2019 Payroll Preview: AL West (Part 5 of 6)

So far in this series, we have looked at the East and Central Divisions of the AL and NL, and seen what could happen for those teams with the time remaining before Spring Training. Today we look at the AL West where the Astros look to make it three straight division titles, the Athletics try to bounce back after losing their rotation, the Angels are trying to prove all their money spent was well deserved, and the Mariners and Rangers enter a phase of “re-imagining” their rosters.

Houston Astros

Previous 3 Seasons: $135.2M
Current Payroll Committed for 2019: $99.7M
Projected Payroll for 2019: $175M
Arbitration Projections: Gerrit Cole ($13.1M), Roberto Osuna ($6.5M), Collin McHugh ($5.4M), Carlos Correa ($5.1M), Lance McCullers ($4.6M), Will Harris ($3.6M), Ryan Pressly ($3.1M), Brad Peacock ($2.9M), Jake Marisnick ($2.4M), Chris Devenski ($1.4M)

The Astros are looking to continue their AL West dominance from the last two seasons, but they have to be willing to spend some of that money they’ve been saving up while all their stars were still growing up. Now, all of those players are in arbitration, so they might be willing to spend some more money to make up ground on the Red Sox. If these arbitration projections are correct, their payroll should be in the neighborhood of $150M. They don’t have many roster spots they still need to fill, but they could still use an upgrade at DH.

Off Season Suggestions:
– Trade with St. Louis for Jose Martinez, send a bullpen piece and a middle-to-upper level prospect

Los Angeles Angels

Previous 3 Seasons: $171.4M
Current Payroll Commitments for 2019: $142.6M
Projected Payroll: $185M
Arbitration Projections: Tyler Skaggs ($3.6M), Andrew Heaney ($2.8M), JC Ramirez ($1.9M), Luis Garcia ($1.7M), Cam Bedrosian ($1.7M), Nick Tropeano ($1.6M), Hansel Robles ($1.4M), Tommy La Stella ($1.2M)

The Angels believe their time to compete for a World Series is finally here. They have bolstered their starting rotation and made moves to improve the supporting cast to the Mike Trout show. Justin Bour will certainly be a great veteran influence on the rest of the roster. In addition, without Shohei Ohtani serving in his full capacity as a two-way player, their pitching staff will suffer a bit, but the signing of Matt Harvey the imminent return of JC Ramirez look to fill this opening and bolster the rotation further.

Off Season Suggestions:
DJ LeMahieu, 4 years, $55M – LeMahieu is a remarkably solid defensive second baseman and can still swing a bat pretty well. In 2018, LeMahieu posted a .749 OPS along with 3.0 bWAR, certainly an improvement on David Fletcher, who is currently slated to start a second, but could be used to fill in on rest days for starters at 2B, 3B, and SS.

Oakland Athletics

Previous 3 Seasons: $78.9M
Current Payroll Commitments for 2019: $36.7M
Projected Payroll: $85M
Arbitration Projections: Khris Davis ($18.1M), Marcus Semien ($6.6M), Blake Treinen ($5.8M), Sean Manaea ($3.8M), Jurickson Profar ($3.4M), Mark Canha ($2.1M), Ryan Buchter ($1.3M)

The A’s (as with every season) are working on a tight budget (as with every season) and they’ll very likely find a way to make it work. I don’t expect them to be involved in the Free Agent market for the rest of the winter, but I do expect one or two trades to come from the organization.

Off Season Suggestions:
– Trade Khris Davis – I’ve had a suspicion for a while now that the A’s are going to send him elsewhere before they likely lose him to Free Agency a year from now. This move has no basis in rumors or really anything but looking at the tendency of the organization. Davis has a crazy high selling price right now after leading the league in homers in 2018, but perhaps the team pleases fans by bucking tradition and signing Davis long-term

Seattle Mariners

Previous 3 Seasons: $156.3M
Current Payroll Commitments for 2019: $140M
Projected Payroll: $155M
Arbitration Projections: Roenis Elias ($1M)

GM Jerry Dipoto has been very busy this winter. The Mariners roster seems to have turned over entirely since October. However, this team still looks pretty solid, and might actually be better than the team they finished 2018 with. Yes, the Mariners won 89 games last year, but they also had a -34 run differential. Dipoto saw a big warning sign with that and made the moves to compensate, including bringing in Japanese-star Yusei Kikuchi.

Off Season Suggestions:
Being that Jerry Dipoto is the GM of the Mariners, nothing is off the table. Anything written here could be changed dramatically within the next 24 hours thanks to Dipoto.

Texas Rangers

Previous 3 Seasons: $155.7M
Current Payroll Commitments for 2019: $103.8M
Projected Payroll: $120M
Arbitration Projections: Nomar Mazara ($3.7M), Delino DeShields Jr ($1.9M)

The Rangers are certainly taking a step back this year after trading off Jurickson Profar and having Adrian Beltre retire from his legendary career. This team’s veteran leadership is comprised of Elvis Andrus and Shin-Soo Choo. After those two, their lineup is about league average, but they also have Jeff Mathis slated to be their starting catcher – who, while a good player, has not demonstrated the ability behind the plate to be a full-time starter. That being said, they do have Isiah Kiner-Falefa who can serve as catcher for a large number of games as well.

Off Season Suggestions:
Freddy Galvis, 5 years, $55M – Yes, Galvis is a shortstop, but he can play 3rd base. He would be a more sure bet than Patrick Wisdom who spent 2018 in Triple-A Memphis for the Cardinals

Up Next:
NL West
Photo Credit:

Mick Callahan

Hi, I'm Mick Callahan. I'm a native of St. Louis, MO, and a lifelong Cardinals fan. Most of the time, I'm a software engineer, which has left me to be one of the resident Stat Nerds here at Diamond Digest. If you need an example, check out my aRBI+ article.

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