MLB winter meetings: Grading what each team did during a relatively quiet week in Las Vegas
The winter meetings are over, so it's time to analyze
The 2018 winter meetings concluded on Thursday, officially ending with the annual. This year's edition of the meetings lacked the juice of past editions. Nonetheless, we wanted to reflect once more before moving on to bigger (and hopefully more exciting) things. As such, we've opted to grade teams based solely on what they did or didn't do in Las Vegas.
Some teams didn't do anything this week -- at least not that resulted in a transaction or noteworthy rumor. For those clubs, we've given them a grade of "N/A."
Arizona Diamondbacks: N/A
The Diamondbacks made a big move before heading to Vegas by shipping Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals in exchange for a three-player package. They didn't do much this week, however. The juiciest rumor involving Arizona had Mike Hazen and company interested in Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. Ho hum.
Atlanta Braves: N/A
The Braves also didn't do much despite continuing their hunt for an outfielder. Alex Anthopoulos left Vegas early to meet with ownership. There's no telling if that's connected to anything the Braves are rumored to be involved with, including a J.T. Realmuto pursuit.
Baltimore Orioles: A
Hey, here we go. The Orioles had a somewhat productive week. They reportedly landed their new manager, Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde, and took advantage of their poor record to add some fringe talent to the mix, including shortstop Richie Martin, the No. 1 pick in the Rule 5 draft. Nothing they did was sexy, but we're giving them an A for showing life.
Boston Red Sox: N/A
The Red Sox hashed out a deal with Nathan Eovaldi before the meetings, leaving them without much to announce in Vegas. Rumors did circulate that they're out on Craig Kimbrel and are willing to listen to offers for some of their veterans. We'll see.
Chicago Cubs: N/A
Things have been mostly quiet from the Cubs lately. They're either secretly in the Bryce Harper race, or they're really not going to swim in the deep waters this year.
Chicago White Sox: A
The White Sox made a nifty trade, acquiring Ivan Nova to plug into the middle of their rotation. You can pardon White Sox fans if they're more interested in the team's rumored pursuit of Bryce Harper.
Cincinnati Reds: A
The Reds added Tanner Roark to help improve their rotation at the cost of a walk-prone relief prospect. That'll work. Dick Williams and company need to keep adding as they make a push toward relevancy.
Cleveland Indians: B
Cleveland had a busy Thursday, partaking in a three-team deal that swapped out Edwin Encarnacion, Yandy Diaz, and a minor-league reliever for Carlos Santana and Jake Bauers. We're not a fan of the AL Central favorite looking to strip payroll -- as rumors suggest -- but we're giving them high marks here for adding Bauers, who has the chance to be a solid big-league first baseman for years to come at the cost of an older player who didn't seem to have a home on the roster.
Colorado Rockies: N/A
The Rockies are going to add some offensive firepower between now and spring training. They just haven't done it yet.
Detroit Tigers: A
The Tigers signed free agents Tyson Ross and Jordy Mercer to small deals with the hopes of gaining some league-average production and perhaps marketable trade chits. Neither has great upside, but it's hard to knock either deal given the cost.
Houston Astros: N/A
Kansas City Royals: B
The Royals inked Billy Hamilton and picked up two interesting arms in the Rule 5 draft: Sam McWilliams and Chris Ellis. Kansas City is hoping to hit on a new Brad Keller-like find. That's what they should be doing. We dock them a grade on the Hamilton signing because it means he won't yet become the league's most dangerous pinch-run option. (Before you get mad, Royals fans, remember this exercise means nothing.)
Los Angeles Angels: B
The Angels leave Vegas with a new above-average hitter in tow following their agreement with free-agent Justin Bour. It's not entirely clear how the Angels intend to deploy him, but this is a team that should be gobbling up as much talent as possible to maximize Mike Trout's prime.
Los Angeles Dodgers: C
The Dodgers were rumored to be involved in all kinds of trade talks. In the end, all they did was sign Joe Kelly to be a setup man. We're all right with it -- it's nice to see the Dodgers sign a free agent after last winter -- but we do worry that Kelly is being overrated.
Miami Marlins: N/A
The Marlins continued to shop around J.T. Realmuto. It doesn't seem like they did much else.
Milwaukee Brewers: B
Minnesota Twins: N/A
New York Mets: C
Does any team bring back former players as often as this club? The Mets reunited with Jeurys Familia, whom they had traded to the Athletics at the deadline, and reportedly continued to talk about trades involving J.T. Realmuto and Noah Syndergaard.
New York Yankees: B
The Yankees reportedly reached an agreement with J.A. Happ. He'll provide a mid-rotation boost behind Luis Severino and James Paxton. Brian Cashman also set off a slew of "Star Wars" tweets. We're docking them for that.
Oakland Athletics: N/A
The A's were, at one point, rumored to be close to landing Jurickson Profar from the Rangers. But no deal has been reported yet.
Philadelphia Phillies: A
The Phillies kicked off the Meetings by signing Andrew McCutchen to a three-year pact. He should help their lineup and clubhouse alike. They're still waiting to land the biggest piece of their winter: presumably either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper.
Pittsburgh Pirates: C
We like the Pirates' small gamble on Jordan Lyles, who reworked his mechanics and pitch mix to good effect last season. We don't like the Pirates dumping salary without markedly improving the roster in the process.
San Diego Padres: N/A
A few years back, A.J. Preller owned the winter. He didn't do anything this week, but the Padres are seemingly sniffing around big moves. They certainly have the prospect power to get stuff done if they so desire.
San Francisco Giants: C
The Giants made some small, on-the-margins moves, claiming outfielder Mike Gerber off waivers and adding two Rule 5 picks who have a chance to stick: lefty Travis Bergen and outfielder Drew Ferguson. Fair enough.
Seattle Mariners: C
Hospital stay or not, you knew Jerry Dipoto was going to swing a trade. He saved the Mariners more money by swapping Carlos Santana for Edwin Encarnacion. We would like it more if it wasn't seemingly a move to appease ownership. At least the M's gained a draft pick?
St. Louis Cardinals: C
The Cardinals made a few small moves, claiming pitcher Ryan Meisinger off waivers from the Orioles and adding outfielder Drew Robinson in a trade with the Rangers. Neither is likely or intended to move the needle.
Tampa Bay Rays: B
We dig the Rays' signing of Charlie Morton. We're not as sweet on trading Jake Bauers and $5 million for Yandy Diaz and a minor-league arm, but it could work out okay given the Rays organizational depth at first base.
Texas Rangers: B
It seems absurd to give Lance Lynn three years given the Rangers are unlikely to compete this year. But the contract amount would've been justifiable over two years and it's nice to see a non-contender spend some coin to upgrade their short-term chances.
Toronto Blue Jays: C
Washington Nationals: C
On paper, the Nationals probably lost the Tanner swap -- Roark for Rainey. Rainey does have a chance to add another high-octane arm to the Nationals bullpen, but it's clear they have a few more moves to make before the roster is finalized.
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