While it wasn't the most competitive division in baseball in 2019, the AL West had two representatives in the postseason this year: The Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics. Both teams had excellent seasons and Houston's will continue tonight in Game 5 of the 2019 World Series. No matter how talented a team may be, however, there's always room for improvement. If any of the division's contenders want to be competing for a championship in 2020, several key moves will need to be made in free agency.
While the season hasn't concluded just yet, it never hurts to take a prospective look ahead into the offseason. With that in mind, here are some key moves that each AL West contender should make this offseason.
3. Los Angeles Angels: Sign Stephen Strasburg
The Los Angeles Angels' rotation was absolutely dreadful in 2019, finishing the year with a 5.64 collective ERA (No. 29 in MLB). Clearly, a frontline starter is a huge need heading into the offseason and while he won't bring about a complete fix, signing Stephen Strasburg would be a massive step in the right direction for the Halos' rotation. The impending free-agent ace is coming off a great season in 2019, going 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 251 strikeouts (second most in NL) in 209 innings pitched. A San Diego native, Strasburg could choose to return close to his hometown. If the Angels decide to open up their checkbook as they have in the past, signing Strasburg would provide their rotation with the bonafide ace its been searching for.
2. Oakland Athletics: Sign Wade Miley
The Oakland Athletics' starting rotation was solid in 2019 (4.02 ERA, No. 8 in MLB), but if Tanner Roark, Homer Bailey and Brett Anderson decide to leave in free agency, the club could be in need of up to three starters. There will be several big-name, frontline starters available this offseason, but Oakland has never been a big spender in free agency. However, there's one solid free-agent pitcher that may fit their price range: Wade Miley. Miley isn't an ace by any stretch, but he's been an excellent mid-rotation starter over the past two seasons, sporting a 19-8 record with a 3.52 ERA since 2018.
1. Houston Astros: Re-Sign Gerrit Cole
Who else would you expect, right? Gerrit Cole has been absolutely sensational for the Houston Astros this year and has been a huge reason (3-1, 1.82 ERA this postseason) why the team finds themselves in their second World Series in the last three years. Signing Cole will undoubtedly be expensive for the Astros and finding the financial wiggle room to bring him back may be tough, as several of their players are expected to see a substantial raise through arbitration. However, Houston knows better than most teams that Cole is the kind of pitcher worth pursuing no matter the cost. If they can get creative enough - whether it's through trades or contract structure this offseason, re-signing Cole would keep the Astros' stellar rotation intact at the top.
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Mike Esposito is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Esposito also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username espo6891. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.