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Rangers Seen as Favorite in Tightly Packed West?

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    Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers throws against the New York Yankees in the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 28, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    The American League West is going to be highly entertaining in 2016, with a case to be made for really every team — even Oakland — to win the division.

    That seems to be a pretty widely held opinion, and ESPN's David Schoenfield also feels that way.

    The senior ESPN baseball writer listed the Rangers and Astros as co-favorites, and he laid out a pretty specific plan for the Rangers to be able to repeat after their surprising run to the crown last season, given all their significant injuries and awful start to the year.

    He pointed to a rotation that will have a full season of Cole Hamels, the return of Yu Darvish and a healthier version of Derek Holland with Martin Perez being another full year removed from Tommy John surgery. But, with that said, he had concerns about an offense led by a bunch of lefties and a bunch of aging vets, notably a 37-year-old Adrian Beltre.

    He said the saving grace will be a rotation that has to be better coupled with maybe one of the deeper bullpens in all of baseball. If everything goes according to plan, the Rangers should be right there at the end.