MLB Power Rankings: Offseason Report Cards for All 30 Teams

Ely SussmanCorrespondent IJanuary 24, 2013

MLB Power Rankings: Offseason Report Cards for All 30 Teams

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    MLB teams have used the 2012-13 offseason to position themselves for immediate or eventual success. Grades on the following report cards reflect how sensibly they prepared for 2013 and beyond.

    Aside from free-agent signings and trade acquisitions, this slideshow takes contract extensions and missed opportunities into account.

    The "new faces" named atop each summary include players who were with other organizations the previous season. Barring serious injury, all of them will see active duty this coming summer (though not necessarily on Opening Day).

    More movement is inevitable, but up to this point, let's ranks the clubs based on what they have done to improve.

30. Miami Marlins

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    New faces: SP Henderson Alvarez, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, C Jeff Mathis, LF Juan Pierre, 3B Placido Polanco.

    The Miami Marlins replenished their farm system and inked a couple stopgap position players. 

    On the other hand, they infuriated the fanbase by dumping their best remaining veterans.

    The Fish head toward 2013 with the sport's lowest payroll.

    Overall grade: F

29. Colorado Rockies

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    New faces: RP Wilton Lopez, SP Chris Volstad.

    The Colorado Rockies need pitching reinforcements but have been reluctant to trade any of their outfielders for a legitimate, controllable arm.

    Neither Miguel Batista (minor league contract) nor Volstad will make much of an impact.

    At least Lopez is a smart bullpen addition.

    Overall grade: D

28. San Diego Padres

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    New faces: None.

    This stagnation is unacceptable.

    The San Diego Padres have no chance to compete in the NL West, where the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants each completed multiple deals with reputable free agents.

    Instead, they will rely on Jason Marquis to stabilize the rotation until Andrew Cashner and Cory Luebke return.

    Overall grade: C-

27. Seattle Mariners

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    New faces: LF Jason Bay, LF/DH Raul Ibanez, 1B/DH Kendrys Morales, 1B/OF Mike Morse.

    The Seattle Mariners overloaded their roster with power hitters, but each of them will hit free agency after the 2013 season.

    Do they expect to contend this year? That's not realistic.

    Extending Hisashi Iwakuma is a nice consolation.

    Jeremy Bonderman (minor league contract) has returned to the mound for the first time since 2010. Unfortunately, he won't be of much use to the M's unless he returns to 2006 form.

    Overall grade: C

26. Texas Rangers

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    New faces: DH/1B Lance Berkman, C A.J. Pierzynski, RP Joakim Soria.

    All indications were that the Texas Rangers would make a big commitment to either Zack Greinke or Josh Hamilton.

    Both courtships failed.

    To add insult to injury, the latter signed with the division rival Los Angeles Angels, and the Rangers still haven't added an outfielder to take his place.

    Berkman will make an eight-figure salary in 2013 despite skepticism about his health and motivation. Pierzynski is a regression candidate at age 36.

    Extending Matt Harrison has been the lone bright spot.

    Overall grade: C

25. New York Yankees

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    New faces: 3B Kevin Youkilis.

    Both Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte received hefty raises to return for 2013.

    Otherwise, the New York Yankees have been uncharacteristically quiet this winter, even as division rivals make significant improvements.

    The catching situation is a mess. Plus, the Bombers signed one injury-prone, declining third baseman to replace another.

    Overall grade: C

24. Houston Astros

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    New faces: SP Philip Humber, DH/1B Carlos Pena, RP Jose Veras, SP Alex White.

    Whatever they did this winter, the Houston Astros weren't going to escape the AL West cellar. The franchise is committed to a gradual rebuilding effort.

    Humber and Pena joined at bargain prices coming off mediocre years.

    Surprisingly, the front office hasn't considered extending any of its young regulars.

    Overall grade: C+

23. Kansas City Royals

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    New faces: SP Wade Davis, SP Ervin Santana, SP James Shields.

    There has been some ill-advised spending by the Kansas City Royals as they make a push for AL Central supremacy.

    Scrambling to trade for Santana before he reached free agency, K.C. agreed to pay all but $1 million of his salary. It's also hard to believe that the Royals needed to make a three-year offer to Jeremy Guthrie.

    Shields is an established ace, and Davis has a dreamy, team-friendly contract. Still, they overpaid by moving three MLB-ready prospects.

    Overall grade: C+

22. Baltimore Orioles

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    New faces: 2B Alexi Casilla.

    Re-signing Nate McLouth is the biggest splash the Baltimore Orioles have made on the trade/free-agent markets this winter. That idleness could come back to bite them.

    The perception of their offseason will change if they acquire either of their top targets, Jason Kubel or Joe Saunders.

    Casilla fits nicely with the O's considering his defensive excellence and Brian Roberts' durability concerns.

    At least they extended Buck Showalter's contract. The 2012 team bought into his philosophy and overachieved.

    Overall grade: C+

21. Milwaukee Brewers

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    New faces: RP Burke Badenhop, RP Michael Gonzalez, RP Tom Gorzelanny.

    The Milwaukee Brewers have neglected all other areas to focus on the bullpen.

    It hasn't been a total waste. At least Badenhop and Gorzelanny are under control through 2014.

    Overall grade: C+

20. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    New faces: SP Zack Greinke, SP Hyun-jin Ryu, 2B/OF Skip Schumaker.

    With expendable starting pitchers and infielders, the Los Angeles Dodgers can climb higher in these power rankings by getting reasonable packages in return.

    They committed more than $200 million to Greinke and Ryu.

    Apparently, L.A. sees brilliance in Brandon League that nobody else does. His three-year, $22.5 million extension is pretty head-scratching.

    Overall grade: C+

19. Minnesota Twins

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    New faces: SP Kevin Correia, SP/RP Rich Harden, SP Mike Pelfrey, SP Vance Worley.

    The Minnesota Twins didn't go quite far enough in efforts to revamp their starting rotation.

    Correia has done nothing to deserve a multi-year deal, and it's unclear how many innings Pelfrey can contribute in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. Though Worley is cheap and controllable, he doesn't have top-of-the-rotation tools.

    The real victory for this team was building up minor league depth. Trevor May and Alex Meyer each have very high ceilings.

    Overall grade: B-

18. St. Louis Cardinals

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    New faces: RP Randy Choate, IF Ty Wigginton.

    A very slow winter for the St. Louis Cardinals shouldn't worry their fans. This club has terrific starting rotation depth and quality at all three outfield positions.

    Choate is the LOOGY they've been missing, while Wigginton improves an otherwise powerless bench.

    But we can't truly consider their offseason a success until the front office works out an extension with Adam Wainwright. ESPN.com's Jim Bowden tweets that the Cardinals aim to reach an agreement by Opening Day.

    Overall grade: B

17. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    New faces: SP Francisco Liriano, C Russell Martin, RP Mark Melancon, OF/1B Jerry Sands.

    Opposing baserunners will think twice before attempting to run with Martin behind the plate. Rod Barajas, last year's primary catcher, was historically ineffective in that department.

    Despite all the competition for his services, the Pittsburgh Pirates re-signed Jason Grilli pretty cheaply. In fact, Joel Hanrahan earns more in 2013 than Grilli will over the next two seasons!

    Trading the former allowed them to sign Liriano, whose strikeout ability could make him great in the National League.

    Overall grade: B

16. Los Angeles Angels

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    New faces: SP Joe Blanton, LF Josh Hamilton, SP Tommy Hanson, RP Ryan Madson, SP Jason Vargas.

    Wooing Hamilton away from the Texas Rangers should allow Los Angeles to leap them in the standings...if the new pitchers step up.

    Blanton and Vargas can be trusted to eat innings, but both are reliant on the defense behind them. Hanson, meanwhile, has been trending in the wrong direction since his stellar MLB debut. The Halos gave up an important bullpen piece to get him.

    Overall grade: B

15. Philadelphia Phillies

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    New faces: RP Mike Adams, SP John Lannan, CF Ben Revere, OF Delmon Young, 3B Michael Young.

    The Philadelphia Phillies got Adams at a discount as he recovers from thoracic outlet syndrome. Lannan also signed cheaply after spending most of 2012 in the minors.

    However, the team probably gave up too much in trades for Revere and Young considering that neither has decent plate discipline.

    Overall grade: B

14. Detroit Tigers

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    New faces: RF Torii Hunter.

    Sure, Anibal Sanchez rode a hot streak through September and the postseason, and he's in the prime of his career.

    But an $80 million contract?

    At least the right-hander is consistent (three straight seasons with sub-3.90 ERA and 195-plus IP).

    The Detroit Tigers splurged on Torii Hunter too, though that's more understandable. The corner outfield spots were an area of weakness entering the offseason.

    Overall grade: B

13. San Francisco Giants

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    New faces: RP/SP Chad Gaudin, OF Andres Torres.

    It's tough to deride the San Francisco Giants, even if they overpaid to retain their 2012 heroes. Jeremy Affeldt, Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro all occupy important roles.

    Gaudin hasn't started an MLB game since 2009, so he's not the ideal swingman for this pitching staff.

    Overall grade: B

12. Cleveland Indians

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    New faces: RP Matt Albers, SP Trevor Bauer, SP Brett Myers, 1B Mark Reynolds, CF Drew Stubbs, RF Nick Swisher.

    Stubbs, a former first-round pick, is running out of time to fix the holes in his swing. In case he does, the Cleveland Indians can retain him through 2015.

    Though Swisher has been so consistent at the plate from year to year, he should be considered the Tribe's riskiest pick-up.

    Health permitting, the enthusiastic outfielder will eat up $14 million in payroll annually for the next five years. Cleveland made a similar commitment to Travis Hafner entering the decline phase of his career, and that didn't work out so well.

    Overall grade: B

11. Tampa Bay Rays

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    New faces: SS Yunel Escobar, RP/SP Roberto Hernandez, 1B James Loney, OF Wil Myers, SP Jake Odorizzi.

    Even if it takes a couple months, newly acquired prospects Myers and Odorizzi will impact the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013. The former provides the franchise with cheap power for at least the next seven seasons.

    Hernandez certainly isn't a dominant long reliever like Wade Davis was. Also, even if Loney bounces back, he won't contribute many extra-base hits.

    Escobar could single-handedly make or break the Rays.

    The hope is that he can mature and maximize his talent. In case that doesn't happen, Tampa Bay can part with him after the season.

    Overall grade: B

10. New York Mets

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    New faces: C John Buck, C Travis d'Arnaud, SP Shaun Marcum.

    Between d'Arnaud and right-hander Noah Syndergaard, the New York Mets were well-compensated for knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Both have the tools to be standout MLB players.

    David Wright's extension also comes as comforting news.

    Jon Heyman of CBS Sports breaks the news of Marcum's one-year deal. He'll be a suitable stopgap until Syndergaard is ready for the big leagues.

    The only roster weakness left unresolved is the outfield.

    Overall grade: B

9. Boston Red Sox

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    New faces: SP Ryan Dempster, SS Stephen Drew, LF Jonny Gomes, RP Joel Hanrahan, 1B/C Mike Napoli, RP Koji Uehara, RF Shane Victorino.

    All the roster turnover makes you wonder whether the Boston Red Sox will be able to jell with one another.

    Though some of the above free-agent acquisitions were ill-advised, a few make perfect sense.

    Drew is going to serve as a stopgap at shortstop while top Red Sox prospects complete their development. Inking Uehara for just $4.25 million was also a great feat. He has been brilliant as a strike-throwing reliever over the past three seasons.

    Overall grade: B+

8. Atlanta Braves

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    New faces: C Gerald Laird, CF B.J. Upton, LF Justin Upton, RP Jordan Walden.

    In the quest for their first World Series berth of this millennium, the Atlanta Braves signed Laird, who has played in each of the past two. He can fill in adequately should Brian McCann (shoulder) miss Opening Day.

    Walden is under team control through 2016 and is much better than most low-leverage middle relievers.

    B.J.'s durability and athleticism ensures that he'll provide significant value over the length of his long-term deal. At $15 million per year, however, the Braves expect him to develop on-base skills.

    And now, his ultra-talented brother will play alongside him. The acquisition brings Atlanta's lineup to an elite level.

    Overall grade: B+

7. Chicago White Sox

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    New faces: 3B Jeff Keppinger, RP Matt Lindstrom.

    Agreeing to terms with Jake Peavy before he hit free agency was huge. When healthy, the right-hander is overpowering and efficient.

    Keppinger and Lindstrom replace Kevin Youkilis and Brett Myers, respectively, but at lesser costs.

    Simple yet effective decisions by new GM Rick Hahn.

    Overall grade: B+

6. Cincinnati Reds

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    New faces: CF Shin-Soo Choo, 3B Jack Hannahan.

    Guaranteeing three years to any reliever is a risk. More likely than not, the Cincinnati Reds will regret spending big bucks to retain Jonathan Broxton.

    But in other news, they participated in a great trade to address their leadoff spot woes.

    Choo represents a clear upgrade over Drew Stubbs. Departed shortstop Didi Gregorius was blocked at the major league level and struggled to develop his bat.

    Also, Cincinnati re-signed Ryan Ludwick at a relatively friendly rate.

    Overall grade: B+

5. Oakland Athletics

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    New faces: C John Jaso, SS Hiroyuki Nakajima, CF Chris Young.

    The Oakland Athletics completed a handful of low-risk moves with potentially high rewards.

    Jaso and Nakajima are both inexpensive, as is Bartolo Colon, whom the A's re-signed in early November.

    Letting Jonny Gomes leave via free agency was very wise. Young has the same guaranteed money left on his contract, but much more upside considering his defense and speed.

    Overall grade: B+

4. Chicago Cubs

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    New faces: SP Scott Baker, SP/RP Scott Feldman, RP Kyuji Fujikawa, OF Scott Hairston, SP Edwin Jackson, OF Nate Schierholtz, SP/RP Carlos Villanueva.

    The Chicago Cubs have quietly positioned themselves to contend for a postseason berth in 2014.

    Baker and Feldman can each be flipped for prospects at July's non-waiver trade deadline. All the other notable newcomers, meanwhile, are under contract or team control for at least the next two summers.

    Theo Epstein and the front office came up short in the bidding for Anibal Sanchez, settling for Jackson instead. The proposed Dan Haren/Carlos Marmol trade also fell through at the 11th hour.

    Overall grade: B+

3. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    New faces: RP Heath Bell, 3B Eric Chavez, SS Didi Gregorius, SP Brandon McCarthy, SS Cliff Pennington, 3B Martin Prado, OF Cody Ross, RP Tony Sipp.

    General manager Kevin Towers ought to be pleased. He unloaded excess outfielder Justin Upton the day before a scheduled vacation.

    The Arizona Diamondbacks continue to build shortstop depth. They received Gregorius and Pennington in a previous trade, and they acquired 22-year-old Nick Ahmed from the Atlanta Braves.

    Prado's positional versatility and offensive skill set make him one of baseball's most underrated individuals. The D-Backs might engage in extension talks with the impending free agent.

    McCarthy will be a great bargain so long as he avoids the disabled list. Past and present teammate Trevor Cahill made the same transition from the Oakland Athletics to the desert during the 2012 season.

    Overall grade: A

2. Washington Nationals

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    New faces: SP Dan Haren, RP Rafael Soriano, CF Denard Span.

    Despite the big-name additions, the Washington Nationals will keep payroll reasonable. Span is already locked in at a very team-friendly rate, while half of Soriano's $28 million contract has been deferred.

    In Haren, the reigning NL East champs have a No. 5 starter with All-Star potential.

    Obtaining these veterans forced the Nats to sacrifice a promising prospect (Alex Meyer) and a future first-round draft pick. They received two young players, however, by moving Mike Morse.

    Overall grade: A

1. Toronto Blue Jays

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    New faces: SP Mark Buehrle, IF Emilio Bonifacio, LF Melky Cabrera, IF/OF Mark DeRosa, SP R.A. Dickey, IF Maicer Izturis, SP Josh Johnson, C Josh Thole.

    The Toronto Blue Jays have the same chemistry concern as other active teams, especially considering all the influential veterans who are new to the organization.

    In three months, GM Alex Anthopoulos brought Toronto from an afterthought to the favorite to win the American League. The flexibility to add tens of millions of dollars in payroll was obviously essential.

    Unlike in previous years, the Blue Jays have versatile position players and an accomplished starting rotation to complement their power hitters.

    Overall grade: A