MLB offseason grades: Twins, Dodgers, Yankees get high marks; 'F' for Cubs, Red Sox, others
It's report card time for all 30 MLB teams
We are less than a month away from Opening Day 2020. This offseason, we've seen nearly all of oursign deals and there were even a few major trades that went down. So while we continue to wait for meaningful baseball games to return, let's take a look at what each of the 30 teams have done during this rather busy winter to address roster needs and hand out grades for their offseason work.
We'll break this report card down division by division.
It has been a steady decline for the Red Sox since their 2018 championship season. After the club missed the postseason last year, Boston has been the subject of a league investigation into its Mookie Betts, to the Dodgers (David Price also headed west in the deal). They received outfielder Alex Verdugo (plus Jeter Downs, Connor Wong and avoided luxury tax penalties), in the return from the trade, but it's not even close to replacing what they lost on the field. Some of their other moves this winter included adding infielder Jose Peraza, trading catcher Sandy Leon to the Indians for right-hander Adenys Bautista and re-signing first baseman Mitch Moreland and left-hander Martin Perez.. The Astros and the team has yet to name a permanent replacement, with bench coach Ron Roenicke designated as the Red Sox's interim manager. On top of the scandal, the Red Sox ,
While we wait for the final conclusion and/or punishment from the league for Boston's alleged 2018 sign-stealing scheme, the club has achieved its goal of staying under the luxury tax. Although, hitting that goal is certainly not a mark worth earning a passing grade in this post, let alone one that's going to help them win games in 2020.
New York Yankees: A+
The Yankees are leaving this winter with the biggest signing of the offseason -- both literally and figuratively -- as they signed top free agent Gerrit Cole to a . Cole, the Yankees' "white whale," should become a permanent fixture as the team's ace, and the right-hander is going to be an immediate boost to their rotation as the club hopes to return to the World Series for the first time since 2009.
Aside from the Cole signing, the Yankees also brought back outfielder and the longest tenured Yankee, Brett Gardner on a one-year deal. Despite losing shortstop Didi Gregorius to the Phillies via free agency, the Yankees will bring back most of their core in 2020.
There's not a whole lot to discuss about the Orioles' offseason. The rebuilding club made their biggest trade of the winter when they sent Jonathan Villar to the Miami Marlins and got left-hander Easton Lucas in return. Their most notable free agent signing was inking shortstop Jose Iglesias to a one-year, $3 million deal. Other than that, the club made a few other minor trades and Rule 5 gets, but Baltimore will likely be in the same spot as last season: stuck in last place with 100 or more losses.
The Blue Jays are really working on setting themselves up for future success. The Jays revamped their rotation to pair with their young core group of position players. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chase Anderson, Tanner Roark and Shun Yamaguchi will all be pitching in Toronto in 2020. There was also the low-risk Travis Shaw signing, who they'll hope to get a bounce-back season from.
The Rays didn't make any huge moves, but they got a few well-balanced trades and signings done this winter to improve. They'll likely be successful again next season, falling somewhere in the near 90 wins once again, but it's going to be tough for the club to get far in the postseason. A quick round up of Tampa Bay's moves: signed free agent Yoshitomo Tsutsugo from Japan on a , traded outfielder Tommy Pham to the Padres for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and top prospect shortstop Xavier Edwards, acquired Jose Martinez from the Cardinals, and Manuel Margot from the Padres in exchange for reliever Emilio Pagan.
Cleveland Indians: D
The Indians sent longtime ace Corey Kluber to the Rangers, and barely made any significant additions this winter. All the while, star shortstop Francisco Lindor was mentioned in trade rumors but appears set to open another season in Cleveland. The Indians signed both second baseman Cesar Hernandez and outfielder Domingo Santana to one-year deals. In return for Kluber, the Indians received right-hander Emmanuel Clase and outfielder Delino DeShields. While the White Sox and Twins improved for the 2020 season, Cleveland is going to struggle in a division where it won three straight titles from 2016 to 2018.
Chicago White Sox: A
There's a lot to like from the White Sox's moves this offseason. They signed top free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal, left-hander Dallas Keuchel, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, left-hander Gio Gonzalez and right-hander Steve Cishek. The club also acquired outfielder Nomar Mazara via trade with the Rangers. Their 2019-20 winter moves might just be enough for them to dethrone the Twins in the AL Central -- or at least get to the postseason for the first time since 2008.
Kansas City Royals: N/A
Not much to discuss regarding the rebuilding Royals. They signed reliever Trevor Rosenthal to a minor league deal, signed third baseman Maikel Franco to a one-year deal and brought back Alex Gordon on a one-year deal.
Minnesota Twins: A
The Twins may very well win the AL Central once again. They re-tooled their rotation (re-signed Michael Pineda and Jake Odorizzi; signed Rich Hill and Homer Bailey, traded for Kenta Maeda) this offseason. Their strategy in 2020, however, might just be to out-slug opponents. The Josh Donaldson signing certainly helps in that department. He'll join a lineup that includes five players with at least 30+ home runs: designated hitter Nelson Cruz (41), right fielder Max Kepler (36), third baseman Miguel Sano (34), left fielder Eddie Rosario (32) and catcher Mitch Garver (31). Donaldson, 34, himself hit .259/.379/.521 with 37 homers in 2019 with the Braves.
Detroit Tigers: N/A
It was a quiet winter in Detroit, one so dormant it doesn't warrant a grade. The Tigers signed first baseman C.J. Cron, right-hander Ivan Nova and catcher Austin Romine. It will probably be another long summer in Motown.
Texas Rangers: B
The Rangers' moves should be enough to keep them competitive in 2020, and at the very least, they'll keep things interesting in the AL West. Texas will enter the season with a rotation that includes the new additions of Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles. Plus, they signed left-hander Joely Rodriguez, catcher Robinson Chirinos and third baseman Todd Frazier. Those moves could be enough to end the club's streak of three straight sub-.500 seasons.
Seattle Mariners: N/A
Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto didn't continue his 2018-19 offseason trend of Omar Narvaez to Brewers for right-hander Adam Hill and a draft pick and they acquired left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. from the Yankees in exchange for international signing bonus pool money, but that's about it., therefore there's not a whole lot to talk about. Seattle did trade catcher
After losing out in the Gerrit Cole sweepstakes, the Angels managed to sign the best position player on the market in Anthony Rendon. He'll be a huge upgrade for the Angels lineup, one that already includes Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. The Angels might not have fully addressed their lack of pitching depth, but when you combine the Rendon signing with the less splashy Julio Teheran and Dylan Bundy signings, it's still a productive offseason for the Angels.
Where to start? The? The for aforementioned sign-scandal? It was a mess and a half of an offseason for the Astros, and based on , their role of baseball's villains will likely continue through the 2020 season. On the front office side of things, the Astros lost their GM and manager in the fallout of the sscandal. and were chosen to take the available jobs
In terms of their roster, there's the obvious loss of Gerrit Cole as well as right-hander Will Harris, outfielder Jake Marisnick, right-hander Collin McHugh, right-hander Wade Miley and right-hander Aaron Sanchez. Houston did re-sign catcher Martin Maldonado after losing catcher Robinson Chirinos to the Rangers and added a trio of right-handers in Jared Hughes, Austin Pruitt and Joe Smith.
Per usual, the A's were not involved in any talks for the big free agents this winter. While the spending stayed sparse, Oakland managed to pick up outfielder Buddy Reed and catcher Austin Allen in the Jurickson Profar trade with the Padres and traded for Tony Kemp from the Cubs. Oakland also signed left-hander Jake Diekman to a two-year, $7.5 million deal. It's decent, but probably not enough to hang with the Angels and Rangers in 2020.
Atlanta Braves: B
Signing Marcell Ozuna on a one-year deal to replace Josh Donaldson was probably the best option Atlanta had after letting Donaldson walk in free agency this winter. The Braves also added lefty Cole Hamels, left-handed reliever Will Smith, first baseman Yonder Alonso, and catcher Travis d'Arnaud. As far as re-signings go, Atlanta will be bringing back catcher Tyler Flowers, Adeiny Hechavarria, right-hander Darren O'Day and right-hander Josh Tomlin. The Braves also picked up veteran starter Felix Hernandez on a low-risk, high-reward signing. .
Not terrible, but not fantastic either. The Mets lost Zack Wheeler to a division rival, but picked up right-handers Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha to help ease the loss and fill out their rotation. New York also grabbed relief pitcher Dellin Betances and picked up outfielder Jake Marisnick in a trade with the Astros. But otherwise, there weren't any other standout roster moves.
The reigning champion Nationals managed to get done the most important task atop of their winter to-do list: re-signing right-hander and 2019 World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg. The club signed him to a seven-year, $245 million deal. Getting a deal done was all the more important considering the Nats let third baseman Anthony Rendon walk in free agency. Some of the other offseason moves included Washington agreeing on deals with right-hander Will Harris, catcher Yan Gomes, right-hander Daniel Hudson and infielders Howie Kendrick, Eric Thames, Asdrubal Cabrera, Ryan Zimmerman and Starlin Castro. It's a veteran group in D.C., much like the one that one the 2019 World Series.
Miami Marlins: C-
With a rebuilding team like the Marlins, who made fairly minimal and minor moves this offseason, normally we'd go with N/A for their grade. But for this winter, we're going to hand out a grade of a C-. Not great, but at least they tried something. The acquisition of Jonathan Villar from the Orioles could end up being a nice boost to the offense in 2020. On the free agent market, Miami picked up outfielder Corey Dickerson, catcher Francisco Cervelli, right-hander Brandon Kintzler and right-hander Yimi Garcia. The club also picked up former Rays first baseman Jesus Aguilar on waivers.
Philadelphia Phillies: B
The Phillies' new addition of Zack Wheeler should fare well at the top of the Phillies rotation after Aaron Nola this season. Philadelphia's other big addition was shortstop Didi Gregorius, who will bump Jean Segura to second base. The team also acquired plenty of veterans who will try to earn roster spots, including left-hander Francisco Liriano, right-hander Anthony Swarzak and infielders Ronald Torreyes, Josh Harrison and Neil Walker. The Phillies be led by manager Joe Girardi, who will return to managing MLB after two years removed from the game. The Phillies made all-around improvements to their club and should be competing with the Braves, Nats and Mets for the NL East title.
Pittsburgh Pirates: N/A
Aside from the Pirates' Starling Marte trade with the Diamondbacks, the club didn't make any significant signings. In exchange for Marte, Pittsburgh received right-hander Brennan Malone and shortstop Liover Peguero along with $250,000 international money.
Cincinnati Reds: A-
The Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas signings are two huge offensive improvements for the Reds, and they might be a serious contender in 2020. Castellanos and Moustakas both head to Cincy on four-year, $64 million deals. The Reds also signed outfielder Shogo Akiyama out of Japan, left-hander Wade Miley and acquired right-hander Justin Shafer in a trade with the Blue Jays.
Chicago Cubs: F
The Cubs' offseason included little to no signs of improvement, or even a willingness to improve. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant led the offseason discussion with trade talks, and his arbitration case outcome means that his trade value has only increased. Overall, Chicago only made minor tweaks to its roster, and the team could very well miss the playoffs for the second straight season in 2020. The Cubs signed outfielder Steven Souza Jr., right-hander Jeremy Jeffress and left-hander Tyler Olson. Two of Chicago's biggest losses this winter included outfielder Nick Castellanos and lefty Cole Hamels.
Milwaukee Brewers: C
Milwaukee made a few solid trades this winter, but the Brewers are still going to be without sluggers Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas next season. In a trade with the Padres, Milwaukee picked up infielder Luis Urias and lefty Eric Lauer. The Brewers also added first baseman Chad Spanberger in a trade with the Blue Jays and catcher Omar Narvaez in a trade with the Mariners. The club signed outfielder Avisail Garcia, first baseman Justin Smoak and left-hander Brett Anderson and will try to reach the playoffs for the third year in a row this season.
St. Louis Cardinals: D
The Cardinals had a pretty disappointing offseason. Losing Marcell Ozuna and Jose Martinez this winter without adding an impact bat to replace them is going to hurt the club. St. Louis did add a lefty in Kwang-Hyun Kim, which the team desperately needed, but overall, it was underwhelming for the reigning NL Central champs.
Arizona Diamondbacks: B+
The Diamondbacks made their most notable signing after this year's Winter Meetings with the get of Madison Bumgarner, who agreed to a five-year, $85 million deal. Bumgarner's going to be the club's front-end starter, and the 30-year-old should be able to give the club a solid 200 innings (as long as he doesn't encounter ). The D-Backs' moves didn't stop after the Bumgarner signing; they inked outfielder Kole Calhoun to a two-year deal, added veteran right-hander Junior Guerra and right-hander Hector Rondon to their bullpen and acquired outfielder Starling Marte from the Pirates via trade. The moves are solid, and could very well help get Arizona to be a contender for a playoff spot in the NL.
Los Angeles Dodgers: A+
Just when you thought the Dodgers power-packed lineup couldn't get any stronger, they added former AL MVP Mookie Betts. Los Angeles traded for Betts, along with left-hander David Price, in the winter's biggest blockbuster. After a dull outing from the Dodgers at the Winter Meetings where they missed out on Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg, the club rebounded their entire offseason with the Betts trade. They were able to acquire one of the game's best players to add to their already potent roster and a solid veteran starting pitcher to help fill in the rotation gaps.
The Dodgers also successfully made the trade without letting go of either of their top two prospects: Gavin Lux and Dustin May. They're heading into the 2020 season as the overwhelming favorites to win the National League. It's World Series or bust in L.A.
The Rockies did not actively pursue top free agents, or any other additions for that matter, this winter. It's not a good look for a club that's seemingly falling more and more behind the rest of the division. But, even worse than that, Colorado angered its franchise player, star third baseman Nolan Arenado, with the front office's complacency. The Rockies gave shortstop Trevor Story a but there wasn't much else that can count as a significant move this winter.
The rebuilding giants had a relatively quiet winter. San Francisco acquired infielders Zack Cozart and Will Wilson from the Angels and also signed right-hander Kevin Gausman to a one-year deal worth $9 million. But the team lost franchise icon Madison Bumgarner to the division rival Diamondbacks.
San Diego Padres: B
The up-and-coming Padres are receiving a solid B for their efforts. It likely won't be enough to push the club to the playoffs, but they should see improvement from their 70-win 2019. Under rookie manager Jayce Tingler, San Diego will welcome the additions of left-hander Drew Pomeranz, outfielders Tommy Pham and Trent Grisham, right-hander Zach Davies and infielder Jurickson Profar. Plus, there's the fact that the Padres still have a with many of their top prospects close to getting their promotion to the big leagues.
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