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AL West team needs heading into winter meetings

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theScore's MLB offseason team needs series breaks down every club's roster and key departures, along with how holes could be filled in free agency ahead of the Dec. 4-7 winter meetings. Division previews will roll out daily through Nov. 30.


*Bolded names are players traded this offseason

Houston Astros

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2023 record: 90-72 (1st in AL West)
Projected 40-man payroll: $217M
Key departures: Michael Brantley, Martin Maldonado, Phil Maton, Hector Neris, Ryne Stanek
Needs: Reliever, catcher, outfielder, starting pitcher

Where the lineup stands

1 Jose Altuve 2B 4.0
2 Alex Bregman 3B 4.3
3 Yordan Alvarez (L) DH 4.5
4 José Abreu 1B -0.6
5 Kyle Tucker (L) RF 4.9
6 Yainer Diaz C 2.0
7 Chas McCormick LF 3.8
8 Jeremy Peña SS 2.8
9 Jake Meyers CF 1.7

The Astros took a bit of a step back in 2023, winning just 90 games after a 106-56 campaign the previous season. Change could be on the horizon in Houston with longtime pillars Altuve and Bregman only under team control for one more season. Expect the Astros to continue maximizing the opportunity to win another World Series for at least one more season. An addition in the outfield will likely be a priority.

How the rotation looks

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1 Justin Verlander R 1.4
2 Framber Valdez L 4.3
3 Cristian Javier R 1.9
4 Hunter Brown R 1.8
5 J.P. France R 1.3

The Astros are well-equipped in the starting rotation. The biggest unknowns heading into 2024 involve right-handers Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis Garcia. McCullers didn't pitch in 2023, while Garcia underwent Tommy John surgery in May. If there is any uncertainty about how much they can contribute next season, general manager Dana Brown will likely look to add another option to provide depth to the rotation. He will also need to add to a bullpen, with Neris, Stanek, and Maton all likely heading elsewhere.

Los Angeles Angels

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2023 record: 73-89 (4th)
Projected 40-man payroll: $153M
Key departures: C.J. Cron, Eduardo Escobar, Randal Grichuk, Aaron Loup, Mike Moustakas, Shohei Ohtani, Gio Urshela
Needs: Reliever, starting pitcher, outfielder

Where the lineup stands

1 Luis Rengifo (S) 2B 1.9
2 Mike Trout CF 3.0
3 Brandon Drury DH 2.5
4 Taylor Ward LF 1.5
5 Anthony Rendon 3B 0.2
6 Mickey Moniak (L) RF 1.5
7 Logan O'Hoppe C 0.2
8 Nolan Schanuel (L) 1B 0.1
9 Zach Neto SS 1.1

There's no sugarcoating the state of affairs in Orange County. The expected departure of Ohtani leaves the franchise in a very precarious state. It will be interesting to see what happens with Trout, who has made it clear he wants to win as he enters his age-32 season in 2024. Rendon has only played 148 games over the past three seasons due to a myriad of injuries. The seven-year, $245-million contract he received in 2019 has been a disaster for the Angels and could severely hamstring the team's ability to be flexible with spending. This lineup resembles more of a rebuilding team than one with ambitions of winning a World Series.

How the rotation looks

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1 Reid Detmers L 2.5
2 Griffin Canning R 1.8
3 Patrick Sandoval L 2.3
4 Tyler Anderson L 1.1
5 Chase Silseth R 0.2

For the first time in a long time, the Angels have reason to be optimistic about homegrown talent in the rotation. Detmers, Canning, Sandoval and Silseth all showed flashes in 2023. Angels general manager Perry Minasian could look to bring in another veteran to provide more depth behind the existing group.

Oakland Athletics

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2023 record: 50-112 (5th)
Projected 40-man payroll: $40M
Key departures: Tony Kemp, Trevor May, Drew Rucinski, Kevin Smith
Needs: Reliever, infielder

Where the lineup stands

1 Ryan Noda (L) 1B 2.0
2 Zack Gelof 2B 2.9
3 Brent Rooker DH 2.0
4 Seth Brown (L) RF 0.0
5 Shea Langeliers C 0.7
6 JJ Bleday (L) LF 0.1
7 Esteury Ruiz CF 1.2
8 Abraham Toro (S) 3B 0.2
9 Darell Hernaiz SS Rookie

There's not a lot to be excited about for A's fans. The team's move to Las Vegas was unanimously approved with 2024 shaping up to potentially be the last season for the franchise in Oakland. But beyond the grim state of affairs for Oakland baseball fans, there are actually some encouraging signs of growth from a handful of players in the lineup. Gelof had an excellent rookie season, setting a new franchise record with 33 extra-base hits in his first 60 games.

How the rotation looks

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1 Paul Blackburn R 1.5
2 JP Sears L 0.6
3 Luis Medina R 0.5
4 Ken Waldichuk L -0.1
5 Mason Miller R 0.7

Manager Mark Kotsay will continue to give a handful of young pitchers an opportunity to prove themselves in the rotation. The team could look to trade Blackburn if a club in need of a back-end-of-the-rotation starter shows interest in the right-hander. The addition of a veteran would be nice to help mentor some of the younger arms.

Seattle Mariners

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2023 record: 88-74 (3rd)
Projected 40-man payroll: $143M
Key departures: Teoscar Hernández, Mike Ford, Dominic Leone, Tom Murphy, Eugenio Suárez (ARI)
Needs: Designated hitter, outfielder, third baseman

Where the lineup stands

1 J.P. Crawford (L) SS 4.9
2 Julio Rodríguez CF 5.9
3 Cal Raleigh (S) C 4.7
4 Ty France 1B 0.5
5 Jarred Kelenic (L) RF 1.3
6 Cade Marlowe (L) LF 0.9
7 Luis Urías 3B -0.1
8 Dominic Canzone (L) DH -0.4
9 Josh Rojas (L) 2B 1.2

The Mariners are in need of a third baseman after trading Suárez to the Arizona Diamondbacks for catcher Seby Zavala and right-hander Carlos Vargas. Hernández's 26 home runs last season will also need to be replaced. The Mariners could make a splash to provide Rodríguez with another impact player in the lineup. Seattle finished the regular season a middling 16th in runs scored and OPS. With a strong rotation and bullpen, the team just needs to find a bit of improvement to return to the postseason after missing out by one game in 2023.

How the rotation looks

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1 Luis Castillo R 3.4
2 Logan Gilbert R 3.2
3 George Kirby R 4.4
4 Bryce Miller R 1.9
5 Marco Gonzales L 0.6

Mariners manager Scott Servais is loaded with talent in the rotation. The foursome of Castillo, Gilbert, Kirby, and Miller is as good as any in the league. Robbie Ray should be an option at some point in 2024 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May. The Mariners will likely allow Gonzales to compete with Bryan Woo and Emerson Hancock during spring training to see who secures the fifth spot in the rotation. General manager Jerry Dipoto could look to trade from his stockpile of pitchers to address an area of need in the lineup.

Texas Rangers

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2023 record: 9072 (2nd)
Projected 40-man payroll: $203M
Key departures: Aroldis Chapman, Mitch Garver, Robbie Grossman, Austin Hedges, Travis Jankowski, Jordan Montgomery, Martín Pérez, Jake Odorizzi, Will Smith, Chris Stratton
Needs: Starting pitcher, reliever, designated hitter, 4th outfielder

Where the lineup stands

1 Marcus Semien 2B 6.3
2 Corey Seager (L) SS 6.1
3 Adolis García RF 4.8
4 Evan Carter (L) LF 1.3
5 Josh Jung 3B 2.5
6 Nathaniel Lowe (L) 1B 2.1
7 Jonah Heim (S) C 4.1
8 Leody Taveras (S) CF 2.3
9 Ezequiel Duran DH 0.9

Life is good for the Rangers after winning the World Series for the first time in franchise history. However, there are areas for general manager Chris Young to focus on as he puts together a roster that can defend its title. Garver assembled a terrific season at the plate, leaving a big gap at DH. The Rangers are never shy when it comes to spending money, so they can't be ruled out as a contender for Ohtani if they decide to make a serious run at signing the two-time MVP.

How the rotation looks

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1 Nathan Eovaldi R 2.5
2 Max Scherzer R 2.2
3 Jon Gray R 1.8
4 Dane Dunning R 2.1
5 Andrew Heaney L 1.3

The Rangers should get Jacob deGrom back at some point in 2024. Heaney exercised his player option, but this is still a group that could use another proven starter to bring things together. It will be interesting to see how much Scherzer has left in the tank following an inconsistent regular season and underwhelming postseason performance. He's failed to reach the 160-inning plateau in each of the last two seasons.

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