Usually, the Yankees and Red Sox are the big spenders during the offseason. But this year, the Rangers and the Angels are locked in an in arms race, stockpiling talent.
During baseball’s winter meetings, the Angels swooped in and signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in one morning.
Now, the Rangers outbid the competition for the right to sign 25-year-old Japanese superstar pitcher Yu Darvish. In five seasons in the Japan Pacific League, Darvish boasts a career 1.72 ERA and has struck out 1,083 batters in 1,024 1/3 innings pitched. They also signed closer Joe Nathan, allowing them to move Neftali Feliz into the rotation, his natural position.
And then there are the A’s, who are getting rid of talent rather than acquiring it, making it nearly impossible for them to compete with the Rangers and Angels in the foreseeable future.
Trevor Cahill was traded. Josh Willingham and David DeJesus did the smart thing and ran away from Oakland. Coco Crisp isn’t coming back, and it looks like Billy Beane will trade ace Gio Gonzalez and closer Andrew Bailey in the next few weeks.
The team taking the field in Oakland in 2012 might be slightly better than the team taking the field in Sacramento.
The strength of the A’s team the last few season has been the starting pitching, and Beane is quickly dismantling it. In a division that features the power-crazy Rangers and now includes Albert Pujols, that’s a recipe for disaster.