Yu Darvish and Albert Pujols have joined the AL West. The Houston Astros will also join next year. Throw Houston out for a minute. Does this change you big east coast Boston-New-York-Philadelphia -are-the-only-teams-that-really-matter-mindset, east coast media persona? Does it surprise you that given the choice, the two bigger free agents flocked to the west coast and not the east? Granted those big market teams were low on cap room, but that’s another story.
I’m not saying that the “power” has shifted out west, but it has certainly evened things out a bit. Both Easts have two, borderline three contenders with Philly , Atlanta and possibly Miami or Washington in the NL and New York, Boston and Tampa Bay. The Wests now have Arizona, San Francisco, two-time defending AL champs Texas and the new look Angels. Unless Prince Fielder signs with the Cardinals, the Tigers are really the only legitimate team in the Centrals.
This is quite a step up from the perception of the west being a barren waste land. Before last year the Diamondbacks were a cellar dweller. San Fran won a title, but before that were stuck in mediocrity. Anaheim had made some playoff appearances, but was stuck behind the Rangers and out of the playoffs (due to the wild card spots being taken up in the East and Central). Oakland’s biggest success was the Moneyball premiere as of late. Seattle can’t hit to save anything really. The Dodgers have shrunken into a mediocre team with the whole sale of the team situation going on. The Padres missed the playoffs by this much, but otherwise haven’t gotten in recently. Colorado went to the World Series, but has gotten into slow stretches recently. The whole point is that things are changing. The Angels got miles better with only two players. They also will get Kendrys Morales back from injury, which is huge seeing as he is one of the better power hitters in the league when he’s on. The Rangers might have actually upgraded over CJ Wilson with Darvish, despite paying over 100 million to get him. That’s right one hundred million dollars. Take that in for a minute. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Just flip to the next paragraph when you’re done.
Where were we? Oh yeah, the one hundred million dollars. Right, Darvish makes the Rangers better, blah blah blah. Arizona looks like it could be here to stay for a long time. The Giants should rebound next year. The west will be better. The question now is how the west will be won? ((Had to throw that one in there, couldn’t resist.)