For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2014 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West.
The Rangers added Choo and Fielder and then lost many more players to injuries. The Athletics surprised everyone the past two seasons, are they going to sneak up on anybody now? The Angels can’t disappoint for three straight years, can they? The Mariners got Cano, but did they do enough to get out of fourth place? And the Astros are rebuilding, but we’re pretty much to the point where “Fifth Place” should be renamed “Astros Place” right?
Below are our team-by-team previews for the AL West as well as our HBT Extra feature on the division:
Los Angeles Angels
Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Opening Day’s games (March 31). It’s $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 1:05pm ET on Opening Day. Here’s the FanDuel link.
The Rockies have signed free agent outfielder/infielder Ian Desmond for five years and $70 million.
Desmond, 31, played his first season as a full-time outfielder with the Rangers in 2016. Before that he was the Nationals shortstop. He’ll almost certainly be an outfielder in Colorado, as the Rockies have Trevor Story at short. Desmond hit .285/.335/.446 with 22 home runs, 86 RBI, 107 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases in 677 plate appearances, though he was much, much better in the first half than the second half.
The Rangers had placed a qualifying offer on him which he rejected, so the Rockies will have to give up their first round pick in the 2017 draft, which is 11th overall. That’s the highest pick a team can surrender under the qualifying offer system, as the first ten picks in the draft are protected.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Marlins have signed lefty Jeff Locke. Terms have yet to be disclosed.
Locke was non-tendered by the Pirates last week after putting up a 5.44 ERA over 127.3 innings in 2016. He’s just 29 and, even if he’s never been super great or anything, he has pitched better in the past, posting a career 4.16 ERA before last season.