|Offseason report card: AL West|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on January 06, 2008
Lost:Â Orlando Cabrera (Trade)
Gained:Â Jon Garland (Trade), Torii Hunter (Free Agency)
The Aâ€™s came into the offseason looking to add a big bat and improve their pitching staff.Â They had accomplished the pitching part just by letting Bartolo Colon walk away via free agency but they gave it another shot in the arm by adding Jon Garland whoâ€™ll slot into the bottom of the rotation behind Kelvim Escobar, John Lackey and Jared Weaver.
However they didnâ€™t get the really big bat they were searching for to protect Vladimir Guerrero but picked up the best of the FA outfield crop by signing Torii Hunter to a $90 million dollar contract which spans five years.Â It probably was a bit over market rate for the 32 year old Hunter who will boost the Haloâ€™s offense, but isnâ€™t a premier hitter.
Lost: Danny Haren (Trade), Nick Swisher (Trade), Connor Robertson (Trade), Marco Scutaro (Trade).
Short term:Â The Aâ€™s even with more moves in the offseason are bound to take some big lumps in 2008.Â Theyâ€™ve entered true rebuilding mode and have taken a few steps back in terms of competitiveness.Â They will be a fair bit weaker than last year.
Long term :Â Billy Beane has had his way with the farm systems of the White Sox and Diamondbacks and has run away with the derby in terms of most raw promising talent acquired.Â Problem is that heâ€™ll have to wait for them to grow up.
Verdict:Â Big winner.
Lost:Â Jose Guillen (Free Agency), Ben Broussard (Trade)
Gained:Â Carlos Silva (Free Agent)
The Mariners have been fairly inactive this offeseason and may well remain that way the rest of the offseason.Â Their only major signing has been of middle of the road pitcher Carlos Silva a decent pitcher who can eat innings but is more of a tail of the rotation guy than an ace.Â Â He may well find some advantage pitching in Safeco Field, but heâ€™s not going to turn this team into a contender by himself.
They havenâ€™t addressed the loss (via free agency) of Jose Guillen who hit .290 with 23 home runs last season and was tied for second on the team in RBIs with 99.Â That will leave the team in an offensive hole unless a bounce back season by Richie Sexson, or a solid campaign by the inexperienced Adam Jones can fill the slot.
Lost: Edison Volquez (Trade), Freddy Guzman (Trade)
Gained: Milton Bradley (FA), Kazuo Fukumori (FA), Chris Shelton (Trade), Ben Broussard (Trade), Josh Hamilton (Trade)
The Rangers came into the offseason looking to boost both offense and improve the pitching staff and like most teams theyâ€™ll probably have to settle for working on the offensive end of that equation.Â To this end theyâ€™ve pulled in two historically troubled outfielders who slot in, or near, the center of the lineup.Â If Milton Bradley and Josh Hamilton can keep their heads (and themselves, especially the oft ejected/suspended Bradley) in the game, the Rangers offense should take a major step forward.Â Both of these guys still have plenty of upside and if the pitching can step forward the Rangers could be a lot better than most expect.
In terms of pitching the Rangers are gambling that Japanese import Kazuo Fukumori, will stabilize the bullpen and takeover setup situations for projected closer C.J. Wilson.Â That may not fit the bill as Fukumori has been a closer in Japan for a number of years and has good, but somewhat erratic statistically over the past 4 seasons.