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MLB Free Agency 2012: Re-Grading All 30 Teams' Offseasons on Opening Day

Mark MillerCorrespondent IApril 2, 2012

MLB Free Agency 2012: Re-Grading All 30 Teams' Offseasons on Opening Day

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    Weeks of spring training will finally come to a head this week as the entire league dives head first into the regular season.

    The process didn't start here, however, as an offseason full of trades and signings, hirings and firings have given every organization a new look.

    Sporting News made their opinions known, as they graded each team's offseason leading into spring training, but as spring training closes and we've had a chance to see players overachieve, underperform, leave their teams and, in some cases, get lost for the season, the expectations may have changed.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: C

    The Arizona Diamondbacks made a smart move in adding Jason Kubel to their outfield to add depth and bring in a strong left-handed bat, and while they may not get the biggest production from utilitymen Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald, they should fill in sufficiently.

    Jason Marquis was brought back into the fold after being non-tendered last winter, and while he has struggled at times this spring, he should be able to eat innings this season.

    Opening Day Grade: B-

Atlanta Braves

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: C-

    After a very disappointing end to last season, the Atlanta Braves could've made some overhauls to ensure they don't run into the same fate this time around.

    Instead, they more or less stuck to their guns, and with better years from players like Jason Heyward, Dan Uggla and Chipper Jones, they should be able to compete in the suddenly difficult NL East.

    Opening Day Grade: C

Baltimore Orioles

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: D

    The Baltimore Orioles made a few moves to shake up their starting rotation in signing Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen, and trading longtime Oriole Jeremy Guthrie.

    They'll need to have solid contributions from them and the other pitchers they brought into the fold if they hope to improve on their last-place finish in ERA last year.

    Opening Day Grade: C-

Boston Red Sox

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: B+

    In cities like Boston, where greatness is always expected from franchises, it'd be easy to think the Red Sox would make a snap decision after last season's late collapse.

    With a new GM in tow, the team instead kept most of their team in tact, with their most notable acquisition being Andrew Bailey to fill in the late-inning role for Jonathan Papelbon.

    Opening Day Grade: B+

Chicago Cubs

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: B

    Much like the Boston Red Sox, the bar is set quite high for teams in the Windy City, and the Chicago Cubs are no exception.

    Their biggest move of the offseason didn't even add a body on the field, as Theo Epstein stepped in to lead the team's front office.

    They've got a stellar prospect in Anthony Rizzo on their hands now, and while they probably won't see immediate success, they're certainly headed in the right direction.

    Opening Day Grade: B

Chicago White Sox

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: F

    The Chicago White Sox will take on a different look in 2012, with their longtime ace Mark Buehrle departing for South Beach along with former Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.

    Despite the low bar for success set after last year's struggles, the team still does have a high enough payroll to hold some expectations, but without a much-improved season from Adam Dunn, they probably won't see much chance to contend in the AL Central.

    Opening Day Grade: D

Cincinnati Reds

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: B

    The Cincinnati Reds certainly made a bold move this offseason when they unloaded a number of prospects to San Diego in exchange for Mat Latos.

    It could be assumed that the package was too high for one pitcher, although if he pitches well in Cincinnati he should be worth every penny.

    Unfortunately for the Reds, their late-inning plans took a hit this spring, as Ryan Madson has been lost for the season with a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

    Opening Day Grade: C+

Cleveland Indians

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: F

    The Cleveland Indians were very active last summer, as they added Ubaldo Jimenez and Jim Thome to their roster in a last-minute effort to push for the AL Central crown.

    They'd ultimately come up short, but still left the Indians fanbase with plenty to look forward to in the future.

    Keeping in mind that last year's efforts weren't enough, it's almost hard to believe they weren't more active this offseason, though a one-year extension filled with incentives for Grady Sizemore could yield a surprising result once (of maybe if) he can get healthy.

    Opening Day Grade: D

Colorado Rockies

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: D

    In a move that was rumored for most of the offseason leading up to it, the Colorado Rockies ultimately got their guy when they signed free-agent right fielder Michael Cuddyer to a three-year contract worth over $30 million.

    They made a number of other moves, and though Casey Blake has already been released, a number of other new players will be looking to contribute.

    Opening Day Grade: C-

Detroit Tigers

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: A

    After narrowly missing a trip to the Fall Classic last season, the Detroit Tigers headed into the offseason as the odds-on favorite to take the AL Central once again in 2012.

    The team could've hung their heads with the loss of Victor Martinez, but instead GM Dave Dombrowski took an alternative route, signing Prince Fielder to a monster deal worth over $200 million, making them a serious contender to take the AL pennant.

    Opening Day Grade: A

Houston Astros

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: D

    With the Houston Astros in a full rebuilding mode, there hasn't been much done in the way of player movement, but that didn't stop the team from changing things in the front office, with newly-hired GM Jeff Luhnow set to lead the team into the American League in 2013.

    Opening Day Grade: C-

Kansas City Royals

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: C-

    The Kansas City Royals were set to make a number of strides this season, with Jonathan Sanchez in the rotation via San Francisco and Jonathan Broxton set up in the bullpen.

    With closer Joakim Soria now out for the year and the team's leading candidate to take over behind the plate out for the next few months, things appear to have hit a snag in K.C.

    Opening Day Grade: D

Los Angeles Angels

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: A+

    There's little disputing that the Los Angeles Angels had the best offseason of any organization this winter, as they snagged up the top pitcher and hitter available in C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols.

    With a number of prolific pieces already on the team's roster, the Angels are suddenly a serious contender for a World Series championship.

    Opening Day Grade: A+

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: D

    The Los Angeles Dodgers made some small moves this offseason, in signing Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, among others.

    Their biggest move, though, has been the long-awaited sale of the team to a group of bidders including L.A. legend Magic Johnson, a sign that stability may finally find the franchise that's seen so much turmoil during the Frank McCourt era.

    Opening Day Grade: C+

Miami Marlins

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: A+

    With the team heading into its new stadium this season, the ownership group did everything possible to put the best product on the field for the fans of Miami in 2012.

    Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell and Ozzie Guillen will join Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson in what could be a season that sees the Marlins contend for postseason play.

    Opening Day Grade: A+

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: D-

    With Prince Fielder bolting from Milwaukee, it'd be a virtually insurmountable task to have a positive offseason, especially when you couple the situation with the possibility of losing Ryan Braun for the first third of the season.

    Luckily for the Brewers, Braun won't miss any time, and the team did sign Aramis Ramirez to shore up the left side of the infield.

    Opening Day Grade: C+

Minnesota Twins

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: D-

    With Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer both leaving the Twin Cities, the Minnesota Twins needed to do something to bolster the offense that had already struggled in 2011.

    Signing Josh Willingham to a three-year deal should help the team's power at the plate, and with Justin Morneau appearing more and more comfortable as a full-time DH and Joe Mauer finally healthy, the team should have a much stronger season than last year's 99-loss debacle.

    Opening Day Grade: C+

New York Mets

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: F

    The biggest miss of the offseason for the New York Mets was no doubt letting Jose Reyes walk away without much of a fight.

    Frank Francisco will no doubt help the Mets bullpen in 2012, but they had a number of other positions that didn't get their due attention.

    Opening Day Grade: D+

New York Yankees

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: A

    After seeing the Yankees surprisingly remain quiet as a number of the best available pitchers on the market were snatched up, they made a big splash when they traded Jesus Montero to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for fireballer Michael Pineda.

    Pineda has struggled with his velocity at times this spring, but appears to be rounding back to form. With Hiroki Kuroda also in tow and A.J. Burnett finally out of the Bronx, the team's rotation should be at its best.

    Opening Day Grade: A-

Oakland Athletics

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: C

    When the Oakland Athletics embarked on the offseason, it appeared that they were headed towards a massively difficult 2012 season, sending away Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey and Trevor Cahill in exchange for a slew of prospects that should help in the long term.

    In the short term, the A's surprised a number of those in the baseball world in signing Yoenis Cespedes and Manny Ramirez, two names that didn't even appear on the team's radar initially.

    Opening Day Grade: B-

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: B

    The Philadelphia Phillies didn't make many moves this offseason, but then again, they didn't really have to.

    Signing Jonathan Papelbon to a multi-year deal will no doubt help the team's late-inning situation, and Jim Thome will return to Philly once again and provide a late-inning bat when needed.

    Opening Day Grade: B

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: D-

    The Pittsburgh Pirates' biggest move this offseason was one that probably left many scratching their heads, as A.J. Burnett will don a Bucs uniform in 2012.

    He's had troubles throughout his tenure in New York, and while a change of scenery may do Burnett some good, he'll need to improve drastically to finally live up to his salary.

    Opening Day Grade: D+

San Diego Padres

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: B+

    The San Diego Padres did lose the ace of their staff in Mat Latos this offseason, but they got four great prospects in return and all should be able to contribute at the major league level at some point shortly.

    Adding Carlos Quentin and Huston Street to the mix will no doubt help the Padres, as a quietly effective offseason should yield some positive returns.

    Opening Day Grade: A-

San Francisco Giants

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: C-

    The San Francisco Giants were quiet for the most part this offseason, though they did acquire Melky Cabrera from the Kansas City Royals in an effort to add some offense to their roster.

    They didn't lock in Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain long-term as was hoped, meaning the team will no doubt have plenty of space in the headlines as the trade deadline and offseason approach.

    Opening Day Grade: C-

Seattle Mariners

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: C

    It seemed that the Seattle Mariners were priming themselves to have one of the game's best one-two punches with Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda leading the way.

    That all changed when the Mariners shipped Pineda to the Yankees in exchange for the highly-touted Jesus Montero.

    Montero can certainly help the stagnant Mariners offense, which is essentially what this team's offseason will be graded on.

    Opening Day Grade: C+

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: C

    With Albert Pujols on his way out west, the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals were forced to replace the offense that he provided on a nightly basis.

    They'll have help in Carlos Beltran, and with Adam Wainwright returning from a season off, the team still has reason to feel good about their chances in the NL Central in 2012.

    Opening Day Grade: B-

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: C+

    As is the case with other small-market franchises, the Tampa Bay Rays enter the offseasons with limited budget to work with, putting them at a disadvantage compared to their AL East counterparts.

    They've always managed to field a competitive roster, and this season won't be any different, as Jose Molina, Carlos Pena and Fernando Rodney (among others) are good adds for the Rays.

    Opening Day Grade: C+

Texas Rangers

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: B-

    The Texas Rangers will have the eyes of Japan focused on them this season, as Yu Darvish stands to become one of the more intriguing pitchers we'll get to see this summer.

    He came into spring training with high expectations, but has performed well, with a 1-0 record and 21 strikeouts in 15 innings.

    Joe Nathan will be a big player to watch as well, as he takes over the ninth-inning role for the Rangers, just two years off of Tommy John surgery.

    Opening Day Grade: B+

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: C

    After coming shockingly close to winning the bid for Yu Darvish this past offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays focused more on their bullpen, with Sergio Santos coming over from Chicago and the ageless Darren Oliver heading north of the border.

    These moves were pretty important for the Jays, as a number of relievers, including Frank Francisco, left for other organizations.

    Opening Day Grade: C

Washington Nationals

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    Sporting News Offseason Grade: B

    The Washington Nationals obviously weren't content with watching the Miami Marlins stockpile talent in an effort to compete with the Philadelphia Phillies, as they themselves were quite active this offseason, bolstering their starting rotation with Edwin Jackson and Gio Gonzalez.

    They did give up a number of prospects for Gonzalez, but the team suddenly has the makings of a very strong rotation with ace Stephen Strasburg leading the way.

    Opening Day Grade: B+

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