Battle Tested Early: Mariners Have A Tough Schedule To Start 2014

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Sep 28, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher

Paul Clemens

(56) walks off the mound during the second inning against the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Los (L)Astros: Did Anybody Get Worse in the AL West?

Another cautioning to our collective optimism has been the general improvement of the ENTIRE AL West this offseason.

Everybody either added something or kept their team intact.

The Astros didn’t add much, but their oodles and oodles of young talent can only get better. Actually, I guess they did trade for Dexter Fowler, and they signed Scott Feldman. Dammit, they did get better.

The Angels picked up David Freese via trade and Raul Ibanez via free agency. It is also inconceivable that the Josh Hamilton/Albert Pujols power couple don’t at least marginally improve in 2014.

The Rangers picked up Prince Fielder, which gives them a power bat at first and also opened up the middle infield for the young talent with Ian Kinsler being sent to Detroit.

And the A’s did what the A’s always do– make smart trades and keep the goods they’ve got. They traded Jemile Weeks to the Baltimore Orioles for Jim Johnson, a proven closer to replace the Aussie Grant Balfour who was signed by the Rays this offseason.

Nobody got worse. Some teams stayed relatively stagnant. But there are no freebies in the AL West. It’s starting to look like the NFC West in Football. If the M’s step up and the Angels start playing to their talent levels, the AL West could easily be the deepest division in baseball this season.