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The American League West could look very different next season. How hard does a 98-win team work to confront change?

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports


While you were away...more cracks appeared in the foundation of the Angels' 98-win AL West title grip. Billy Beane sent thunderous shockwaves through a media-insider community that was far too busy trying to prove grandma right about overdosing on turkey. More interested in dropping into a tryptophan-induced coma to smoke out a deal that significant in the midst of absolutely nothing else going on, the news caught everyone off guard, even the news folk.

Only now is it becoming apparent that Beane is going to be quite busy this offseason. He has needs and he is selling high and loading up on trading assets while adding typical units of seemingly marginal value to sustain his roster, a roster that surely will be competitive despite all reasonable expectations.

Remember, this was a team that won 88 games and made the play-in game to the 2014 post-season (yeah, I'm not going to call the Wild Card Game a part of the playoffs until MLB retroactively re-brands every 163rd game season, including our own). At one time they were up on the rest of the Division by 6 whole games. And Beane is putting it all back into his blender. Betting against Oakland has long been a bad, bad idea.


In the Heavens of Anaheim: Remember how fun it was to watch Tony Campana blaze around the basepaths for us in critical run-scoring situations? Yeah, well, too bad he didn't show much of anything else. He is with the White Sox know that thing about how cerebral is C.J. Wilson, and how he over-thinks his role? Well, it turns out he is not so good at triginometry.  Just using finger-in-the-wind lookups and mental figgerin', to get an extra 90 seconds of sun in your day would require about a mile and a half of altitude. Roughly 528 times the distance Wilson cites. Yeah. Reality is a very big place. (OT: My astro son gave me a cool factoid the other day. You could place every other planet in our solar system between Earth and the Moon, and still have a little bit of space left over.)............If Jerry Dipoto is going to be thinking about trading away Howie Kendrick or David Freese, our next clue might be whether or not he tenders an offer to Gordon Beckham...........Make yourself a special holiday card by getting your picture taken on the field at Angels Stadium today...........Here, spend some time listening to Alden Gonzalez chat about, well, nothing much.

Around Baseball: So, to repeat, Oakland blew up the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend with a big trade with Toronto. Pity, for the moment, the suddenly increasing difficulties confronting the Yankees. Uh, nah..............Thus, things are in flux throughout the AL West and all teams have lots left to do...........For instance, Oakland may now be on the threshold of scoring another cache of players by possibly dealing Samardzija (scroll down to #7 in the Updates section, or read this by Jon Heyman)...........Four places left for Torii Hunter to land, and 3 of them could haunt us...........I love it when an asshat MSM dinosaur gets schooled, and here is one of those moments. Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe calls for the Baseball Hall of Fame to add a disclaimer plaque concerning PEDs era players, and he would vote for all of them happily. He made that statement without knowing that the HoF had already done that very thing, as pointed out by Hardball Talk. So no he is kinda on the hook, yes?..........Some lessons are never learned. Here we are watching the FA market drool over David Robertsonwith somebody about to grant him a record deal for relievers. Meanwhile, over in Philadelphia, the eternal nutjob that is the GM of the Phillies, Ruben Amaro, can't seem to find a way to get his own overpaid reliever off his hands...........The Blue Jays are loading up to be so strong, that they appear to be willing to use Alberto Callaspo as their every day second baseman.........The Yankees could be going big on Max Scherzer..........