Maybe its just me, but I feel like there’s never enough time to look at everything that has happened in the MLB offseason, at least not during my one day a week on the show.  Most of the time I feel like whenever we start talking baseball Hot Stove, we wind up going off on some tangent generally involving the Mets or Yankees and by the time we’re done with that, we’re done with baseball for the day.  So this week I’m going to try to touch on as many of the moves and teams involved as I can, so at least I can feel like everything’s at least been covered once.  Today, we start with the American League, particularly the West and Central Divisions.

In the AL West, the big move has obviously been Josh Hamilton going to the Angels, giving them arguably one of the best offenses in the league to go with Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Mark Trumbo, but their concern remains the starting rotation, and this past week, they made what I feel was kind of a desperate move to address their need when the traded OF/1B/DH Kendry Morales to the Mariners for starter Jason Vargas.  Morales was the odd man out in a crowded outfielder, so while I understand that part, the argument can be made that much of Vargas’ success the last few years comes from pitching in the pitcher- paradise that Safeco Field has become, and is now a prime regression candidate as a result of changing ballparks (lord know he wasn’t a world beater when the Mets had him).  The pitching is going to hold the Angels back, while they still have Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson, and Tommy Hanson was a quality addition, they didn’t do enough to replace Zack Greinke or Dan Haren, and now are stuck with middling options like Vargas, Joe Blanton and the young Garrett Richards to replace them.

Texas made a minor splash this week by bringing AJ Pierzynski in on a one year deal and have been speculated to move Ian Kinsler to first base in order to have Elvis Andrus and Jurikson Profar in the lineup at the same time.  As much as they still need another bat, they could always decide to give Mike Olt a more expanded role if they feel he’s ready to handle a corner outfield spot, and while their rotation is still basically solid, as a whole this team has regressed.  Oakland may still wind up being the best team in this division, as they may not have a better offense than the Angels, but they did add shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, an eight time Japanese All Star and career .300 hitter, as well as former D’Backs outfielder Chris Young to a solid young nucleus of talent including last years big international signing Yeonis Cespedes, Josh Reddick and Derek Norris, while still boasting an impressive young pitching staff of Brett Anderson (who might actually be healthy this year if he’s fully past his Tommy John surgery), Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, Dan Straily and AJ Griffin, while still having tons tucked away in the minors.  The As only whole seems to be third base, and while it’ll be interesting to see if they duplicate last year’s success, the future is bright in Oakland.

The AL Central always seems to be a crap shoot, but after the Tigers put their foot down and took it last year, one has to wonder if the other teams can catch them.  Detroit hasn’t lost much off last year’s team, as they expect to give prospect Avisall Garcia an extended look after his solid debut, and Torii Hunter should be a quality addition to go with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, and Victor Martinez looks to return to DH after a season lost due to injuries.  They also retained Anibal Sanchez, and are now shopping Rick Porcello as a result of their rotational depth.  The White Sox figure to be a threat, as they’re rotation is still intact and Tyler Flowers should be ready to replace Pierzynski full- time, but barring a major addition its the same team that couldn’t beat the Tigers last year.  Kansas City made its “go for it” move by adding James Shields and Wade Davis, and while the pitching needed the improvement, the Royals will go as far as Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas take them this year and in future years.  Hosmer’s numbers went down in his second season and Moustakas hit .250 last year, so obviously they need to start showing their potential soon to help the Royals, but if they do, along with Alex Gordon, Sal Perez, Lorenzo Cain, and Billy Butler, that Royals lineup could be something to watch this year.

The rest of the division probably won’t be watchable though; the Twins traded away Denard Span and Ben Revere from an already weak- hitting lineup, and while the prospect they got for Span (Alex Meyer) may be quality in time, and while Vance Worley could be better suited to pitching in Target Field than Citizen’s Bank Park and Trevor May may also be a quality find in time, and they’re hoping former-prospect Kyle Gibson makes an impressive return from Tommy John surgery, but when your spending 4 million dollars on Mike Pelfrey to strengthen a rotation with really only one solid holdover in Scott Diamond, you almost know a last place finish could be inevitable.  The Indians just signed Nick Swisher for 4 years at 52 million dollars with an option for a fifth, and they also gave a Spring Training invite to Scott Kasmir, but outside of the move that brought Trevor Bauer and Drew Stubbs to town, there still isn’t much to see here.  The lineup could be solid with Stubbs, Swisher, and Mark Reynolds, but unless Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall start turning into All Stars this year (and Kipnis is closer to that than Chisenhall is at this point), Cleveland still isn’t near close to competing for the postseason this year.

We’ll cover the AL East in time, as I feel the East is a subject for its own article, but next up, we’ll look at the NL, but read this to keep you occupied in the meantime.

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