Hot Stove Preview: AL West
Right now, the Angels are set at third base with
A power hitter who also can help out with the club's OBP issues, one that plays either left field or first base. They may need one more quality arm (though not a comparable one) in the bullpen to offset the likely loss of K-Rod to free agency, especially if they fail to patch up the offense.
The Angels do not have the resources freely available to lock up one of the major starting pitchers on the market, which is why they plan on using the kids they already have in place of a free agent. The rotation is essentially set. They are currently talking to both first baseman
Their first order of business should be paying Teixeira whatever it takes to stay put in Anaheim, as they were a completely different club with him around. Their offense jumped from 4.5 runs scored per game to 5.1 after adding him, and though they still were not a 100-win caliber team then, they were better than the 84 third-order wins they finished the season with. Without him, they are much closer to the pack out West -- at least initially,
Losing Bradley hurts, but they should still have one of the best lineups in the game even without him; if Cruz finally turns into a major league-caliber hitter, then they are all set on the offensive side of things. They need players who can field, but most of the top free-agent position players are not known for their gloves, just their bats. The changes will have to come in the rotation, where
The Rangers have already publicly commented on the fact that they think long-term, expensive contracts to pitchers are the worst risk in baseball, and something they will not invest in. That means they are going to miss out on the high-profile starting pitchers who can pick up both dollars and years, and instead focus on veterans on their way out (such as
They play in one of the most hitter-friendly venues in existence, but that does not mean they should skimp on starting pitching entirely. Yes, long-term contracts with lots of dollar signs are risky, but the Rangers are not going to go anywhere if they fail to take risks. They should give lots of money to the right starting pitcher, in order to balance reward versus risk properly, and give themselves a fighting chance in the division.
Plenty of good players, but a shortage of great ones beyond
Another bat that is above-average at his position -- beyond Holliday. Right now, you could make the argument that Cust is the second-best hitter on the team. They need a new shortstop, as Crosby is just not getting it done with three straights years of sub-.300 OBP production. The bullpen and rotation are both stocked with a lot of promising young talent, so with Oakland's limited budget, their money is better spent trying to improve the lineup.
Given they already made a splash in trading for Holliday, there is not much else left for the club to do besides turn the
Make sure that they sign Furcal. He is not a .357/.439/.573 hitter like he was over just 143 at-bats last year, but he is capable of hitting roughly .285/.350/.410 while picking up steals at a quality rate. Furcal's worst season in recent memory, an injury-plagued 2007, saw him nevertheless earn 11.8 VORP at short, over a full win more than Crosby's output last year. If he is able to replicate his 2005 or 2006 seasons value, we are talking about a four- or five-win improvement for the A's on offense alone. He's also average or better with the glove, and less of an injury risk than the incumbent. If they acquire him, they should be competing, and thus would be less likely to be trying to deal Holliday away by the July 31 trade deadline.
A hitter to replace
The Mariners are in disarray after the reign of GM
Target their sunk costs and jettison them. Silva is either going to be league average or worse, and overpaid either way.