AL West Roundup: Felix, Lohse, role players

Otto Greule Jr

In what should be a hotly-contested division, the teams are still active as we gear up for the season.

In a division that featured two playoff teams last year as well as a third near-miss, all four five teams have been active this offseason. Today was no exception, as despite the relative quiet around the league with the start of Spring Training, this division was abuzz.

It's Good to be the King

Felix Hernandez has been in the news a lot lately, and today was no exception. The full details of his recently-signed extension were released today, and it is a humongous amount of cash. Interesting part of that is the $1 million team option that kicks in at the end if Hernandez has any elbow issues.

Not only was Felix in the news, but SBNation MLB Designated Columnist Bill Parker wrote about Felix at length. Felix has thrown an unprecedented amount of innings for someone his age, which would be a red flag except for the fact that we are now in a better era of pitcher treatment. He will be an interesting case study in how a pitcher who is worked hard at a young age will fair as he gets older.

Angels Not Done Yet?

The Angels are in the cluster of teams that are still in the hunt for right-handed pitcher Kyle Lohse. The pitcher has not received anywhere near the interest he (or many others) thought he would in free agency. The team that signs Kyle Lohse will have to surrender a draft pick as Lohse is a Type-A free agent. Many believe the tie to a loss of draft pick is what is truly hurting Lohse, who is by all means very capable pitcher.

They also made a minor move, signing reliever Chad Cordero to a minor-league contract. Cordero was at one point a closer for the Nationals, but he has fallen off since then.

Rangers Search For Utility Player

The Rangers are in the hunt for a utility player, and Ryan Theriot appears to have caught their attention. Theriot, 33, hit .270 for the Giants last year in 384 plate appearances. The team has homegrown internal options such as Jurickson Profar and Leury Garcia, but they are reportedly weary of using prospects with starter-potential in part-time bench roles.

Another candidate they could consider is current non-roster invite Jeff Baker. Baker played for the Cubs, Tigers, and Braves last year, hitting a combined .248.

Busted Bullpens

Both the Athletics and Angels had major parts of their projected 2013 bullpens receive bad news recently. The Athletics' Grant Balfour underwent minor knee-surgery and will be out 4-6 weeks, which jeopardizes his chances of being ready for Opening Day.

The Angels' Ryan Madson found out that because of inflammation in his surgically-repaired elbow that he will miss Opening Day, reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. This is a blow to a team that is trying to piece together a bullpen as is.

One potential solution in the bullpen for the Angels could be Tommy Hanson, writes Lee Trocinski of Beyond the Box Score. While moving Hanson to the bullpen could open a hole in the rotation, Lee suggests that he might be worth more out of the bullpen than as a starting pitcher anyway.

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