OFFSEASON WINNERS & LOSERS
1. NEW YORK YANKEES
The Bronx Bombers needed an ace and what did they do? They signed the top SP on the market (and in fact in the game) Gerrit Cole, despite it likely taking them over the highest luxury tax barrier. This is the type of move that more teams should be willing to make. They also kept the best CP in the game Aroldis Chapman and OF Brett Gardner, while letting unneeded DH Edwin Encarnacion leave. They now appear to be the favorites to win the World Series this upcoming season.
2. BOSTON RED SOX
They stayed quiet for most of the offseason but then pulled off a blockbuster. It made sense to trade RF Mookie Betts, who is a free agent after the season and who wasn’t interested in signing an extension despite being offered multiple fair contracts. Losing Betts is a blow however, and Alex Verdugo isn’t going to immediately replace his performance. The rotation took a hit as well. What could have been improved? Another good bullpen arm and more than Martin Perez would’ve been nice for the rotation, so the pitching is definitely questionable going into 2020. I do think however that adding significant contracts wasn’t wise at this point.
3. TAMPA BAY RAYS
2. ATLANTA BRAVES
They needed bullpen help and so re-signed Chris Martin and Darren O‘Day and signed Will Smith. They also signed SP Cole Hamels to replace SP Dallas Keuchel. They could use another starter to replace Julio Teheran, but have a lot of good pitching prospects worth giving a shot to. They also improved at catcher by replacing the retired Brian McCann with Travis D‘Arnaud.
3. TEXAS RANGERS
They needed to improve their rotation and they did just that by acquiring Corey Kluber, Jordan Lyles and Kyle Gibson. They look like they can compete with Oakland for second place in the division at this point.
4. CHICAGO WHITE SOX
It appears that they were serious about improving the team. They needed rotation help and signed Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez, while letting Ivan Nova walk in free agency. They upgraded at catcher by signing the top one on the market in Yasmani Grandal. They needed to improve at RF and DH and so they acquired Nomar Mazara and Edwin Encarnacion. They also extended CF Luis Robert in a potentially bargain of a deal. They may still not look like a playoff team, but they’re certainly a lot closer now, and if anything goes wrong for Minnesota and Cleveland, the division should be theirs.
1. LOS ANGELES ANGELS
How does a team that has the best position player in the game continue to fail to improve the team? They badly needed starting pitching help and missed out on ALL top starting pitchers on the free agent market, despite having the money to sign any one of them! They ultimately acquired two bottom of the rotation starters in Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran. This, while some of their division rivals in actually improved their rotations.
They did give out a big contract this year, to 3B Anthony Rendon. Don’t be fooled by his 6.3 bWAR or sudden hype. This is going to be easily the worst contract given out this offseason. Rendon has never hit 30 home runs in a season until this season, a season that just happened to be his contract year and in which MLB uses a juiced ball that they might not use again. Don’t believe me that he’ll go back to being his old self in that department? His exit velocity actually declined from 90.6 in 2018 (24 HR) to 90.4 in 2019. His HR/FB% has also risen from his average 11.4% to 15.9% in 2019. His Steamer projections aren’t exactly impressive either: .284/.374/.506 with 28 HR and 95 RBI. That makes him a good player, but nowhere near worth $200 million. He’s not even an elite defender anymore, having a dWAR of -0.4 in 2018 and 0.3 in 2019.
Did I mention that they didn’t improve their shaky bullpen either? They finished in 20’th place with a 4.64 ERA. The only good news was them signing Jason Castro to be their new catcher.
It was a horrible offseason by a team that likely will miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season instead of acquiring pitching that they hadn’t needed.
2. MINNESOTA TWINS
Similar to the Los Angeles Angels above, Minnesota needed starting pitching help and had the money to do this. However, they only kept Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda and then added Rich Hill and Homer Bailey. Wait what?! After winning over a 100 games and looking as if they were ready to take the next step forward, they decided not to improve the one area that they needed help in the most. An injury-prone 40 year old who will miss half of next season due to injury and who had a 4.10 FIP in 2019, and a bottom of the rotation starter are not what they needed. The fact that they likely overachieved in 2019 isn’t helping matters. They re-signed RP Sergio Romo and let 1B C.J. Cron and IF Jonathan Schoop walk, but their offseason only accomplished them handing over the division back to Cleveland, who have to be seen as the favorites at this point. They put the finishing touches on a trrrible offseason in January, when instead of spending money on badly needed starting pitching, they spent almost $100 million not on 3B Josh Donaldson, a 34 year old in decline who was just injured for 2 years prior to his contract year.
3. CHICAGO CUBS
After missing the playoffs and getting worse each season since 2017, they did nothing. Literally.