2012 Baseball Preview

AL West Preview

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP - With a deep rotation and an offense that now includes Albert Pujols, the Angels are built to win.

The Angels weren’t far away from being an elite team in 2011 – like, an Albert Pujols and a C.J. Wilson away. And darned if they didn’t go out and sign them both in one fell swoop. You can find weaknesses if you look hard enough (bullpen, bench), but with this rotation and this offense, it will hardly matter. This is a team built to win, both in April-September, and in October.

The Rangers swear they are over the 2011 World Series, when they twice came within one strike of the championship, only to lose. They certainly didn’t get worse — replacing ace C.J. Wilson with Yu Darvish and shifting Neftali Feliz to the rotation. But we suspect they’ll never truly get past last fall’s failure, and if Josh Hamilton and/or Nelson Cruz get hurt, watch out.

Graphic

Which team is spending the most on its top three pitchers this season? Which pitcher makes the most money and how long is he signed for? Use this tool to compare 2012 pitcher salaries.
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Which team is spending the most on its top three pitchers this season? Which pitcher makes the most money and how long is he signed for? Use this tool to compare 2012 pitcher salaries.

Video

The Washington Post's Jason Reid joins the Post Sports Live crew to preview the Nationals' upcoming season and debate whether or not the expectation level needs to be adjusted for this club.

The Washington Post's Jason Reid joins the Post Sports Live crew to preview the Nationals' upcoming season and debate whether or not the expectation level needs to be adjusted for this club.

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The Mariners sacrificed a talented young pitcher, Michael Pineda, to acquire one of the top young hitting prospects in the game, Jesus Montero, in a desperate attempt to upgrade an offense that ranked as the majors’ worst in both 2010 and 2011. Problem is, there’s still too much dead weight around him. And not even the continued presence of Felix Hernandez atop the rotation can push this team into contention.

It was a strange offseason for Billy Beane and the Athletics. First, he trades away three all-star pitchers (including Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals), claiming he couldn’t afford to keep them. Then, he tosses $36 million at Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and bottom-feeds for PED-suspended slugger Manny Ramirez. The net result? A warm, comfy spot in the cellar.

 
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