The members of the AL West have already made a fair amount of history this off-season what with the Angels signing Albert Pujols to one of the largest contracts ever, the Rangers bidding the highest posting amount ever for a Japanese player and the A’s making unprecedented efforts to antagonize their fan base by selling off all of their useful players. But once the season starts, all the AL West teams have a chance to make even more history thanks to the ever-widening talent gap in the division.
With the A’s hosting an everything-must-go fire sale after losing 88 games last season, it looks like it will take a minor miracle for them to avoid losing 100+ games in 2012. The Seattle Mariners, who lost 95 games in 2011, could find themselves in a similar boat seeing how the only moves they have made this off-season are adding John Jaso, George Sherrill and hoping that Ichiro starts aging in reverse. If both clubs were to reach the century mark in losses this season, it would only be the second time since MLB went to the six-division Wild Card format that two teams in the same division both lost 100 or more games, the other being the Tigers and Royals back in 2002. Of course, Oakland and Seattle would be besting that feat since their degree of difficulty is upped by virtue of them playing in a division with just four teams rather than five. And this is just for the 2012 season, imagine the kind of history that could be made once the moribund Astros join the division in 2013.
On the flip side, the other half of the AL West can make history in a much more desirable way. After adding Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, many have the LA Angels pegged as a potential juggernaut, the kind of team that not only could but probably should win 100 games in 2012. Of course, the Halos will have to go through the two-time defending AL pennant winning Texas Rangers first. This is the same Texas team that just won 96 teams and could be poised to get even better with the additions of Yu Darvish and Joe Nathan plus the move of Neftali Feliz to the rotation, oh, and they might be in the running to add Prince Fielder too. Surely they have a pretty good shot at wining triple-digit games themselves, no? If Texas reached that milestone along with Los Angeles of Anaheim, it too would only be the second-time in the Wild Card era that two teams from the same division have won 100 or more games each. The only other pair of teams to do it? The 2001 Mariners and Athletics.
Imagine if the 2012 AL West boasted both two 100-game winners and two 100-game losers. Now, that’s a sizeable chasm in one division. When those 99%-ers say there is no middle class anymore, they really aren’t kidding, are they?