Yu Darvish sighting in Texas

With the Angels and Rangers suddenly neck-and-neck, at least on paper, the future of the AL West could be decided by the next moves Texas makes.

The Angels are still on the lookout for bullpen help, but the bulk of their off-season activity was wrapped up before Christmas. As ESPNDallas colleague Richard Durrett reports here, it appears the Rangers are inching closer to tipping the balance in their favor once again. Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish is in Arlington visiting the Rangers' facilities, which might suggest he's closer to signing a contract.

Texas posted the highest bid with Darvish's Japanese team to secure exclusive negotiating rights, but must get a deal in place by Jan. 18.

If Darvish signs and transitions to U.S. baseball well, the Rangers' rotation won't be much worse than the Angels and they figure to score more runs and play comparable, if not better, defense. Plus, there are still six weeks left to conduct off-season business before spring training.