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How the AL West was won

On Monday, the first day of baseball’s winter meetings, A’s GM Billy Beane told reporters that he felt “like the hottest prom date here” because of all the teams calling him wanting to trade for his best players.

Sorry, Billy. The real prom date was Albert Pujols. Everybody might want what you have, but the high rollers wanted to pair up with Pujols, the tall, attractive prize in the sexy red outfit.

This morning, Pujols found someone to dance with. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim inked the slugger to a what is believed to be a 10-year deal worth $250 million.

And the Angels are not be done spending. It looks like they have also signed starting pitcher C.J. Wilson away from the Texas Rangers.

Earlier in the offseason, the Rangers signed closer Joe Nathan, allowing them to move Neftali Feliz into the rotation. Feliz was a starter in the minor leagues before making his Major League debut.

None of this is good news for the A’s, who are moving in the other direction. Uncertainty on a new stadium has caused the A’s to essentially put a sign on their door saying “No Money – Go Away.” They haven’t had reported discussions with notable free agents and they likely won’t be able to hold on to their own free agents, like Coco Crisp and Josh Willingham.

On top of that, Beane has started shopping ace Gio Gonzalez and closer Andrew Bailey, both All-Stars and years away from free agency. Beane shouldn’t even be considering trading either of them. But he is. It’s the life of the A’s general manager. I’d love to hear Beane’s explanation if he trades two players making the league minimum while the Angels just handed out over $300 million in two deals.

The A’s need to resolve their stadium situation so that they can start competing again. Just look at the Miami Marlins. They were the A’s of the National League, among the lowest spenders for a number of years, trading away elite talent before they could leave via free agency.

But the Marlins open a new stadium next season and expect a tidal wave of revenue. They’ve already stocked up on high-priced talent, signing Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle, three of this offseason’s top free agents.

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