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American League’s balance of power has shifted from East to West

The Angels’ Albert Pujols his $240 millicontract have shifted balance power AL. | Getty Images

The Angels’ Albert Pujols and his $240 million contract have shifted the balance of power in the AL. | Getty Images

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Updated: May 2, 2012 8:16AM



There was a time not long ago that the American League made sense.

The power was in the East, where the Yankees and Red Sox would take turns flexing their muscles and opening up their checkbooks to try to buy a stranglehold on the rest of the league.

Sure, there were uninvited guests to the party — the 2002 Angels, the 2005 White Sox, the 2006 Tigers and the 2008 Rays — but it always seemed to be all about the Yankees and Red Sox.

No more. The AL is now all about surfboards and Stetsons, with the Angels and Rangers forcing all eyes to the West.

The Rangers are coming off back-to-back World Series appearances and added the most-hyped Japanese import since Ichiro in pitcher Yu Darvish.

And then there’s what Angels owner Arte Moreno is building in SoCal. Ten years, $240 million for Albert Pujols and five years, $77.5 million for C.J. Wilson.

Enough said.

When October rolls around, look for the Angels to be the last team standing. As for the Yankees and Red Sox? Time to play catch-up again.

PREDICTIONS

AL Comeback Player of the Year: Joe Mauer, Twins

AL Manager of the Year: Mike Scioscia, Angels

AL Rookie of the Year: Matt Moore, Rays

AL Cy Young Award winner: Justin Verlander, Tigers

AL MVP: Albert Pujols, Angels

AL division winners: Tigers, Yankees, Angels

AL wild-card teams: Red Sox, Rangers

Three blockbuster trades

Jake Peavy from the White Sox to the Rangers

Justin Morneau from the Twins to the Blue Jays

B.J. Upton from the Rays to the Brewers

NL Comeback Player of the Year: Josh Johnson, Marlins

NL Manager of the Year: Bruce Bochy, Giants

NL Rookie of the Year: Yonder Alonso, Padres

NL Cy Young Award winner: Cliff Lee, Phillies

NL MVP: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

NL division winners: Cardinals, Phillies, Giants

NL wild-card teams: Marlins, Diamondbacks

Three blockbuster trades

Matt Garza from the Cubs to the Yankees

David Wright from the Mets to the Dodgers

Carlos Quentin from the Padres to the Blue Jays

ALL-BIG-CONTRACT TEAM [by average annual salary]

C: Joe Mauer, Twins, $23M

1B: Ryan Howard, Phillies, $25M

2B: Dan Uggla, Braves, $12.4M

3B: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, $27.5M

SS: Derek Jeter, Yankees, $18.9M

OF: Ryan Braun, Brewers, $21M; Carl Crawford, Red Sox, $20.2M; Matt Kemp, Dodgers, $20M

DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox, $14.5M

P: CC Sabathia, Yankees, $24.4M; Cliff Lee, Phillies, $24M; Johan Santana, Mets, $22.9M; Tim Lincecum, Giants, $20.2M; Roy Halladay, Phillies, $20M

Closer: Mariano Rivera, Yankees, $15M

ALL-CHICAGO TEAM NO LONGER IN CHICAGO

C: Miguel Olivo, Mariners

1B: Carlos Pena, Rays

2B: Ryan Theriot, Giants

3B: Aramis Ramirez, Brewers

SS: Juan Uribe, Dodgers

OF: Nick Swisher, Yankees; Sam Fuld, Rays; Carlos Quentin, Padres

DH: Jim Thome, Phillies

SP: Brandon McCarthy, Athletics; Clayton Richard, Padres; Mark Buehrle, Marlins; Carlos Zambrano, Marlins; Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks

RP: Andrew Cashner, Padres; Sean Marshall, Reds

Closer: Sergio Santos, Blue Jays

Manager: Ozzie Guillen, Marlins

BIG NUMBERS

44: Age Omar Vizquel will play the 2012 season at.

13: Number of teams Octavio Dotel has played for in the last 13 seasons. No player in major-league history had done that before.

1.94: Cliff Lee’s ERA at home last season, compared with 3.03 on the road.



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