- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN Insider
It's hard to say when the first real sign of escalation in the American League West appeared. Maybe it was the Mariners' trade for Cliff Lee in December 2009, a swift and aggressive deal made before any of the AL East powers knew that Lee was actually available. Or maybe it was the Rangers' deal for Lee the next summer, when Texas outmaneuvered the Yankees to get a left-hander who propelled them to the World Series for the first time.
Or perhaps it was the Angels' signing of Albert Pujols at the winter meetings in 2011, the first ripple felt in baseball from the new wave of lucrative local television deals that were being signed by some clubs.
Regardless of how it started, what we have continued to see is something of a shift in the American League, like weight being moved from one side of the scale to the other.
5dJeff Banister, Special to ESPN.com
6dBrayan Pena, Special to ESPN.com
9dMatt Buschmann, Special to ESPN.com
10dA.J. Ellis, Special for ESPN.com
11dRob Manfred, Special to ESPN.com
11dSean Doolittle, Special to ESPN.com