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Season Preview: American League West

March 27, 2012

With Opening Day just about two weeks away and 25-man rosters starting to take shape, it seems as good a time as any to start to preview the upcoming season. For a change of pace, I’m going to run with a bit of a different format this year and view things one division at a time.

We’ll cover each division in no particular order. We started with the NL West. Since the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners open the season this week with a two game series in Japan, let’s take a look at the AL West next.

Top 5 Moves Since Last Season:

1. Los Angeles signs first baseman Albert Pujols to a ten year, $240 Million free agent contract.

2. Texas wins the right to negotiate with Yu Darvish via the posting system with a bid of $51,703,411. Texas signs Darvish to a six year, $56 Million contract.

3. Los Angeles signs left-hander C.J. Wilson to a five year, $77.5 Million free agent contract.

4. Oakland trades left-hander Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals for left-hander Tom Milone, right-handers Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole, and catcher Derek Norris.

5. Seattle trades right-handers Michael Pineda and Jorge Campos to New York for catcher Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi.

Key Acquisitions:

Los Angeles (Pujols, Wilson, Chris Iannetta), Oakland (Yoenes Cespedes, Milone, Peacock, Cole, Jarrod Parker), Seattle (Montero), Texas (Darvish)

Key Losses:

Los Angeles (Tyler Chatwood), Oakland (Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, Andrew Bailey), Seattle (Pineda), Texas (Wilson)

Predictions:

Cy Young – Jered Weaver (Felix Hernandez)

MVP – Albert Pujols (Nelson Cruz)

Rookie of the Year – Jesus Montero (Yu Darvish)

Standings:

  1. Los Angeles
  2. Texas
  3. Oakland
  4. Seattle

All Division Team:

Finally, let’s close things out with my pre-2012 All Division Team*. Eligible candidates consist of each team’s projected starter heading into Opening Day. We’ll revisit these lists again once the season concludes.

* Honorable mentions in parentheses.

1B: Albert Pujols (Justin Smoak)

2B: Jemile Weeks (Dustin Ackley)

3B: Adrian Beltre (None. All three other teams in the division have serious holes at the position.)

SS: Elvis Andrus (Erick Aybar)

RF: Nelson Cruz (Ichiro Suzuki)

CF: Peter Bourjos (Yoenes Cespedes)

LF: Josh Hamilton (Coco Crisp)

C: Mike Napoli (Kurt Suzuki)

DH: Jesus Montero (Kendrys Morales)

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