• Oakland Athletics -- Here's another team that just made out its checklist, then roared in and got things done: gladly took on Baltimore's salary dump (in a fascinating role reversal) in closer Jim Johnson, who figures to be the president of the O.co. Coliseum Fan Club. ... Traded for Padres setup whiz Luke Gregerson to further deepen one of this sport's best bullpens. ... Overpaid Kazmir to balance out this rotation. ... Kept on adding depth by reeling in Craig Gentry, Nick Punto and Drew Pomeranz.
"Man, that's a good team," one NL exec said. "They were good before, and they got better, with all they've done to solidify their team. Right now, they're clearly the favorites in the AL West."
• Chicago White Sox -- They needed to transform not just their roster, but their whole aura. And general manager Rick Hahn is off to a tremendous start, with the signing of first-base/DH masher Jose Abreu and the deal this week for hyperactive on-base machine Adam Eaton.
"I've always been an Adam Eaton fan," one scout said. "I love his style of play. I like the energy he gives the White Sox. And they needed that."
• Los Angeles Angels -- Here's the question: What was the ERA of all Angels starters not named Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson last season? The answer: A terrifying 4.90. The solution: That fascinating three-team deal this week that brought in Hector Santiago from the White Sox and Tyler Skaggs from the Diamondbacks -- and also freed up money for the signing of Matt Garza or someone like him.
Granted, not everyone is confident that Skaggs will match the hype. But as one exec said: "It's still a great trade. They got 150 percent of the value on dealing a guy like [ Mark] Trumbo. And now their rotation is so much better than it was." Is it too simple to say that the Angels' 2014 season now comes down to whether they get their $373 million's worth from Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton?
• New York Yankees -- In any other offseason, it would be tough to find much quarrel with a team that just added Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury to the neighborhood, even if it came at a cost of $283 million Steinbrenner family bucks. But by waving adios to Robinson Cano, even though the Yankees did the right thing by walking away from an ugly contract, "they lost their best player, by far," one exec said. "So it's definitely a possibility this [winter] hasn't been as big a positive as you'd think, given the amount they've spent."
Oh, and one more thing: "At some point, they've got to address their pitching," an American League exec said. "Their rotation is just not real good right now. I'd be shocked, when [Masahiro] Tanaka gets out there, if the Yankees aren't all over him."