Winter meetings shopping list fall-out: AL West

Corey Hart, new Mariner. - Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

As the winter meetings wind down, the AL West still has its needs, even if the Angels, A's, and Mariners have made some big changes.

Texas Rangers: Starting Pitcher

Formerly: Matt Garza

Starters' ERA: 3.99, 17th in majors

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has said he's not panning for another frontline starting pitcher, and he knows his team better than we do, so perhaps we ought to give him deference and talk about how recently acquired left fielder Michael Choice or Sad Song's Say So Much Mitch Moreland could profitably be upgraded by a Choo (or two). The Rangers do have a great pile of starting pitchers, but this year only Yu Darvish and Derek Holland made it all the way through the campaign. Working from imperfect memory, Matt Harrison had back problems, Martin Perez was gored by a bull, Alexi Ogando injured his shoulder flipping manhole covers, and Colby Lewis reported to the Chunichi Dragons by mistake. Nothing says that these fellows have to be at all diminished by their injuries or that 2014 has to have the same fragile quality (though at this point it seems pretty clear that scarecrow-proportioned Ogando is never going to make it to 200 innings), but it seems reasonable to assume that once a pitcher has proved friable, he will always be friable.

Even with Jurickson Profar promoted to the major leagues, the Rangers still have a deep farm system studded with future major leaguers like Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor, but the pitchers they might call on are not quite of the same quality. Hence the ultimately regrettable trade for Matt Garza at midseason. Lewis, who missed the entire season after elbow surgery, is expected to be ready to go in the spring, and the Rangers have other internal options, such as pulling lefty Robbie Ross out of the bullpen, but there might be safer, surer routes to depth available in the trade market. Unfortunately for them, some of it probably headed to the Angels in the Mark Trumbo deal.

Alexi_ogando_medium Alexi Ogando (Ronald Martinez)

Los Angeles Angels: Another bat (DH)

Formerly: Mark Trumbo

2013 team OPS+ : 110 (tied second in majors)

The late-season emergence of Kole Calhoun (.282/.347/.462) helped make it possible for the Angels to get off the Trumbo ride, and at some point in 2014 they'll also have 2011 first rounder C.J. Cron on hand to give them the same kind of empty-calorie slugging that Trumbo did -- that is, power (which is something) combined with subpar ability to reach base (which is everything). They also have J.B Shuck, who will need to hit .300 to be useful in more than a reserve role. In the meantime, Arte Moreno can hope for vintage seasons from Josh Hamilton or Albert Pujols, but there's no guarantee that they won't stay right where they are or decline further. David Freese will be an upgrade on their third base production in '13 (.246/.304/.333) without being a real plus at the position, and if the season started today, designated hitter will be a free-parking position for the vets without the promise of real production from the subs while they rest, given that most of those plate appearances will devolve on Shuck and his soft .290 average.

"Take further advantage of the Diamondbacks" doesn't seem like much of a plan, though Martin Prado would be a better fit in Anaheim than he is in Arizona, where the Diamondbacks now have players at his three best positions (cost notwithstanding; he's signed for another three years at $11 million a pop). "Call Brian Downing, see if he's still got it" also seems like it has a low percentage chance of paying off. The Angels can comfortably stand pat given how strong the attack was this year even with 99 games of a subpar Pujols and the fact that Trumbo's production should be reasonably easier to replace, but given how their decision a year ago to be nonchalant about the pitching staff worked out, it would probably behoove this  franchise, now four years removed from its last playoff appearance, not to take anything for granted.

Late word had Raul Ibanez possibly headed to Anaheim, giving the Angels another low-OBP source of power to replace Trumbo. (They can't all be Brian Downing.) Ibanez is a career .349/.407/.522 hitter in 327 career plate appearances at Angel Stadium. Much of that was compiled several lifetimes ago. Ibanez shouldn't have to wear a glove or face much in the way of same-side pitching with the Angels, which would make him a more valuable player than he was in Seattle -- that's if age doesn't finally catch up with him. If this one happens, you can probably mark the Angels as "Done," or perhaps as done as they're going to get without acquiring another starting pitcher to buy more time for Skaggs.

Raul_ibanez_medium Raul Ibanez (Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports)

Houston Astros: Time Machine Trip to 2016 or so

Formerly: H.G. Wells, Rip Hunter, Doc Brown's DeLorean

Some of that lazy "red matter" stuff from J.J. Abrams' first Star Trek film.

The Astros made a hard decision but a good one, deciding that they would face a rebuild as squarely as any team in baseball history. They spent little, they traded what they could, and as a result they put out what was even worse than an expansion teams. In the process, they continued to stockpile prospects, and will add another good one with the first overall draft pick next June. Meanwhile, the youngsters already on hand -- Carlos Correa, George Springer, Mark Appel, Delino DeShields among them -- keep maturing. The Astros will need to manage their timetable carefully so the core comes together in a way that these players not only help turn the franchise around but are also available to the Astros for as long and inexpensively as possible, but that is one of those cliché "good problems to have." Next year is still going to be ugly, but Jeff Luhnow and pals are better off sticking to their plan and assessing what they've got rather than trying to accelerate the process with trades and free agent signings.

Mark_appel_medium Mark Appel (Scott Halleran)

Oakland A's: Done? (Shortstop)

Currently: Jed Lowrie

.239 average allowed on grounders (12th in majors)

The A's have had a good winter. They picked up Craig Gentry, a good platoon/defensive outfielder for Michael Choice, a prospect they weren't going to have room for any time soon, and subbed in the high-strikeout uncertainty of 30-year-old Scott Kazmir for the low-strikeout uncertainty of 41-year-old Bartolo Colon. They've also remade their bullpen, losing (whether by means of trade or free-agent departure) Grant Balfour and Jerry Blevins while adding Jim Johnson, Luke Gregerson, Fernando Abad, and Drew Pomeranz (who is apparently going to do situational lefty work). While some members of the lineup might regress (Coco Crisp for starters), you can reasonably project some improvement for Yoenis "I give away at-bats-cheap!" Cespedes and Josh Reddick, whose bat was the subject of a widely publicized "maple alert" search by the FBI.

If you want to nitpick, you could focus on Jed Lowrie as the weak part of the infield defense. At .290/.344/.446 last year with a full -21 in fielding runs according to Baseball-Reference (other fielding metrics are in rough agreement), Lowrie is Oakland's version of a young Derek Jeter. As Jeter proved, if your shortstop hits enough the fact that he helps your pitchers give up some extra ground-ball singles doesn't  matter that much. That said, the A's have a tremendous shortstop prospect on the way in Addison Russell and a second baseman in Alberto Callaspo who is (a) better than the mélange the A's have put out there in recent, but (b) one of those guys who is just sort of there, and (c) at 31 his chances of discovering something better than there-ness seems small. Lowrie at second might simultaneously be less of a defensive problem and just as much of an offensive asset.

Since the A's have every reason to wait for Russell (and there is no certainty he will come as soon as this year) rather than make a deal for a more talented defender like Didi Gregorius, but when you've made it past the ALDS round just once in the current century, maybe it makes sense to pick up every extra bit you can. A Gregorius can always be flipped again.

Jed_lowrie_medium Jed Lowrie (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Seattle Mariners: Outfield

Formerly Raul Ibanez, Mike Morse, etc.

M's outfielders: .242/.305/.413 (21st in majors)

The Mariners have never had a player make it to 800 games in left field. Even in the day of Griffey and Buhner, the third guy in the outfield was always soup du jour. So far this winter they've acquired Robinson Cano, Corey Hart, and Logan Morrison, but they haven't addressed the outfield, which presently consists of Dustin Ackley, Michael Saunders, and perhaps Morrison or Abe Almonte. In short, it's still a mess, and still likely subpar. Morrison hasn't hit or been healthy in three years, didn't play the outfield at all in 2013, and hardly reminded observers of Tris Speaker when he did play there in the past. It seems likely that with Hart, Morrison, and Justin Smoak on hand, GM Jack Zduriencik will be looking to flip a first baseman, perhaps to the Rays as part of a package for David Price, or maybe to Milwaukee, which seems to have based its entire winter meetings plan on Hart. Stay tuned, because the Mariners still have a great deal of work to do if all of this spending is going to be worthwhile ... And whither Kendrys Morales?

Dustin_ackley_medium Dustin Ackley (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

More from SB Nation MLB:

Jeb Lund: The Winter Meetings, where nothing is necessary

Tigers could trade for Matt Kemp, according to reports

Trumbo, Eaton highlight 3-team trade between Angels, D-Backs, White Sox

Goldman: Arizona might be only loser in deal

Death of a Ballplayer: Wrongly convicted prospect spends 27 years in prison

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