AL's Top Storylines

Posted: April 01, 2013

1. The Los Angeles Angels already had an unbelievable lineup, which included rising star Mike Trout, from Millville, N.J., and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. Now, they have a lineup for the ages with the addition of Josh Hamilton, the prized possession of the offseason. After a disappointing 2012 that included missing a playoff spot, you can bet the Angels are ready to go big.

2. No matter what happens, the New York Yankees will always be the center of attention in baseball. However, this season will be compelling in the Bronx, as it seems like the Yankees are just getting older and older. The recent trade for Angels outfielder Vernon Wells doesn't help in that regard, nor does the offseason re-signings of future Hall of Famers Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera.

3. Of course the Red Sox have to be mentioned, right? After a dismal 69-93 record last season, the Red Sox are seemingly in the same boat as their rivals in New York. The Red Sox had a mostly quiet offseason, but they did add some depth to the starting rotation by signing Ryan Dempster and acquired bullpen help with the addition of Joel Hanrahan from Pittsburgh. The Hanrahan trade could be a big one for Boston as he had 36 saves for the Pirates in 2012 with an ERA of 2.72.

4. Up in the great, white north is a team that was very active in the offseason. The Toronto Blue Jays acquired Jose Reyes, the player every Phillies fan loves to hate. Reyes was part of the blockbuster deal that also included starting pitchers Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and infielder Emilio Bonifacio. The Blue Jays already made a splash with the trade that got them reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. The Jays now have a very potent rotation - that already included the very talented Brandon Morrow. Don't forget about the signing of Melky Cabrera, who hit .346 with San Francisco last season.

5. It was a very busy offseason for the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe went through transformation as far as their lineup is concerned. Their biggest acquisition was former Phillie and Brave Michael Bourn. But the signings of third baseman Mark Reynolds and former Yankee Nick Swisher, along with the acquisition of rightfielder Drew Stubbs in the Shin-Soo Choo trade, make the Indians a team to watch in 2013.

6. Baseball is relevant again in Baltimore, where the Orioles have brought back postseason excitement for the first time since 1997. After being one win away from the ALCS, the Orioles will try to duplicate the success of last year, when they finished with a 93-69 record and a wild-card berth. Losing Mark Reynolds and his 69 RBI could pose a small problem, but as the Orioles showed, they have a tons of fight. Expect a battle for the AL East crown in 2013.

7. It seemed like it was meant to be for Detroit last season, but then the San Francisco Giants showed up and swept the Tigers out of the World Series. Now, the Tigers are ready to defend their titles after playing in their second World Series in the past seven seasons. You cannot overlook the power in Tigers' lineup, with All-Star Prince Fielder and reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera was the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski did it for Boston in 1967. That's 45 years, folks. Quite impressive.

8. The Oakland Athletics grabbed the hearts of fans everywhere last season, winning their first AL West division title since 2006, which also was the franchise's last playoff appearance. The 2013 version will look to repeat that success, but it certainly won't be easy, with division rival Los Angeles making major moves in the offseason. It will be fun to watch the battle out West.

9. Down south, the Texas Rangers will be testing the waters. It was a difficult offseason, with fan favorite Michael Young leaving for the Phillies and slugger Josh Hamilton heading to division rival Los Angeles via free agency. Now, the Rangers, coming off a wild-card loss, will attempt to make a run in a strong division against the Athletics and Angels. Good luck, Texas.

10. The Tampa Bay Rays' offseason after missing the playoffs was one of change, with B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena leaving via free agency. The biggest move was a trade that sent starting pitcher James Shields to Kansas City for prospects. But the Royals gave up a prospect in Wil Myers, who many expect to be a future star. Myers hit .314 with 37 home runs last season in the minors in Kansas City. Look for him to be called up at some point this season.

On the Move

Josh Hamilton - New team: Angels / Old team: Rangers

Ryan Madson - New team: Angels / Old team: Reds

Sean Burnett - New team: Angels / Old team: Nationals

Nick Swisher - New team: Indians / Old team: Yankees

Michael Bourn - New team: Indians / Old team: Braves

Mark Reynolds - New team: Indians / Old team: Orioles

Brett Myers - New team: Indians / Old team: White Sox

Daisuke Matsuzaka - New team: Indians / Old team: Red Sox

Ryan Dempster - New team: Red Sox / Old team: Rangers

James Shields - New team: Royals / Old team: Rays

Jose Reyes - New team: Blue Jays / Old team: Marlins

Josh Johnson - New team: Blue Jays / Old team: Marlins

Mark Buehrle - New team: Blue Jays / Old team: Marlins

Melky Cabrera - New team: Blue Jays / Old team: Giants

Joel Hanrahan - New team: Red Sox / Old team: Pirates

A.J. Pierzynski - New team: Rangers / Old team: White Sox

Lance Berkman - New team: Rangers / Old team: Cardinals

Kendrys Morales - New team: Mariners / Old team: Angels

James Loney - New team: Rays / Old team: Red Sox

Kevin Youkilis - New team: Yankees / Old team: White Sox

Vernon Well - New team: Yankees / Old team: Angels

Torii Hunter - New team: Tigers / Old team: Angels

- Matthew Elwell

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