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The Texas Rangers are the two-time defending AL Champions, but with all the commotion this offseason, you’d be forgiven if that slipped your mind. Not only did the Rangers avoid any big acquisitions this winter, but their big splash was an international mystery, who’s potential is mired by the failures before him.
Yu Darvish is probably the best talent to come out of Asia in any year, but the flops by Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Irabu (among others) leaves a lot of gamblers weary of his upside this year.
Texas’ three big sluggers – Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler – all have injury concerns that are only getting worse with age and aren’t considered the favorites to win a third title.
That honor, again, goes to the New York Yankees. General Manager Brian Cashman address the team’s big need by acquiring sophomore Michael Pineda in a trade for Jesus Montero a month ago, and talked Andy Pettitte into retirement. Although Pettitte won’t be ready until May, the starting staff looks a lot sturdier than last year’s group that surrendered 605 runs. New York is a 7/2 favorite to win the AL, according to Bovada.
Their biggest competition will likely come from the Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers. Detroit made it to the ALCS last year before falling to the Rangers and only improved with the addition of Prince Fielder. At 4/1, are probably the only team listed high on the list that has a relatively easy road to the playoffs again. The Cleveland Indians are better, but their 28/1 odds to win the pennant are actually second-best in the division. The Chicago White Sox (35/1) Minnesota Twins (40/1) and Kansas City Royals (40/1) don’t figure to content.
As for the Angels, as much as they’ve done to improve, the AL West is still an open field. Signing Albert Pujols to a 10-year deal means they will be in the conversation for a long time. But his signing isn’t about whether he can stay true to his god-like status, but how much impact it will have on the division. A fearsome rotation with C.J. Wilson, Jered Weaver and Dan Haren makes them a 4/1 favorite to win the pennant, but the Rangers might not even let them get that far.
AL Pennant Odds