A team-by-team look at the American League West entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:
Manager: Bob Melvin (fourth season).
2013: 96-66, first place, lost to Detroit in division series.
Training Town: Phoenix.
Park: Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 15/20.
He’s Here: LHP Scott Kazmir, RHP Jim Johnson, RHP Luke Gregerson, LHP Eric O’Flaherty, INF Nick Punto, OF Craig Gentry, LHP Drew Pomeranz, OF Sam Fuld, RHP Josh Lindblom.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Grant Balfour, LHP Brett Anderson, LHP Jerry Blevins, OF Chris Young, OF Seth Smith, C Kurt Suzuki, RHP Pat Neshek, OF Michael Choice.
Going campin’: The low-budget A’s surprised their big-spending rivals in the AL West for a second straight season on the way to another division title. But they lost once again in a five-game division series against Detroit. GM Billy Beane spent much of his offseason improving one of the team’s strengths, the bullpen. Despite finishing third in the AL with a 3.22 ERA from the relievers, the A’s switched closers by acquiring Johnson (101 saves past two seasons) in a trade from Baltimore and letting Balfour leave as a free agent. Beane also added Gregerson (2.71 ERA in 2013) and O’Flaherty (1.45 ERA last three seasons) to a group that returns Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Dan Otero. Kazmir ($22 million for two years) got the biggest offseason contract and replaces 18-game winner Colon. Sonny Gray should spend the whole season in the rotation after his dazzling nine-strikeout, no-run performance in Game 2 of the ALDS. Oakland is counting on repeat big seasons from 3B Josh Donaldson (24 HRs, 93 RBIs) and 1B Brandon Moss (30 HRs, 87 RBIs). The A’s also would like more consistency from OF Yoenis Cespedes, who hit 26 HRs despite a .240 average.
Manager: Ron Washington (eighth season).
2013: 91-72, second place.
Training Town: Surprise, Ariz.
Park: Surprise Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 17/19.
He’s Here: 1B Prince Fielder, LF Shin-Soo Choo, C. J.P. Arencibia, OF Michael Choice.
He’s Outta Here: Closer Joe Nathan, 2B Ian Kinsler, RF Nelson Cruz, C A.J. Pierzynski; RHP Matt Garza; 1B/DH Lance Berkman, CF Craig Gentry, OF David Murphy, INF Jeff Baker.
Going campin’: After missing the playoffs for the first time in four years, Texas started the offseason with a rare trade of All-Stars, sending Kinsler to Detroit for Fielder. Choo will lead off after a free-agent deal for seven years, the same amount of time left on Fielder’s contract. Fielder provided protection for MVP winners the last three seasons, but now will bat between Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre. Only Mike Trout (564) and two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera (562) reached base more than Choo (556) and Fielder (542) the last two seasons. Yu Darvish, who led majors with 277 strikeouts and was second in AL Cy Young Award voting, has recovered from nerve inflammation in his lower back that bothered him the last six weeks of season. Last year’s opening day starter, Matt Harrison, should return after two back operations but Derek Holland could miss half the season with a knee injury after being tripped by his dog on stairs at his home. As for a new closer, Texas has two former All-Star closers in Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria. But both were limited last season after Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in 2012.
Los Angeles Angels
Manager: Mike Scioscia (15th season).
2013: 78-84, third place.
Training Town: Tempe, Ariz.
Park: Tempe Diablo Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 14/19.
He’s Here: 3B David Freese, LHP Tyler Skaggs, LHP Hector Santiago, DH Raul Ibanez, RHP Joe Smith, INF John McDonald, 1B Carlos Pena, LHP Mark Mulder.
He’s Outta Here: OF Peter Bourjos, DH Mark Trumbo, LHP Jason Vargas, RHP Jerome Williams, RHP Tommy Hanson.
Going campin’: After their worst season in a decade, the big-budget Angels are exercising financial restraint and hoping for bounce-back seasons from their biggest bats to return to the playoffs. General manager Jerry Dipoto filled the Angels’ hole at third base with former World Series star Freese and retooled his faltering rotation with two cost-effective young lefties, Skaggs and Santiago. The Angels lost young talents Trumbo and Bourjos in the deals, but they’re counting on Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton to earn their enormous paychecks in the heart of their order behind Mike Trout. The bullpen also improved with Smith’s arrival. After poor starts in the past few seasons put the Angels in an inescapable hole, a good April will be a key to job security for Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in baseball.
Manager: Lloyd McClendon (first season).
2013: 71-91, fourth place.
Training Town: Peoria, Ariz.
Park: Peoria Sports Complex.
First Workout: Feb. 13/17.
He’s Here: 2B Robinson Cano, OF Corey Hart, OF Logan Morrison, C John Buck, IF-OF Willie Bloomquist, RHP Scott Baker.
He’s Outta Here: Manager Eric Wedge, OF Raul Ibanez, DH Kendrys Morales, SS Brendan Ryan.
Going campin’: Seattle grabbed the headlines in the offseason with its $240 million, 10-year commitment to 2B Robinson Cano and then with the acquisitions of Corey Hart and Logan Morrison. If all three can perform up to their capabilities, Seattle may finally have a legitimate offense to complement a strong top to its rotation with Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. The questions for Seattle have to do with the rest of its rotation. The Mariners would like another veteran for the No. 3 spot and it could be Baker if he’s healthy. Then comes the battle for the final two spots with youngsters Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Erasmo Ramirez and Brandon Maurer all in the running. Seattle also needs to settle the logjam in its outfield and settle on a center fielder, and figure out whether Brad Miller or Nick Franklin is the better option at shortstop.
Manager: Bo Porter (second season).
2013: 51-111, fifth place.
Training Town: Kissimmee, Fla.
Park: Osceola County Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 16/20.
He’s Here: RHP Scott Feldman, CF Dexter Fowler, RHP Jesse Crain, RHP Jerome Williams, RHP Chad Qualls, RHP Matt Albers, 1B Jesus Guzman, SS Cesar Izturis, LHP Raul Valdes, LHP Darin Downs, OF Adron Chambers.
He’s Outta Here: LHP Erik Bedard, CF Brandon Barnes, RHP Jordan Lyles, RHP Philip Humber, OF Trevor Crowe.
Going campin’: The Astros fielded a team with an MLB-low payroll under $30 million last season and finished with a franchise-record 111 losses for their third straight 100-loss season. Now that they’ve restocked their once-barren farm system, they’ve started spending money to add pieces to pair with their up-and-coming players and should be better in 2014. Their most notable offseason addition was Feldman, who signed a three-year, $30 million contract to lead the rotation. They also boosted their dreadful bullpen by signing All-Star reliever Crain, along with Qualls, Albers and Williams. They upgraded the lineup by trading for center fielder and leadoff hitter Fowler, and this could be the year that intriguing prospect George Springer arrives in Houston. The 24-year-old outfielder had 37 homers, 108 RBIs and 45 stolen bases combined in Double-A and Triple-A last season.