There has been a lot of big moves over the past week; Nolan Arenado goes to St. Louis, and Trevor Bauer signed with the Dodgers. The American League West hasn’t added any big names, but there has been a couple of recent trades that shake up the division. How are the Mariners impacted?
The Angels add three players
The Angels have been really busy this offseason in an attempt to give Mike Trout some support. Since my last AL West Update, the Angels have added Alex Cobb, Junior Guerra, and Dexter Fowler.
Los Angeles traded for Alex Cobb at the beginning of the month in exchange for prospect Jahmai Jones. Cobb has been around for a long time now and has been consistently average. For the Angels, he will slot in at the back end of the rotation and provide some much-needed depth because they still don’t know how Shohei Ohtani will perform in 2021.
Junior Guerra agreed to a minor league deal and our friends over at the Halo Hangout describe it as a “low-risk, high-reward type of signing for the Angels.” I think they are spot on.
Guerra is now 36-years-old and has only pitched six seasons in the MLB. He was mostly used as a starting pitcher with the Brewers but has converted to a relief role over the past couple of seasons. Guerra has been up and down, but when he was good, he was really good.
He posted a 2.81 ERA in 2016 across 20 starts. And Last season with the Diamondbacks, he posted a 3.04 ERA in 23.2 innings. If Guerra can repeat his 2020 season, he could be very useful for the Angels pen.
Lastly, the Angels added Dexter Fowler via trade. The Angels are receiving Fowler and $12.75 million, a clear salary dump by the Cardinals. The 34-year-old outfielder has struggled since joining the Cardinals in 2017, but he will be reunited with Joe Maddon, who coached Fowler in Chicago.
Fowler has been a solid player and will provide additional depth in the Angels outfield, which still has some question marks (except for Mike Trout).
The Athletics find a shortstop
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One of the biggest concerns for the Athletics was how to replace Marcus Semien. Their former shortstop (now with the Blue Jays) was an integral part of their offense and is a big blow to the team.
To try and mitigate, Oakland acquired longtime Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus. The A’s will also receive catching prospect Aramis Garcia and $13.5 million. The Rangers will receive big power bat Khris Davis, Jonah Heim, and Dane Acker.
So, not only were the Athletics able to fill their hole at shortstop, but they were also able to acquire a prospect, lots of money, and unload Khris Davis. Seems like another typical win for the A’s.
Andrus is now 32-years-old and has been one of the most consistent shortstops in the league. He mightily struggled in 2020 which is a concern, but I think there is no doubt that he can bounce back and be an impact player for the Athletics, which is bad news for the Mariners of course.
But in other news, former Athletics reliever Joakim Soria signed with the Diamondbacks, so he won’t be returning to Oakland which is good news for the Mariners. And of course, they were unable to bring back Liam Hendriks, so the A’s still have other areas they need to address if they want to be as good as they always have been.
The Rangers and Astros are quiet
Besides the addition of Khris Davis, the Rangers haven’t done a whole lot. That shouldn’t be too surprising because they are trying to build up their farm system and save money. Although Davis does come with a large contract and will become a free agent in 2022. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rangers try to trade him at the deadline to a contender.
The Astros have not made any notable moves either. They signed Washington native Steven Souza Jr. to a minor league deal to add some potential outfield depth, but that’s about it.
For the Mariners, it is not a good sign that the Angels are continuing to add players. Yes, the Astros and Athletics don’t have the same firepower as they did in 2020, but they will still be good. It looks like the AL West will be competitive again in 2021, with four teams potentially fighting for a spot in the postseason (the Mariners being one of them).