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Grading the First Half of the Offseason: AL West

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The Mariners have been busy, while the Astros look ahead at another strong season.

Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

It’s the middle of January. We are more than halfway through the offseason, and the biggest free agent stars (such as Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel, and Marwin Gonzalez) are still free agents.

Let’s check out and grade how every American League West team has done this offseason, listed in order of their 2018 regular season records.

Houston Astros: B

2018 record: 103-59

The Houston Astros are looking for their third straight appearance in the ALCS. They hope to accomplish this despite losing Charlie Morton, Dallas Keuchel and Marwin Gonzalez to free agency, and Lance McCullers to injury. Houston started off their offseason by claiming catcher Chris Herrmann off waivers from the Seattle Mariners, but he elected free agency at the end of the month. Weeks later, they sent righty Trent Thornton to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for infielder Aledmys Diaz. Fast forward more than two weeks to December 6th, when the Astros made their first major-league signing of the offseason when they agreed to terms with catcher Robinson Chirinos. Their next one came nearly another two weeks later, when they brought in outfielder Michael Brantley. The only other transaction after that came less than a week into the New Year, when they sent infielders J.D. Davis and Cody Bohanek to the New York Mets for in exchange for infielder Luis Santana, outfielder Ross Adolph and catcher Scott Manea. The Astros still have a star-studded roster, but they have done nothing yet to improve from their 2018 performance.

Oakland Athletics: A

2018 record: 97-65

The Oakland Athletics had a quiet start to their offseason. The only significant move they made in November was the addition of righty Tanner Anderson from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for righty Wilkin Ramos. In December, they brought in catcher Chris Herrmann on a big-league deal after he left Houston. They also added a pair of righties in 34-year old Joakim Soria and 33-year old Mike Fiers. They also struck a massive three-team deal with the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays, acquiring shortstop Jurickson Profar from Texas in exchange for infielder Eli White and cash, while also sending righty Emilio Pagan cash to Tampa Bay. These additions were certainly helpful for the A’s, and if they can stay on this path, they will definitely return to the playoffs in 2019.

Seattle Mariners: A+

2018 record: 89-73

The Mariners have been extremely busy wheeling and dealing this offseason. They were off to a quick start when they sent catcher Mike Zunino, outfielder Guillermo Heredia, and southpaw Michael Plassmeyer to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for outfielders Mallex Smith and Jake Fraley. Later, they sent southpaw James Paxton to the New York Yankees in exchange for southpaw Justus Sheffield, righty Erik Swanson and outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams. They didn’t stop there, though. Later, they landed southpaw Ricardo Sanchez from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for cash. Their final trade of November came when they acquired catcher Omar Narvaez in exchange for righty Alex Colome. Their only other major league transaction of the month came when they released pitcher Casey Lawrence.

They made another four trades in December. First, they sent infielder Jean Segura, righty Juan Nicasio and southpaw James Pazos to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for first baseman Carlos Santana and infielder J.P. Crawford. Hours later, they announced they had traded infielder Robinson Cano, righty Edwin Diaz and cash to the New York Mets for outfielders Jarred Kelenic and Jay Bruce, as well as righties Justin Dunn, Anthony Swarzak, and Gerson Bautista. At the end of the Winter Meetings, they finalized a three-team deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians, landing slugger Edwin Encarnacion and international slot money from the Indians and cash from the Rays, while sending first baseman Carlos Santana to the Indians just days after getting him from Philly. One week later, they acquired outfielder Domingo Santana from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for outfielder Ben Gamel and righty Noah Zavolas. They also claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Los Angeles Angeles with the intent to use him as a two-way player, while losing John Andreoli to the Rangers the same way. They also signed southpaw Zac Rosscup, righty Cory Gearrin, shortstop Tim Beckham, and Japanese phenom pitcher Yusei Kikuchi to major-league deals. The Mariners’ roster has been rearranged and re-organized, and it’s too early to tell if the moves will have a positive result or not. But as of now, it has been a great offseason for the Mariners.

Los Angeles Angels: A

2018 record: 80-82

The Angels’ offseason was off to a quiet start, with a few minor moves in November. They claimed righty Austin Brice off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds, while losing righty Parker Bridwell to the New York Yankees the same way. Later, they acquired southpaw Dillon Peters from the Miami Marlins in exchange for RHP Tyler Stevens. They also released outfielder Jabari Blash, righty Alex Meyer and second baseman Jose Fernandez. Their only other notable move of the month came when they acquired infielder Tommy La Stella from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for lefty Conor Lillis-White. Their offseason got busier in December. They re-acquired Bridwell via waivers, while acquiring righty Luis Garcia from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for southpaw Jose Alvarez. They also signed first baseman Justin Bour, right-handed pitcher Trevor Cahill, and catcher Jonathan Lucroy to a major-league contracts. They also inked a deal with righty Matt Harvey. In January, they lost two players via the waiver claim process: Austin Brice to the Baltimore Orioles, and righty Luke Farrell to the Rangers. The Angels made a minor trade in January, too, acquiring righty John Curtiss from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for infielder Daniel Ozoria. Finally, the Angels agreed to a deal with free agent reliever Cody Allen. It has been a very productive offseson for the Halos, who are on track for a strong 2019 season if Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani can stay healthy.

Texas Rangers: A-

2018 record: 67-95

The Rangers have been busy this offseason. They started off their November by acquiring Drew Smyly and a player to be named later from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for a different player to be named later. Later, they lost shortstop Hanser Alberto to the Yankees via waivers while acquiring infielder Jack Reinheimer from the Baltimore Orioles the same way. The Rangers also signed catcher Jeff Mathis and righty Jesse Chavez to major-league deals. Meanwhile, their December began when they claimed infielder Carlos Asuaje off waivers from the San Diego Padres, although they later released him. Next, they sent outfielder Drew Robinson to the St. Louis Cardinals for infielder Patrick Wisdom. Then, they brought in lefty Alex Claudio following a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for a draft pick. After that, they signed righties Adrian Sampson, Rafael Montero, Jeanmar Gomez, Phillips Valdez, Ariel Hernandez, Tim Dillard and Matt Bush, infielders Nolan Fontana and Chase d’Arnaud, outfielder Danny Santana, and southpaws Miguel Del Pozo and Zac Curtis to minor league contracts and invited them to spring training. They also signed righty Taylor Guerrieri to a minors pact with a big-league camp invite, a source said. And, of course, they finalized that three-team trade with Oakland and Tampa, sending Jurickson Profar to Oakland in exchange for infielder Eli White and cash, while getting southpaws Kyle Bird and Brock Burke, and righty Yoel Espinal from Tampa Bay in exchange for righty Rollie Lacy. And, as previously mentioned, they claimed John Andreoli from Seattle and Luke Farrell from Los Angeles. Finally, the Rangers agreed to terms on a major-league deal with righty Shelby Miller, as well as with righty Lance Lynn. The Rangers have been extremely busy making moves, and although they aren’t going to be playoff-bound next season, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to produce ten more wins than they did last year.