Game 7 of the 2019 World Series was more than eight months ago, and Major League Baseball hasn't played a meaningful game since. The coronavirus pandemic brought the entire world to a halt in March, and most major professional sports, including baseball, are still working out all of the specifics in their respective plans to safely return to play.
Baseball's traditional offseason feels like a lifetime ago. A lot went down in the sport between November and mid-February, including two sign-stealing scandals. In addition to the unearthed cheating, we actually were witness to an active MLB offseason. The biggest shockwaves sent through the league when ace Gerrit Cole got his mega deal with the Yankees in December and the Red Sox sent superstar outfielder Mookie Betts to the Dodgers right before spring training. And there was plenty of movement in between the two blockbuster moves, with many top free agents switching teams.
We'll forgive you if some of the changes have slipped your mind in the time since. In fact, we're here to help refresh your memory. We've decided to create an All-Star team of sorts -- with one player at every position -- that will consist of players who made a switch this offseason via free agency or trade that you could have forgotten about. The biggest of big names like Cole, Betts and Anthony Rendon (who signed with the Angels) are exempt from this exercise. But every other player is fair game for the He's on That Team? All-Stars.
Take a look at our full compilation below:
Catcher: Yasmani Grandal (White Sox)
The White Sox made a huge offseason splash with the signing of the best free agent catcher available this winter. Grandal, 31, was an All-Star last season with the Brewers, and the switch-hitter recorded 28 home runs, 77 RBI, 26 doubles and 109 walks in 153 games. The White Sox's Grandal signing could not only help push the team from rebuilder to contender, but having a veteran catcher to support Chicago's mostly young pitching staff will be a huge benefit.
First base: Justin Smoak (Brewers)
Smoak made the jump from Canada back to the states when he signed with the Brewers after five seasons with the Blue Jays, including an All-Star campaign in 2017 when he hit 38 home runs. The first baseman free agent market wasn't necessarily booming this past winter, and Smoak's 2019 numbers weren't great. But he still possess solid plate discipline and can always serve as designated hitter if necessary. It's also worth pointing out that Smoak saw his strikeout percentage drop (26.3 to 21.2 percent) and walk percentage increase (14 to 15.8 percent) in 2019 from his 2018 numbers. Despite the drop in production last season, the 33-year-old switch-hitter figures to be reliable offensively in Milwaukee.
Second base: Mike Moustakas (Reds)
This one will take a few reminders to get used to. Just when we were getting used to seeing Moustakas as a Brewer after nearly eight seasons with the Royals, the second baseman is now a member of the Cincinnati Reds. After an All-Star season last year in which he showed off his infield versatility, Moustakas will move to play second base full-time for Cincinnati.
During the 2019 season, Moustakas batted .254/.329/.516 with a career-high .845 OPS, 35 home runs, 87 RBI, and a career-best 53 walks in 143 games. The Reds clearly took note and decided to sign Moustakas to the largest free-agent deal in franchise history.
Shortstop: Didi Gregorius (Phillies)
Gregorius made the switch from the American League to the National League when he signed a one-year, $14 million deal with the Phillies this offseason. Gregorius will reunite with his former Yankees manager, Joe Girardi, in Philadelphia.
Gregorius, 30, didn't have a particularly encouraging season last year for the Yankees. It was his first partial season (82 games) following Tommy John surgery. If the Phillies are able to help Gregorius return to his numbers from the two seasons prior to the injury, they'll be getting quality offensive and defensive production. He's set to take over at shortstop while Jean Segura will shift to second base.
Third base: Josh Donaldson (Twins)
Donaldson was one of the best free agents available this winter, and even though fellow free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon drew higher marks on our rankings, Donaldson would be an impact bat for any club. Not to mention, Donaldson's got a solid glove at the hot corner. The 34-year-old finally managed to enjoy a fully healthy season last year for the first time in three tries, and finished with the 37 homers.
What's most impressive with his Minnesota move is that he becomes the sixth Twins player who hit 30 or more home runs in 2019, joining Miguel Sano, Nelson Cruz, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario and Mitch Garver. In an abbreviated 2020 season, Donaldson is going to be in the middle of one of baseball's most powerful lineups.
Left field: Marcell Ozuna (Braves)
Although we saw some big signings this winter, there were still several free agents who found the market less robust than expected. Ozuna was one of them. After expecting to command a three- or four-year contract, Ozuna settled for a one-year deal with the Braves.
When all was said and done, Ozuna even shared his regret about not accepting the Cardinals qualifying offer. But, alas, the 29-year-old outfielder did find himself in a good situation joining Atlanta, a team going for its third straight NL East title. Ozuna hits the ball hard and will give the Braves a source of right-handed power in 2020.
Center field: Kevin Pillar (Red Sox)
After Pillar was non-tendered by the Giants, he was picked up by the Red Sox. Boston landed Pillar, a right-handed hitting outfielder with premium defense, to help alleviate the loss of Mookie Betts. He's unlikely to grab a starting spot, unless Alex Verdugo isn't healthy for the start of the season, but he figures to be a reliable backup for all three outfield spots. While splitting time between the Blue Jays and Giants in 2019, Pillar posted a career-high .719 OPS to go with 21 home runs and 14 stolen bases.
Right field: Nicholas Castellanos (Reds)
Castellanos got picked up by the Reds during free agency after he posted a career-high 27 home runs between the Tigers and the Cubs in 2019. The 28-year-old's outfield defense leaves much to be desired, but he will provide an offensive boost to an already talented Reds lineup for 2020. In the past four seasons, Castellanos has slashed .286/.336/.504 (121 wRC+).
Designated hitter: Edwin Encarnacion (White Sox)
Encarnacion struggled with injuries in 2019 while his time was split between the Mariners and Yankees, but he still showed that he maintains solid power with 34 home runs over 109 games last season. The new member of the White Sox has hit 32 or more home runs in each of the past eight seasons.
The slugger will see likely see an age-related dip in his average, but he should be able to remain effective for the White Sox in 2020. Entering his age-37 season, Encarnacion could add a nice pop if he can remain fully healthy this year.
Starting pitcher: Corey Kluber (Rangers)
You may remember seeing that some big-name starting pitchers, like Madison Bumgarner, Zack Wheeler and Hyun-Jin Ryu, all found new homes this offseason. But you may have forgotten -- partly because it happened via trade on a Sunday in December -- that the Indians sent two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber to the Rangers.
Kluber, 34, was was limited to seven starts last season due to a fractured forearm he suffered on May 1, 2019. The right-hander did attempt to return with the club late in the year, but came up short in his effort. From 2013 to 2018, Kluber pitched to a 2.96 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 186 games and also finished in top-10 Cy Young voting each of those years. Kluber is definitely a bounce-back candidate for 2020.
Relief pitcher: Will Harris (Nationals)
Harris moved from the Astros to the Nationals this winter, signing a multi-year deal with the defending World Series champions. Harris, 35, spent the last five seasons with the Astros and was consistently above-average. But 2019 was the best year of his big-league career. He posted an impressive 1.50 ERA and 0.93 WHIP with 62 strikeouts and 14 walks over 60 innings. The right-handed reliever is likely going to fill a high-leverage relief role for the Nationals in 2020, and will be one of the top arms out of the bullpen.