MLB Preview 2012: Predicting the American League West Divsion

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MLB Preview 2012: Predicting the American League West Divsion
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The center of the baseball universe shifted over to the American League West in the offseason for several reasons. The West will be preparing to become a five-team division with the addition of the Houston Astros in 2013, but of course that wasn't the biggest story.

Albert Pujols joined the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last December when he signed a 10-year, $254 million contract. Whether Pujols will maintain his talent level past 2012 isn't what we're talking about here, but rather the impact he'll have on the division.

The Texas Rangers have won the AL West the last two seasons en route to losing back-to-back World Series, and the Angels felt they needed to do something.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics are trying to rebuild so that someday they can be the two teams that I'm talking about in the beginning of this preview.

In other words, the AL West has a clear divide between talent, but with just four teams and the addition of the second AL Wild Card berth, there could be a surprise in what might be a very entertaining division.

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