American League’s balance of power has shifted from East to West
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org March 30, 2012 11:48PM
The Angels’ Albert Pujols and his $240 million contract have shifted the balance of power in the AL. | Getty Images
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.
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.
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
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.