How Mariners, A's can turn it around
Here are the steps both teams need to take to catch the Angels and Rangers
Perhaps the biggest story in baseball this winter is the arms race going on in the AL West. With the Los Angeles Angels signing Albert Pujols to the second-richest contract in baseball history and poaching C.J. Wilson, and the Texas Rangers responding by placing the winning bid on Japanese superstar Yu Darvish, the battle for AL West supremacy is one of the big storylines to watch in 2012.
But while there's cause for both Angels and Ranger fans to look forward to an exciting pennant race, the news isn't so good for fans of the other two teams in the division, the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners.
Finishing a combined 51 games behind the division-winning Rangers in 2011 made the season a massive disappointment for both Oakland and Seattle. And while an immediate reversal of fortune isn't likely to take place for either franchise, there are ways in which both teams can position themselves to be successful in the not-so-distant future.
To read more about how the Mariners and A's can compete with the Rangers and Angles in future seasons, become an ESPN Insider.
Offseason Buyer's Guide
RankingsNov. 3: Law: Top 50 free agents | Tracker
Nov. 4: Bowden: Projected value rankings
ReactionJan. 25: Bowden: How Detroit landed Prince
Jan. 24: Law: Fielder helps now, not later
Jan. 14: Bowden: Grading Yankees-M's deal
Jan. 13: Law: Pineda-Montero deal a win-win
Jan. 11: Law: Madson a steal for Reds
Jan. 6: Law: Cubs win Cashner-Rizzo deal
Dec. 31: Law: Quentin a mediocre fit in S.D
Buyer's GuideNov. 12: Buyers Guide: Catchers
Nov. 11: Buyers Guide: Relief Pitchers
Nov. 10: Buyers Guide: Starting Pitchers
Nov. 9: Buyers Guide: Third basemen
Nov. 8: Buyers Guide: Outfielders
Nov. 7: Buyers Guide: Middle infielders
Nov. 4: Buyers Guide: First basemen/DH
FeaturesFeb. 9: Perry: A case for the Nats
Feb. 7: Szymborski: Ellsbury to fall off
Feb. 6: Cameron: The cost of moving to third
Feb. 3: Meyers: Poor drafts doom Cubs, Mets
Feb. 2: Bowden: How to rebuild the Orioles
Feb. 1: Goldstein: How good is Cespedes?
Jan. 30: Szymborski: Projecting Angels, Tigers
History• Law: 2010 top 50 rankings
• Law: 2009 top 50 rankings
• Law: 2008 top 50 rankings
• Law: 2007 top 50 rankings
• Law: 2006 top 40 rankings