2. Texas Rangers
2016: 95-67, lost in ALDS to Blue Jays
Significant additions: 1B Mike Napoli, SP Andrew Cashner, SP Tyson Ross, SP Dillon Gee
Significant losses: OF/DH Carlos Beltran, OF Ian Desmond, 1B Mitch Moreland, SP Colby Lewis
Clubhouse catalyst: 3B Adrian Beltre
The season is a success if: Pythagorean win-loss records are all a crock of hooey. The Rangers only outscored opponents by eight runs in 2016, which made their “expected” (or Pythagorean) win-loss record a modest 82-80, suggesting some sort of flukiness behind their actual mark. They approached their offseason like a team that needed only minor tweaks, but it is fair to wonder if the losses of Desmond, Beltran and Moreland (their Nos. 2, 3 and 7 hitters down the stretch) will be too costly. They can still make it to October, but more has to go right for them than it did a year ago.
3. Los Angeles Angels
Significant additions: 2B Danny Espinosa, 1B Luis Valbuena, LF Ben Revere, SP Jesse Chavez, C Martin Maldonado, OF Cameron Maybin, RP Yusmeiro Petit
Significant losses: SP Jered Weaver, SP/RP Jhoulys Chacin, 2B Johnny Giavotella, SP C.J. Wilson
Clubhouse catalyst: CF Mike Trout
The season is a success if: they don’t squander another year of the Trout Era floundering as an also-ran. The Angels have suffered two straight years of steep declines, going from 98 wins in 2014 to 85 in 2015, then down to 74 in 2016, when a rash of pitching injuries — and a lack of reinforcements from a farm system rated as one of the worst in the game — torpedoed the season. The Angels will be fun to watch, with Espinosa and SS Andrelton Simmons forming perhaps the best double-play combo in the game, and with the best player in the game patrolling center field. But that’s far from the same thing as being a great team.
4. Seattle Mariners
Significant additions: SS Jean Segura, LF Jarrod Dyson, SP Drew Smyly, SP Yovani Gallardo, OF Mitch Haniger, IF/OF Danny Valencia, RP Mark Rzepczynski, RP Casey Fien
Significant losses: SP Taijuan Walker, SS Ketel Marte, 1B Adam Lind, OF Nori Aoki, OF Seth Smith, OF Franklin Gutierrez, SP Nathan Karns, RP Vidal Nuno, RP Drew Storen, 1B Dae-ho Lee, RP Tom Wilhelmsen
Clubhouse catalyst: SP Felix Hernandez
The season is a success if: the players GM Jerry DiPoto acquired are better than the ones he traded away. DiPoto, now in his second year in Seattle, added to his credentials this winter as the most trigger-happy trade partner in the game. But other than the deal that brought Segura and Haniger from Milwaukee, most of the swaps appeared to add marginal value, at best. The Mariners will be more athletic than in years past, especially in the outfield, with Dyson, Haniger and Leonys Martin. But the window is narrow here — 2B Robinson Cano is 34, slugger Nelson Cruz is 36 and ace Hernandez is almost 31, with high mileage. Given DiPoto’s history, this team might find itself dealing away veteran pieces at the trade deadline.
5. Oakland Athletics
Significant additions: CF Rajai Davis, RF Matt Joyce, 3B Trevor Plouffe, RP Santiago Casilla, IF/OF Adam Rosales
Significant losses: IF/OF Danny Valencia
Clubhouse catalyst: RP Sean Doolittle
The season is a success if: SP Sonny Gray gets healthy and gets back to being an ace. However bad the A’s may be in 2017 — and they could be really bad — the presence of a true, young ace could make the future look a little more palatable. But after looking like a future Cy Young winner for his first 2½ years, Gray crashed to a 5.69 ERA last year and has struggled with arm injuries this spring. The A’s have some other interesting pieces, such as slugging LF Khris Davis, resurgent RF Joyce and young SP Jharel Cotton, but without a healthy Gray, their 2017 is shot before it even gets started, and the future beyond that doesn’t look so good, either.
NL West preview: Dodgers believe in their core, and paid to keep it
NL Central: Yes, the Chicago Cubs could win it again
Fancy Stats: Kershaw is a unicorn; Nats have two thoroughbreds