Opening Day for Major League Baseball, set for April 7, is now just over two weeks away. The offseason, at one point interrupted by a 99-day owner-imposed lockout, is coming to an end. This is, then, the opportune time to focus on what really matters in life and sport: passing judgment on every team's offseason.
Below, you'll find grades and analysis evaluating what each team did (and didn't do) this winter. This is, of course, a subjective exercise that is likely to render some disagreement. There's room for differing opinions on these matters.
Now, with that out of the way, let's get to the gasbaggery.
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During the lockout, we gave the Orioles a "D" grade on the grounds that they had signed Jordan Lyles and Rougned Odor in what amounted to a spending spree under Mike Elias. The Orioles have since added just one other player on a big-league deal, in catcher Robinson Chirinos. So much for Mike Elias abandoning his nihilism to give the Orioles faithful a product worth watching. The upside here is that even Elias can only manipulate Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez's service time for so long. Grade: F
The Red Sox saved their splashiest move, signing Trevor Story to play second base, until it represented their last. Story's arm strength has deteriorated in the last couple of years, and he'll have to prove that he can hit outside of Coors Field, but we think Boston made a reasonable bet on him becoming a top second baseman.
Elsewhere, the Red Sox took the portfolio approach to restocking their rotation, inking James Paxton, Rich Hill, and Michael Wacha -- all risky, be it because of their age, their injury history, or their performance track record.
It wasn't the sexiest offseason ever, but there's enough to like, in the Story deal and elsewhere, to give the Red Sox the highest grade. GRADE: A
The Yankees' offseason was fine. Josh Donaldson will mash if he stays healthy (no given); Isiah Kiner-Falefa is an outstanding defender; and Anthony Rizzo's ball-tracking data suggests he might have one more big season left in him. Still, it's disappointing to see franchises like the Twins, the Rockies, and the Rangers throwing around coin at top free agents while the Yankees settle for downmarket alternatives. Function over form often goes a long way, but we miss the old Yankees and we suspect so do their fans. GRADE: B
The Rays' offseason started hot by extending Wander Franco and signing Corey Kluber and Brooks Raley to cheap deals. Tampa Bay didn't do much after the lockout ended, not even trading Kevin Kiermaier, Austin Meadows, or Tyler Glasnow, as expected. The Rays also whiffed on their every pursuit of a big bat, including Freddie Freeman and Seiya Suzuki. We'll give them an A anyway, because it's hard to feel too bad with the Franco extension (and the Kluber and Raley signings) in hand, but we do wonder if in six months' time they'll be kicking themselves over wasted opportunities. GRADE: A
The Blue Jays' offseason consisted of four notable moves: signing Kevin Gausmann and Yusei Kikuchi to beef up the rotation; trading for Matt Chapman to serve as their new third baseman; and adding Yimi García for bullpen depth purposes. There's certainly risk in Chapman's game, and it's to be seen if they can unlock a higher level of performance with Kikuchi. That said, it was a good winter overall, and we expect the Blue Jays to be highly competitive within the American League East. GRADE: A
The White Sox's offseason was geared around their bullpen, as they added Kendall Graveman, Joe Kelly, and Vince Velasquez to their bunch. They also exercised Craig Kimbrel's option, ostensibly with an eye on trading him. That deal has yet to materialize, but we're not going to ding them too much for an apparent misstep. Their only moves offensively were the retention of Leury García and the addition of Josh Harrison. We would've liked to have seen them add another outfielder, but that's a complaint that can be addressed at the deadline if need be. GRADE: B
You almost have to admire Cleveland's ownership and how they're dedicated to wasting employing José Ramírez and Shane Bieber at trifling salaries. The Guardians had signed one free agent to a big-league deal as of this writing, and that was backup catcher Luke Maile. Brutal and unacceptable. GRADE: F
We like what the Tigers did this winter, adding two new starting position players (shortstop Javier Báez and catcher Tucker Barnhart) and two new rotation pieces (Eduardo Rodriguez and Michael Pineda) to bolster their run-prevention unit. The Tigers should add Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene to their lineup early in the season, depending on whether they manipulate their service time first. PECOTA has the Tigers projected to finish last in the AL Central, so it's possible we're being too kind when we give the Tigers a B. GRADE: B
Dayton Moore saved his offseason work for late in the winter, inking Zack Greinke and trading for Amir Garrett this past week. We like both additions, though they alone won't lift the Royals into a competitive state. At least the future is on its way, with Bobby Witt Jr., Nick Pratto, and MJ Melendez certain to arrive this spring. GRADE: C
Even if you aren't sweet on Gary Sánchez or Dylan Bundy, you have to admit the Twins had a nifty winter. They added the top free agent in the class, in Carlos Correa, and a solid third baseman in Gio Urshela, giving them one of the better defensive left side of the infields in the majors. They also obtained Sonny Gray from the Reds and plucked the typically useful Joe Smith from the bargain bin. They did all of that -- and also inked Byron Buxton to an extension -- without compromising their future. We'd like to see the Twins make one more addition to their rotation between now and Opening Day, but we feel obligated to give them an A. GRADE: A
The Astros started the winter off by re-signing Justin Verlander. They did not re-up Carlos Correa, nor did they pursue any of the other top free-agent shortstop options. Instead, the Astros signed role player Niko Goodrum and reliever Héctor Neris… and that was that. We'll give them a passing grade because of the Verlander deal, but it feels like the Astros left some meat on the bone this winter. GRADE: C
The Angels were another AL West team who passed on the shortstop market this offseason. They seem content to give David Fletcher a look there, with free-agent signing Matt Duffy backfilling the opening at second base and trade acquisition Tyler Wade serving as their backup. Perry Minasian instead spent his resources addressing his pitching staff, as the Angels are wont to do. Whether or not Noah Syndergaard and Michael Lorenzen can steady the rotation is anyone's guess. We're more certain about their bullpen situation: Raisel Iglesias re-signed with L.A. and was joined by Ryan Tepera, Aaron Loup, and Archie Bradley, forming what should be a solid group. GRADE: B
We were fine with the trade returns the A's received on Chris Bassitt, Matt Olson, and Matt Chapman in a vacuum -- Kevin Smith, Cristian Pache, Kirby Snead, and perhaps Zach Logue should step into big-league spots; Ryan Cusick, Gunnar Hoglund, and J.T. Ginn are interesting long-term plays -- but we're docking them because it's always disappointing when a contender has to strip mine its roster to save a billionaire money. GRADE: D
There's no denying the Mariners improved their roster a fair amount this winter. Did they do enough? That's to be seen. Jerry Dipoto's haul included American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, All-Star Jesse Winker, and bounce-back candidates Eugenio Suárez and Adam Frazier. Promoting Julio Rodríguez and some of their young arms during the season will improve Seattle's chances of ending the longest postseason drought in the majors. We just thought the Mariners would take one more swing at adding impact through free agency, be it with Marcus Semien, Kris Bryant, or Trevor Story, and we're a little sad they didn't. GRADE: B
Our rule of thumb is that you get an A if you sign two of the market's top four free agents. The Rangers did just that with Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. They added Jon Gray, Kole Calhoun, Mitch Garver, and Martín Pérez, too. We have our reservations about if the Rangers will find themselves competing for more than fourth place this season, but it's nice to see them flex their large-market muscles again. GRADE: A
The world champions brought back most of their title-winning roster, but did so while adding Matt Olson and Kenley Jansen to the mix. Sprinkle in some other smart, if smaller additions like Collin McHugh, Tyler Thornburg, Kirby Yates, and reserve catcher Manny Piña, and we think they merit an A. (We do understand any Braves fan who is bummed that Freddie Freeman is elsewhere; we just think Olson is one of the few first basemen who might be better than him now and heading forward.) GRADE: A
The Marlins had themselves a busy winter. They added in upward of four new position player starters, in catcher Jacob Stallings, infielder Joey Wendle, and outfielders Avisaíl García and Jorge Soler. Those players each have their pros -- Soler, the reigning World Series MVP, improved his peripherals in a way that bodes well for him moving forward -- but we think the Marlins needed more impact to become a sure contender. GRADE: B
The Mets signed Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Mark Canha, and Eduardo Escobar ahead of the lockout, earning themselves an A in the process. They did nothing to lower that grade afterward. Instead, they traded for Chris Bassitt and signed Adam Ottavino. The Mets always seem to look better preseason than they did postseason -- usually because of injuries, which are a factor with Scherzer, Marte, and Canha -- but it's hard to knock them for their body of work and their willingness to spend on talent this winter. GRADE: A
Coming into the offseason, the Phillies clearly needed to address their offense and their bullpen. They did both. Sam Fuld signed two of the top pure hitters on the market, in Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber; he also obtained several relievers with closer experience, in Corey Knebel, Brad Hand, and Jeurys Familia. It may not work; the Phillies' defense, especially in the outfield, is going to be rough. That said, this group had no way forward other than spending more money, and it's nice to see them realize and embrace that rather than rush to hit the reset button. GRADE: B
The Nationals aren't going to compete, which is why we commend them for making an effort to improve their product all the same. Mike Rizzo added Nelson Cruz, César Hernández, and personal favorite Ehire Adrianza to his hitter corps; he also inked Sean Doolittle and Steve Cishek to spice up the bullpen. We still think the clock is ticking on Juan Soto, and the Nationals need to either extend him or consider trading him, but we're not going to let that ruin the aforementioned good vibes. GRADE: B
The Cubs took a portfolio approach to their offseason. They added potential impact by signing Marcus Stroman and Seiya Suzuki; they also padded their depth by signing -- take a deep breath -- Andrelton Simmons, Jonathan Villar, Yan Gomes, Clint Frazier, Wade Miley, Drew Smyly, David Robertson, Mychal Givens, Chris Martin, Daniel Norris, Steven Brault, and Jesse Chavez. We don't think there's enough here for the Cubs to realistically compete this season, but it's nice to see a middling team sign veterans instead of saving coins by trotting out a bunch of Quad-A types. Hopefully they swing for more impact next winter. GRADE: B
The Reds' offseason started on a bad foot, with them salary-dumping Tucker Barnhart and Wade Miley. They then attached Eugenio Suárez (and his underwater contract) to Jesse Winker, reducing their return on the latter. It shouldn't feel like a "win" that the Reds didn't take pennies on the dollar for Joey Votto, Tyler Mahle, or Luis Castillo, and yet that's the case given the rest of Cincy's offseason. GRADE: F
David Stearns' big offseason moves were reserved for adding right-handed hitters to his roster. He signed Andrew McCutchen (a platoon DH at this point in his career) and traded for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and infielder Mike Brosseau. Add in a few other bit pieces (Pedro Severino and Trevor Gott), and that was the extent of the Brewers' winter. That's fine, but it's just fine. GRADE: C
We liked the return the Pirates received from the Marlins on Jacob Stallings. Otherwise, there's not much to write about here. Ben Cherington is gambling on bounce-back efforts from veterans like José Quintana, Roberto Pérez, and Daniel Vogelbach. We would've liked to have seen the Pirates, who have done a swell job of restocking their farm system, be more aggressive on short-term deals. GRADE: D
The Cardinals signed Steven Matz prior to the lockout, but they didn't do much after it. Corey Dickerson, Drew VerHagen, and Nick Wittgren all have their charms; none of them are going to move the needle much either way. For the second consecutive offseason, the Cardinals mostly shrugged at bolstering their rotation depth. That's not ideal given that they'll be without Jack Flaherty (and closer Alex Reyes) to begin the season. The Cardinals could've, and should've, been more active. GRADE: D
The Diamondbacks added closer Mark Melancon and short-side platoon outfielder Jordan Luplow before the lockout. They've since done little more than sign starter Dan Straily, who is returning from overseas. We know Arizona isn't going to compete, but it wouldn't have hurt to do a little more downmarket shopping. GRADE: D
We're here to praise the Rockies for spending money they didn't have to spend by signing Kris Bryant; professional sports is an entertainment business, and folks should want bad teams to do what they can to energize their fan base and clubhouse alike. We are confused by their declaration that he's going to mostly play left field, seeing as how a chunk of his value stemmed from his defensive versatility. We also think the Rockies should've done more in addition to signing Bryant. José Iglesias, Alex Colomé, and Chad Kuhl are fine complementary pieces, but this is a team that needs more top-end talent before it can fashion itself as a dark horse contender. Obviously it takes two to tango, and it's possible Colorado tried and came up short in other, unreported pursuits. GRADE: C
It speaks to how good the Dodgers have been in recent years that their talent level may have declined during an offseason in which they added Freddie Freeman and retained Chris Taylor and Clayton Kershaw. Losing Max Scherzer, Corey Seager, and Kenley Jansen counts for something, though, and we're not sure that's counterbalanced by adding Freeman, rotation options Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson, reliever Daniel Hudson, and spare infielder Hanser Alberto. To be clear, this is still an elite team with good depth; we're just appreciating how good those recent L.A. clubs have been. GRADE: A
By A.J. Preller's standards, the Padres had a modest offseason in terms of their roster moves. They traded for Luke Voit and Jorge Alfaro and signed Nick Martínez, Luis Garcia, and Robert Suarez. As of press time, they had failed to move Eric Hosmer or Wil Myers, creating budget space for more impactful additions. The biggest splash the Padres made involved hiring manager Bob Melvin away from the Athletics. For that, we're giving San Diego a more generous grade than if we were going purely off those aforementioned roster moves. GRADE: B
The Giants entered the offseason needing to rebuild their rotation, four-fifths of which was headed for free agency. They did just that: retaining Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood, and adding Carlos Rodón, Alex Cobb, and Matthew Boyd. We like Jakob Junis as a low-cost relief addition, and Joc Pederson came cheap enough to overlook his flaws. Ideally, the Giants would've taken a swing at another big bat to help offset Buster Posey's retirement and Kris Bryant's departure, but who knows; maybe Farhan Zaidi will pull another diamond out of the rough. GRADE: B