Opening Day 2014: Previewing The American League West

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The Oakland Athletics come into Opening Day 2014 looking to embark on the road toward their first three-peat as division champions since the halcyon days of 1988-90.

But they’ll have a lot of competition again as the American League West loaded up in the offseason. The Los Angeles Angels made little moves this time around, but might have struck a bargain by getting former World Series MVP David Freese to play third base.

The Seattle Mariners were the big splashers in the free agency pool, landing Robinson Cano for $240 million as well as bringing in Corey Hart, a former 30-homer guy in Milwaukee, and closer Fernando Rodney.

The Texas Rangers are looking to survive the early part of the season, as they left Arizona with their pitching staff so mangled by injuries that Tanner Scheppers will make his first major-league start … like, today, Opening Day, against the Phillies.

And then there are the Houston Astros, who have reasons for hope … so long as “hope” translates to “somehow by the grace of all that is holy, we won’t lose 100 games for the fourth consecutive year.” At least they still won’t be in danger of breaking any records—the Philadelphia Phillies lost at least 100 games for five consecutive seasons, 1938-42.

With that, here’s a quick look at the AL West, in inverse order of predicted finish: