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AL West offseason roundup: Every move by all 5 teams entering 2019

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Astros and A’s offset notable losses; Mariners and Rangers rebuild; Angels wander around lost as usual

The Pterodactyl flew south.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 MLB season is finally upon us! 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 take a look at what they did.

In the transaction tables, I’ve done my best to include every player who appeared in MLB last year. Free agent contracts are rounded to the nearest million; minor league FAs and waiver pickups are all simply referred to as “minors” and are in italics. Players who re-signed with incumbent teams are not listed because they didn’t move anywhere (like Mike Fiers and Brett Anderson). In the “Goodbye” columns, free agents who don’t have a team listed next to them remain unsigned.

Houston Astros

2018 record: 103-59

Quick season review: They didn’t defend their championship from 2017, but they still repeated as 100-game winners and reached the ALCS. The lineup’s stars mostly had relative off-years, but Alex Bregman stepped up into MVP-caliber territory and the rotation was as scary as ever with two starters in the top-5 for Cy Young. They’re still peaking, with a stacked roster and two of the top-10 prospects in baseball arriving this summer.

Hello Goodbye
Free Agency
OF Michael Brantley (2/$32m)
C Robinson Chirinos (1/$5m)
LHP Wade Miley (1/$5m)

Trades
IF Aledmys Diaz (from TOR)
Free Agency
LHP Dallas Keuchel
RHP Charlie Morton (to TBR)
LHP Tony Sipp (to WAS)
C Martin Maldonado (to KCR)
C Brian McCann (to ATL)
UT Marwin Gonzalez (to MIN)
DH Evan Gattis

Trades
IF J.D. Davis (to NYM)

Analysis: Overall they probably got slightly worse on paper, but they’re still great. The rotation took the biggest hit, losing two significant free agents and also Lance McCullers to Tommy John. But they still have two Cy candidates at the front, plus a new arm in Miley, and top prospect Forrest Whitley should join them at some point. Meanwhile the lineup added a new star in the outfield, and they already proactively restocked the bullpen last summer. They’re still the team to beat in the division.

Seattle Mariners

2018 record: 89-73

Quick season review: They looked like a playoff team in the first half of the season, and then they looked like the Mariners in the second half. Robinson Cano got suspended for PEDs, Kyle Seager disappeared, the rotation got hurt, and they missed the postseason by eight games. Even a pair of breakout stars couldn’t save them (Haniger, Diaz), and now one of them is already gone. Their most recent competitive window appears to have closed without anything at all to show for it, and they still haven’t reached the postseason since 2001.

Hello Goodbye
Free Agency
LHP Yusei Kikuchi (4/$56m)
SS Tim Beckham (1/$2m)
RHP Cory Gearrin (1/$2m)
RHP Hunter Strickland (1/$1m)
LHP Zac Rosscup (1/$1m)
RHP Brandon Brennan (Rule 5, COL)
RHP Tyler Danish (minors)
LHP Tommy Milone (minors)
C Jose Lobaton (minors)
OF Dustin Ackley (minors)


Trades
LHP Justus Sheffield (from NYY)
RHP Anthony Swarzak (from NYM)
RHP Gerson Bautista (from NYM)
C Omar Narvaez (from CHW)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (from CLE)
SS J.P. Crawford (from PHI)
OF Mallex Smith (from TBR)
OF Jay Bruce (from NYM)
OF Domingo Santana (from MIL)
Free Agency
DH Nelson Cruz (to TBR)
RHP David Phelps (to TOR)
RHP Adam Warren (to SDP)
RHP Casey Lawrence
LHP Zach Duke (to CIN)
IF Gordon Beckham (to DET)
IF Andrew Romine (to PHI)
OF Cameron Maybin (to SFG)

Trades
LHP James Paxton (to NYY)
RHP Edwin Diaz (to NYM)
RHP Alex Colome (to CHW)
RHP Juan Nicasio (to PHI)
LHP James Pazos (to PHI)
C Mike Zunino (to TBR)
2B Robinson Cano (to NYM)
SS Jean Segura (to PHI)
OF Ben Gamel (to MIL)
OF Guillermo Heredia (to TBR)

Analysis: So, a whole new team then. Trader Jerry was busy as ever this winter, and the mission this time was apparently to do an entire rebuild in one offseason. Cano, Cruz, Segura, Paxton, and Diaz are all gone, as is most of the bullpen, and in their place is a new wave of elite young talent plus a couple aging former-stars. On top of all that they’ve lost Seager to injury for a couple months, so their lineup will only return three players from last year (Haniger, Gordon, Healy). The all-in “contending” team of the last half-decade is gone, but at least they’re moving in a productive direction.

The Angels

2018 record: 80-82

Quick season review: Mike Trout has now played seven MVP-caliber seasons for the Angels. They’ve only made the playoffs once in that time, and only been above .500 three of those years, and 2018 wasn’t one of them. They treaded water with their usual top-heavy roster, loaded with a few superstar OF/DH bats but no rotation or bullpen or even much of an infield outside of Andrelton Simmons. And so another year of Trout’s prime passed them by.

Hello Goodbye
Free Agency
RHP Matt Harvey (1/$11m)
RHP Trevor Cahill (1/$9m)
RHP Cody Allen (1/$9m)
C Jonathan Lucroy (1/$3m)
1B Justin Bour (1/$3m)
RHP Daniel Hudson (minors)
RHP Luke Bard (minors)
LHP Dan Jennings (minors)
C Dustin Garneau (minors)
C Kevan Smith (minors)
OF Peter Bourjos (minors)
OF Jarrett Parker (minors)
UT Ty Kelly (minors)


Trades
RHP John Curtiss (from MIN)
RHP Luis Garcia (from PHI)
IF Tommy La Stella (from CHC)
Free Agency
RHP Garrett Richards (to SDP)
RHP Matt Shoemaker (to TOR)
RHP Blake Parker (to MIN)
RHP Jim Johnson
RHP Parker Bridwell (to OAK)
RHP Luke Farrell (to TEX)
RHP Junichi Tazawa (to CHC)
RHP Blake Wood
IF Jose Fernandez
OF Jabari Blash
OF Chris Young
OF Eric Young Jr (to BAL)

Trades
LHP Jose Alvarez (to PHI)
LHP Dillon Peters (to MIA)

Analysis: The major move is that they’re reportedly about to re-sign Trout to a mega-contract extension, for at least 10 years and record-smashing money, so at least they’re getting one thing right. Beyond that, they finally added some legit starting pitchers, though they still managed to relatively half-ass that with one-year buy-low deals instead of more reliable targets (while also closing the book on long-time injured-ace Richards). Otherwise, that enormous table above is mostly a whole lot of nothing, with fringe/role players flooding in and out. There are still a few star names on the roster to get you excited, but it’s hard to see how this team can contend unless a thousand things go right all at once.

Texas Rangers

2018 record: 67-95

Quick season review: The mighty have fallen. After five postseason appearances in seven years from 2010-16, including two trips to the World Series, the Rangers were a losing team the last two seasons and sunk all the way down to the basement last summer. Everything you expected to be good about their promising lineup wasn’t, Cole Hamels was bad and then traded, and the whole thing just fell apart from start to finish. And then after the season, to really twist that knife further, Adrian Beltre retired.

Hello Goodbye
Free Agency
RHP Lance Lynn (3/$30m)
RHP Jesse Chavez (2/$8m)
C Jeff Mathis (2/$6m)
IF Asdrubal Cabrera (1/$4m)
RHP Shawn Kelley (1/$3m)
RHP Shelby Miller (1/$2m)
RHP Zach McAllister (1/$1m)
RHP Luke Farrell (minors)
RHP Jeanmar Gomez (minors)
RHP Taylor Guerrieri (minors)
RHP Jason Hammel (minors)
C Jett Bandy (minors)
C Adam Moore (minors)
2B Logan Forsythe (minors)
IF Chase d'Arnaud (minors)
IF Nolan Fontana (minors)
OF Hunter Pence (minors)
OF Ben Revere (minors)
OF Danny Santana (minors)
DH Matt Davidson (minors)


Trades
LHP Drew Smyly (from CHC)
3B Patrick Wisdom (from STL)
RHP Jordan Romano (CHW, via Rule 5 from TOR)
Free Agency
RHP Bartolo Colon
RHP Doug Fister
RHP Yovani Gallardo
RHP Ricardo Rodriguez
LHP Tony Barnette (to CHC)
LHP Matt Moore (to DET)
LHP Martin Perez (MIN)
C Robinson Chirinos (to HOU)
3B Adrian Beltre (retired)
IF Hanser Alberto (to SFG)

Trades
RHP Alex Claudio (to MIL)
IF Jurickson Profar (to OAK)
3B Drew Robinson (to STL)

Analysis: That’s the offseason of a rebuilding team. They’re taking flyers on everybody possible in order to see what might stick, while several of last year’s failed experiments precede them out the door. They did add a handful of solid veterans who should do more than just fill in the roster, but they also lost half of a star infield. It’s hard to see any way they can contend this summer, and that wisely doesn’t appear to be their goal anyway.

Oakland A’s

2018 record: 97-65

Quick season review: Contention came a year early, as almost everything went right and they made the playoffs with the second Wild Card. The lineup hit on all cylinders, the bullpen was elite, and even though the rotation disappeared it all worked out anyway. Some old stars had career years, some new names established themselves, and both the present and future generally look bright.

Hello Goodbye
Free Agency
RHP Joakim Soria (2/$15m)
RHP Marco Estrada (1/$4m)
OF Robbie Grossman (1/$2m)
C Chris Herrmann (1/$1m)
RHP Parker Bridwell (minors)
LHP Jerry Blevins (minors)
LHP Kyle Crockett (minors)
C Nick Hundley (minors)
IF Cliff Pennington (minors)


Trades
RHP Tanner Anderson (from PIT)
IF Jurickson Profar (from TEX)
Free Agency
RHP Trevor Cahill (to LAA)
RHP Jeurys Familia (to NYM)
RHP Cory Gearrin (to SEA)
RHP Kendall Graveman (to CHC)
RHP Edwin Jackson
RHP Shawn Kelley (to TEX)
C Jonathan Lucroy (to LAA)
2B Jed Lowrie (to NYM)
OF Matt Joyce

Trades
RHP Emilio Pagan (to TBR)

Analysis: There are substantial losses in that right-hand column, but they’re all accounted for on the left side. Lowrie is replaced by Profar, who is of similar quality and skillset but a decade younger and much cheaper. Familia is replaced by Soria, who is every bit as good but half the price. Last year’s bargain starters are replaced by this year’s buy-low gambles. And Lucroy is replaced by the comparable Hundley, with top prospect Sean Murphy on the cusp. The offseason didn’t go exactly as Athletics Nation expected, and there are certainly (expensive) ways in which it could have gone better, but in retrospect it all makes a lot of sense and the roster is still both strong and incredibly deep — with more young impact talent on the way, led by future ace Jesus Luzardo.

Poll

Which AL West team had the best offseason?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Astros (notable losses, but strong additions and still stacked)
    (70 votes)
  • 53%
    A’s (notable losses, but sneaky additions and still should contend)
    (190 votes)
  • 15%
    Mariners (rebuilt entire roster, got younger)
    (55 votes)
  • 7%
    Angels (signed a couple SPs, then went back to eating paste in corner)
    (27 votes)
  • 3%
    Rangers (went full rebuild)
    (13 votes)
355 votes total Vote Now