who knows how their record is going to be like with these tough guy AL teams!
One, I think the AL West race is going to be much much more closer. The Texas Rangers won't be the only team that gets to face these rag-tag Astros every year (compared to the Oakland A's, who previously always faced the as of now decent San Francisco Giants, which is one of the problems with the Interleague Play schedule. Not that I hate the Bay Series, but that series is much more competitive than the Lone Star Series). Everyone gets a piece of the action, year-round too! If we have 3 teams that are well above .500, and one team close to that mark, who knows how good all 4 teams records will be! Remember, the Houston Astros are in the middle of a huge re-build that is going to take a long, long time. Remember, the Detroit Tigers didn't have a winning season from 1994 till 2006. That was 12 years. The Houston Astros have been bad since 2009, and the wheels completely fell off in 2011, with a 56-106 record.
Two, I think that generally everyone's record in the AL will improve. Even teams like the Royals and Twins will get some action. Every team faces the Astros 2-3 times, and like I said, the Astros are re-building, and probably will take some time till they are a serious competitor. The Astros have been flat out terrible since 2011, so assuming that the rebuilding takes the same time as the Detroit Tigers (starting at 2009), everyone will start winning for a good number of years. The Astros may finish consecutive years below the .300 mark, perhaps even .200 mark! Everything in the Houston Astros is a complete joke, the pitching, hitting, attendance, this should be a cake walk.
Third, eventually the Houston Astros will finally put up a decent season. Remember the Detroit Tigers. For years and years, they were complete clowns, reaching their height of sucking in 2003, before 3 years later getting to the World Series. Sure, it's going to take a while for the Astros to be a decent ball club, but they're not going to suck forever. Eventually, good prospects and other minor league players will eventually arrive for the Astros, and trades (or more likely, waivers) may also help boost their team. We've gone through the same stuff before (albeit much less dramatically). We haven't had a winning season since 2006 (though a tied season in 2010), and eventually, good minor league players (Carter, Donaldson) and good prospects (Straily, Parker) have eventually lifted this team up to become a serious contender.
For 2013 though, the Houston Astros will still remain the worst ball club in the MLB. The Oakland A's will probably stay strong, with guys like Dallas Braden and Scott Sizemore likely making a return for early 2013, and a still strong farm system with a lot of hot prospects. The Texas Rangers will remain a strong ball club, the LA Angels of Anaheim the same, and the Seattle Mariners will also get a boost from this. For now, the Houston Astros will be that kid that always gets beaten up in school without mercy, those bullies being every other strong team in the American League. But eventually, the tables will turn. Remember the Detroit Tigers. They were first a punching bag team, now a force to be reckoned with.