The Texas Rangers have won back-to-back American League championships, which set the bar in the Amerian League West high, and now the Los Angeles Angels have challenged it - reportedly signing first baseman Albert Pujols.
Reports from Dallas and the winter meetings are that Pujols was landed with a 10-year offer that may be as high as $260 million.
That certainly makes life more difficult for the Seattle Mariners and general manager Jack Zduriencik, a fourth-place team that - on paper - seems to have lost ground to the division leaders this off-season. Their only move at the winter meetings thus far: selecting left-handed reliever Lucas Luetge in the Rule 5 draft.
And Luetge hasn't pitched above Class AA in the Milwaukee system.
The Angels also have an offer out for free agent lefty C.J. Wilson. The AL West has gotten considerably tougher this morning, adding pressure to the Seattle front office. How they respond may go a long way toward determining whether contention is a pipe dream or a viable possibility.
At the moment, the Mariners and Oakland Athletics have the bottom of their divisiion to themselves.