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AL West offseason tracker: Angels loading up, Mariners treading water

Rounding up every move by the 5 AL West teams.

Ian Kinsler joins former Tigers teammate Justin Upton in Anaheim.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The MLB offseason is finally in full swing! Here at Athletics Nation we follow the A’s offseason moves closely, but they’re not the only team making trades and signing free agents. There are four other clubs in the AL West division, so let’s keep an eye on what they’re up to.

In the transaction tables, I’ve done my best to include every player who appeared in MLB last year. That turned out to be a mistake, because holy toledo there are a lot of fringe dudes who got into just a couple games. Nevertheless, here’s the full landscape. In the “Goodbye” columns, free agents who don’t have a team listed next to them remain unsigned. I’ll either update this post as time goes on, or post a new version down the road.

Players in italics are minor leaguers, included either because they’re on the 40-man roster or because they are high-profile prospects. I’ve kept the minor leaguers to a minimum.

Houston Astros

2017 record: 101-61

Quick season review: They won the World Series. They had the best lineup in baseball anchored by the league’s MVP (Altuve), a strong rotation with a pair of aces (Verlander, Keuchel), and a good enough bullpen. All of the most important players are coming back in 2018, and all they need to do is shore things up around the margins.

Hello Goodbye
Free Agency
RHP Joe Smith (2/$15M)
RHP Hector Rondon (2/$9M)
LHP Anthony Gose (Rule 5, TEX)

None yet
Free Agency
RHP Luke Gregerson (to STL)
RHP Michael Fiers (to DET)
LHP Francisco Liriano
RHP Tyler Clippard
OF Cameron Maybin
OF Carlos Beltran (retired)
C Juan Centeno (waivers, TEX)
RHP Elieser Hernandez (Rule 5, MIA)

OF Ramon Laureano (to OAK)

Analysis: They really don’t have much they need to do this winter. Don’t slip and fall down the stairs, I guess? Everyone can always use bullpen help, so they’ve already signed a couple good relievers.

The Angels

2017 record: 80-82

Quick season review: Took a step forward from 2016, but still missed the playoffs again. They’ve got the best player in the sport (Trout), plus a couple more supplementary stars (Upton, Simmons, Calhoun, Richards), but for every strength on their roster there are two or three massive holes elsewhere. They could particularly use help throughout their pitching staff and infield.

Hello Goodbye
Free Agency
RHP Shohei Ohtani (int'l)
SS Zack Cozart (3/$38M)
RHP Luke Bard (Rule 5, MIN)

RHP Jim Johnson (from ATL)
2B Ian Kinsler (from DET)
Free Agency
RHP Ricky Nolasco
RHP Yusmeiro Petit (to OAK)
RHP Bud Norris
RHP Jesse Chavez
RHP Deolis Guerra
RHP Fernando Salas
RHP Daniel Wright
RHP Huston Street
RHP Andrew Bailey
IF Yunel Escobar
IF Cliff Pennington
2B Brandon Phillips
OF Ben Revere
OF Eric Young Jr
OF Shane Robinson
OF Ramon Flores

None yet

Analysis: This feels weird to say, but the Angels are off to a good start. They managed to land Ohtani, which actually addresses their starting rotation for once. They made a splash at 2B, which was a position of actual need. Sure, they signed an All-Star shortstop for eight figures per year even though they already have literally Andrelton Simmons, but Angels gonna Angel.

Texas Rangers

2017 record: 78-84

Quick season review: They hit a lot of dingers but not much else went right. The pitching staff disappointed, and it’s now without its biggest name (Darvish, though Hamels remains). Their lineup still has its anchor (Beltre), surrounded by familiar but inconsistent names.

Hello Goodbye
Free Agency
LHP Mike Minor (3/$28M)
RHP Doug Fister (1/$4M)
C Juan Centeno (waivers, HOU)
OF Carlos Tocci (Rule 5, PHI/CHW)

LHP Matt Moore (from SFG)
RHP Ronald Herrera (from NYY)
Free Agency
RHP Andrew Cashner
RHP Nick Martinez
RHP A.J. Griffin
RHP Miguel Gonzalez
RHP Jason Grilli
LHP Dario Alvarez
RHP Jhan Marinez
RHP Anthony Bass
RHP Tanner Scheppers
RHP Preston Claiborne
1B Mike Napoli
3B Will Middlebrooks
IF Philip Gosselin
OF Carlos Gomez
LHP Anthony Gose (Rule 5, HOU)

None yet

Analysis: Spending their time taking flyers on creative/bounce-back pitchers. Last year it was Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, which to be fair kinda worked because Cashner panned out. There aren’t that many serious holes in their lineup, just high-profile youngsters hoping to live up to their reputations, so may as well focus on that rotation in the meantime.

Seattle Mariners

2017 record: 78-84

Quick season review: They tried. They really did. Probably too hard, if we’re being honest. But once again they fell short of October despite being in full win-now mode. Only one of their star hitters fully lived up to his reputation (Cruz, while Cano and Seager were merely OK), and they basically didn’t have a rotation — 17 different pitchers made a start (A’s only used 12). Their longtime ace dropped a deuce thanks to injury (Felix).

Hello Goodbye
Free Agency
RHP Juan Nicasio (2/$17M)
LHP Sam Moll (waivers, OAK)
RHP Mike Morin (waivers, KCR)
IF Zach Vincej (waivers, CIN)
OF Cameron Perkins (waivers, PHI)
UT Andrew Romine (waivers, DET)
IF Mike Ford (Rule 5, NYY)

RHP Shawn Armstrong (from CLE)
1B Ryon Healy (from OAK)
2B/OF Dee Gordon (from MIA)
Free Agency
RHP Yovani Gallardo
RHP Christian Bergman
RHP Shae Simmons
RHP Ryan Weber
RHP Cody Martin
LHP Drew Smyly (to CHC)
C Carlos Ruiz
1B Yonder Alonso
1B Danny Valencia
OF Jarrod Dyson

RHP Emilio Pagan (to OAK)
RHP Thyago Vieira (to CHW)

Analysis: LOL

Oakland A’s

2017 record: 75-87

Quick season review: Their rebuild reached its third year but finally began to show promise. The pitching staff was mostly bad and injured, made worse by trading away the best arms, but some of the young hitters emerged (Olson, Chapman) to supplement the incumbent leaders (Khrush, Lowrie). They finished in last place, but did so as optimistically as possible.

Hello Goodbye
Free Agency
RHP Yusmeiro Petit (2/$10M)

RHP Emilio Pagan (from SEA)
OF Stephen Piscotty (from STL)
OF Ramon Laureano (from HOU)
Free Agency
RHP Chris Smith
RHP Josh Smith
RHP Zach Neal
RHP Michael Brady (to MIL)
C Ryan Lavarnway
OF Jaff Decker
LHP Sam Moll (waivers, SEA)
RHP Brett Graves (Rule 5, MIA)

1B Ryon Healy (to SEA)
2B Joey Wendle (to TBR)
OF Jaycob Brugman (to BAL)
IF Yairo Munoz (to STL)

Analysis: The Goodbye free agency section may as well be blank, as all of those departing players were fringe depth guys. Otherwise, the A’s are doing a good job of checking off their winter to-do list — they’ve added a couple of good relievers and a new starting outfielder, all for relative buy-low prices, and in the meantime they freed up the DH spot for Khris Davis.