AL West teams at the start of spring training
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: AJ Hinch (fifth season).
2018: 103-59, first place, lost to Boston in ALCS.
Training Town: West Palm Beach, Florida.
Park: Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
First Workout: Feb. 14/18.
He’s Here: OF Michael Brantley, C Robinson Chirinos, LHP Wade Miley, INF Aledmys Diaz.
He’s Outta Here: INF-OF Marwin Gonzalez, LHP Dallas Keuchel, RHP Charlie Morton, DH Evan Gattis, LHP Tony Sipp, C Brian McCann, C Martin Maldonado.
Going campin’: The Astros won a franchise-record 103 games last season and reached the ALCS. But mounting injuries and inconsistent play led to their elimination by Boston in five games and kept them from repeating as champions after winning their first World Series title in 2017. Houston returns aces Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, who are both coming off great seasons, but let Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner, go in free agency and will be without Lance McCullers Jr. all season following Tommy John surgery. The Astros signed Miley to take a spot in the rotation, and Collin McHugh is expected to return to starting after spending last year in the bullpen. But the team will need one of its young players to round out the rotation. Houston also let go of Gonzalez, a super-utility man whose versatility had been a key asset over the last few years. The biggest offseason acquisition was the signing of Brantley, and if he stays healthy, the career .295 hitter will provide a boost to the lineup. Jose Altuve, the 2017 AL MVP, and shortstop Carlos Correa struggled with injuries late in the season but are healthy and eyeing a return to form in 2019. Third baseman Alex Bregman, who had a breakout season in 2018, will get a slow start to spring training after minor elbow surgery, but is expected to be ready for opening day.
Manager: Bob Melvin (ninth season).
2018: 97-65, second place, lost to New York Yankees in wild-card game.
Training Town: Mesa, Arizona.
Park: Hohokam Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 11/16.
He’s Here: INF Jurickson Profar, RHP Marco Estrada, RHP Joakim Soria, LHP Jerry Blevins, RHP Tanner Anderson, RHP Parker Bridwell, C Chris Herrmann.
He’s Outta Here: INF Jed Lowrie, C Jonathan Lucroy, RHP Jeurys Familia, RHP Shawn Kelley, LHP Brett Anderson, RHP Edwin Jackson, RHP Emilio Pagan, OF Matt Joyce, RHP Cory Gearrin, RHP Kendall Graveman.
Going campin’: The A’s were a surprise playoff team last year after three straight last-place finishes. Melvin got the most out of a low-cost roster led by slugger Khris Davis, emerging star third baseman Matt Chapman and a deep bullpen anchored by Blake Treinen. The A’s made some minor moves this offseason, acquiring Profar from Texas and letting Lowrie leave as a free agent for a switch at second base. They still need to find an answer at catcher after Lucroy left in free agency, and prospect Sean Murphy could get a look even though he hasn’t proven himself at Triple-A yet. Estrada adds depth to a rotation that was pieced together last season in part by using relievers as “openers” to start some games. The A’s went with a bullpen game in the wild-card playoff loss to the Yankees. If top prospects Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk can impress enough at spring training, the rotation could be more formidable this season. The biggest question this spring is the status of 2018 first-round draft pick Kyler Murray. The A’s were counting on him coming to camp after being drafted ninth overall, but Murray won the Heisman Trophy as the star quarterback at Oklahoma and could give up his baseball career for a future in the NFL.
Manager: Scott Servais (fourth season).
2018: 89-73, third place.
Training Town: Peoria, Arizona.
Park: Peoria Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 12/16.
He’s Here: C Omar Narvaez, 1B-OF Jay Bruce, 1B-DH Edwin Encarnacion, SS J.P. Crawford, SS Tim Beckham, OF Mallex Smith, OF Domingo Santana, LHP Yusei Kikuchi, RHP Hunter Strickland, RHP Cory Gearrin, RHP Anthony Swarzak, LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP Erik Swanson.
He’s Outta Here: C Mike Zunino, 2B Robinson Cano, SS Jean Segura, DH Nelson Cruz, LHP James Paxton, RHP Edwin Diaz, OF Denard Span, OF Guillermo Heredia, RHP Alex Colome, OF Ben Gamel, INF-OF Andrew Romine, RHP Juan Nicasio.
Going campin’: Seattle may need to hand out “Hi, my name is” stickers for the first few days of spring training. The Mariners have decided being just above average in the American League doesn’t work, and they’re entering this spring in full rebuild mode. That’s not a phrase the Mariners are using, but it’s clear they don’t expect to be contenders for at least a few seasons. Seattle’s hope is some of the veterans in its lineup — Bruce, Encarnacion, possibly Kyle Seager — perform well enough the first half of the season, a contender may be willing to make a deal and allow the Mariners to acquire more prospects. There will be plenty of eyes in the spring on the early development of Kikuchi adjusting to the majors after being a star in Japan, and on 45-year-old Ichiro Suzuki, who could be making the final appearances of his career when Seattle opens the season in Japan against Oakland. Some other youngsters to watch: Sheffield and Swanson, acquired from the Yankees for Paxton, will be looking to crack the rotation, and Crawford is trying to make good on his impressive toolset after struggling as a rookie with the Phillies last season.
Los Angeles Angels
Manager: Brad Ausmus (first season).
2018: 80-82, fourth place.
Training Town: Tempe, Arizona.
Park: Tempe Diablo Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 13/18.
He’s Here: RHP Cody Allen, C Jonathan Lucroy, RHP Matt Harvey, RHP Trevor Cahill, 1B Justin Bour, OF Peter Bourjos, INF Tommy La Stella, RHP Luis Garcia.
He’s Outta Here: Manager Mike Scioscia, RHP Garrett Richards, RHP Matt Shoemaker, 1B Jefry Marte, RHP Jim Johnson, LHP Jose Alvarez, RHP Blake Parker, 3B Kaleb Cowart.
Going Campin’: A new era begins in Orange County after Scioscia’s club-record 19 seasons in charge. Ausmus and a thoroughly revamped coaching staff will bring a fresh perspective to a roster featuring largely the same players that completed the Angels’ third straight losing season last fall. GM Billy Eppler didn’t chase the expensive prizes in free agency, instead revamping his injury-plagued rotation with Harvey and Cahill joining holdovers including Andrew Heaney and Tyler Skaggs. Eppler also added Cleveland career saves leader Allen to his bullpen. The Angels’ lineup is still built around Mike Trout, but his supporting cast hasn’t changed much, other than Lucroy’s arrival. Albert Pujols has 633 career homers but is 39 and coming off another surgery with three high-priced years left on his contract. Pujols will have to stay in shape to play first base again, too. That’s because Shohei Ohtani will return as LA’s designated hitter early on, albeit not by opening day. The AL Rookie of the Year won’t pitch this season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Andrelton Simmons, Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun are all back. And for the first time in years, the Angels might get help from a farm system left in ruins by former GM Jerry Dipoto. Touted slugger Jo Adell and right-hander Griffin Canning look like surefire impact players, and they could arrive in Anaheim in 2019.
Manager: Chris Woodward (first season).
2018: 67-95, fifth place.
Training Town: Surprise, Arizona.
Park: Surprise Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 13/18.
He’s Here: 3B Asdrubal Cabrera, RHP Lance Lynn, RHP Zach McAllister, RHP Shawn Kelley, RHP Shelby Miller, LHP Drew Smyly, C Jeff Mathis, RHP Jason Hammel, OF Hunter Pence, INF Matt Davidson, 3B Patrick Wisdom, RHP Jeanmar Gomez.
He’s Outta Here: Manager Jeff Banister, 3B Adrian Beltre, INF Jurickson Profar, C Robinson Chirinos, OF Ryan Rua, RHP Bartolo Colon, LHP Martin Perez, RHP Alex Claudio, CF Drew Robinson.
Going campin’: After enduring consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 2005-08, the Rangers have a new manager with a young bunch of talented 20-something position players and a rotation filled with surgically repaired pitchers. Switch-hitting former two-time All-Star shortstop Cabrera is the likely replacement at third base for Beltre, who retired after playing the final eight of his 21 big league seasons and getting the last 1,277 of his 3,166 career hits with Texas. Elvis Andrus, the 30-year-old shortstop going into his 11th season, is still the longest-tenured Ranger. The only rotation returner is lefty Mike Minor, who made a team-high 28 starts last season when he was closely monitored in his first time starting since 2014, before a torn labrum. Lynn won 21 games the last two seasons after missing 2016 because of Tommy John surgery. Smyly, Miller and Edinson Volquez are all coming back from Tommy John surgery. Smyly hasn’t pitched since 2016. The Rangers do have an incumbent closer in 25-year-old Jose Leclerc, who converted his last 12 save opportunities after Keone Kela was traded at the end of July.