AL West Update [1/22/21]: Effect on the Seattle Mariners

Evan White of the Seattle Mariners celebrates.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – SEPTEMBER 21: Evan White celebrates his three-run home run against the Houston Astros. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The American League West has been pretty quiet this offseason, but there have been some changes in the division. How will the Seattle Mariners hold up against the current AL West?

The Los Angeles Angels are making an effort to provide Mike Trout support

The Los Angeles Angels have not made the playoffs since 2014. With another disappointing season last year, the Angels are trying to provide their star player with more support.

The most recent addition for Los Angeles was starting pitcher, Jose Quintana. The team officially announced the one-year, $8 million on January 22nd. Quintana’s best days might be behind him, but he has one All-Star game under his belt and pitched in the 2017 postseason for the Cubs.

The Angels have also improved its bullpen by adding Raisel Iglesias and Alex Claudio. Iglesias will be the closer and help sure up a questionable bullpen from 2020.

The team also signed veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki to a one-year deal for $1.5 million. The former Washington Nationals catcher will be back in the AL West where he started his career. He will provide plenty of experience and be a decent bat at the bottom of the order.

Lastly, the Angels traded for Jose Iglesias a while ago to replace Andrelton Simmons, who is a free agent.

Up to this point, the Angels have become better. I don’t know if it gets them over the hump but they certainly improved. I could see the Angels and Seattle Mariners having a fierce battle this season for second place in the AL West.

But watch out Mariners fans, the Angels might be in on Trevor Bauer…

The Houston Astros lose a big star

The Astros lost one of their best players to free agency this offseason. George Springer signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, which leaves a massive hole. Houston has not made any moves to replace Springer, but they were able to bring back Michael Brantley.

The team has also signed a couple of relievers to sure up the pen: Ryne Stanek and Pedro Baez. The Astros also brought back Jason Castro to back up Martin Maldonado. But besides those signings, they really have not improved at all.

Justin Verlander underwent Tommy John surgery last September so he will most likely miss the entire season as well. The loss of Springer will certainly hurt the team, and it makes the team vulnerable. Is this the beginning of the end for the Astros?

The Astros will still be a solid team and be fighting for a playoff spot even without Springer. They will be stiff competition for the Mariners as always. Too bad we can’t watch Kyle Lewis take Justin Verlander deep in 2021.

The Oakland Athletics also look vulnerable

The Oakland Athletics also lost two key players to free agency this offseason. Liam Hendriks signed a big deal with the Chicago White Sox to become their new closer.

Marcus Semien is still available, but it seems unlikely that the Athletics will re-sign the shortstop.

With those two out of the picture, the Athletics have not made any moves to replace the two stars. But, the Athletics always seem to figure it out in the end and be competitive. They will test our young team this upcoming season.

The Texas Rangers have been busy, but no big names

The Rangers have made lots of moves this offseason, but they haven’t brought in any notable names. This shouldn’t be too surprising because they are rebuilding just like the Seattle Mariners.

The only notable names they brought in were Dane Dunning and Kohei Arihara, both starting pitchers. Dunning was a former White Sox prospect and came over in exchange for Lance Lynn.

Arihara was one of the Japanese baseball players posted this offseason and will now pitch in Texas. He does not have the prowess of Yu Darvish or Masahiro Tanaka when they came to the MLB, but he should be a solid arm.

The Rangers should not be a threat to the Seattle Mariners this season. If anything, the Mariners should bulldoze them like they did last year.

2021 looks good for the Seattle Mariners as of now

As you know, the Seattle Mariners have not made big deals this offseason also. Jerry Dipoto has added some pitching this offseason, but none to really wow the everyday fan.

But, compared to other divisions like the AL East, AL Central, NL West, which added some big players, the AL West is manageable.

Maybe the robustness of the AL West is diminishing? Can the Seattle Mariners become the King’s of the West starting in 2021?

I say yes.

Recent developments

It seems like the MLB will not have expanded playoffs, which is a big loss for the Mariners’ hopes of making the postseason in 2021. It looked pretty slim, to begin with, but the odds are much smaller now. But again, the focus shouldn’t be 2021. The focus is on 2022, 2023, 2024, and beyond.