Offseason Grades: American League
Yesterday, I graded each National League team on their offseason. Today, I will take a look at the American League.
Like with the NL, I will use a standard A,B,C, etc...grading format.
Minnesota Twins: Grade: A+
I thought the Twins had a phenomenal offseason. They started by stealing JJ Hardy from the Milwaukee Brewers and it only got better from there.
The Twins were able to snag Orlando Hudson to pair with Hardy for a pretty slick fielding double-play combination. Hudson is a perfect fit for the Twins.
Minnesota also signed Jim Thome at a discounted rate. Thome should provide some serious pop against right-handed pitching.
Boston Red Sox: Grade: A
What makes Theo Epstein a great GM, is that he is able to pinpoint his team’s needs and then go out and get the necessary parts. Epstein saw the Red Sox’s defensive deficiencies and a need for another starter and got what he needed.
The Red Sox added defensive standouts Mike Cameron and Adrian Beltre and added the best free agent pitcher on the market in John Lackey. Beltre signed a one-year deal just to play with the Red Sox, which was a steal.
I would have given the Red Sox an A+, but I wasn’t a fan of the Marco Scutaro signing.
New York Yankees: Grade: A
The Yankees don’t rebuild, they reload. The Yankees replaced World Series hero Hideki Matsui with OBP machine Nick Johnson.
They also replaced fan favorite Johnny Damon with soon-to-be fan favorite Curtis Granderson. Since the Red Sox went out and acquired a front-line starting pitcher, the Yankees had to match and went out and traded for Javier Vazquez.
Baltimore Orioles: Grade: B+
I was a big fan of what the Orioles did this offseason. They signed some veterans to help improve the club, but did so without blocking their top talent.
Mike Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada, Garrett Atkins, and Kevin Millwood should help the Orioles be more competitive in 2010 and keep the seat warm for such players as Josh Bell, Brandon Snyder, and Brian Matusz.
Seattle Mariners: Grade: B+
The Mariners had perhaps the most active offseason of any team this winter. It seemed like every week they were adding a player.
Seattle added a second ace in Cliff Lee, a solid replacement for Beltre in Chone Figgins, and they traded for Milton Bradley. Those are some pretty good acquisitions. I think Bradley will be fine in Seattle.
They also re-signed Jack Wilson and signed Casey Kotchman, which is in-line with GM Jack Zduriencik’s defensive first mentality. I held back on giving the Mariners an A because I still think they needed another bat.
Tampa Bay Rays: Grade: B+
The Rays finally listened to me and got the closer they so desperately needed. There was no way they could have gone into 2010 with Dan Wheeler and JP Howell as their closers.
Newly acquired Rafael Soriano should really help stabilize the bullpen. For that acquisition alone, I give the Rays a high grade.
Detroit Tigers: Grade: B
The Tigers traded Granderson and Edwin Jackson and replaced them with Max Scherzer and Damon. I think Scherzer will be better than Jackson in the long-run, but Damon is only a rental player.
The Tigers also replaced Fernando Rodney with Jose Valverde, which should be an upgrade. At the end of the day, I thought the Tigers had a good, but not great offseason.
Texas Rangers: Grade: B
The Rangers were working with a limited budget this offseason, and I thought they did okay considering what they had to work with.
Trading Millwood was a salary dump and they used that money to sign Rich Harden. Harden could be the best move of the offseason or the worst. There is no telling how healthy Harden will stay next season.
The Rangers also replaced Hank Blalock with Vladimir Guerrero, which is an upgrade. I think “Vlad” still has something left and it’s more than what Blalock would have given them.
Chicago White Sox: Grade: B-
The White Sox did most of their offseason shopping during the end of last year’s regular season when they added Jake Peavy and Alex Rios. They were able to add some offense trading for Mark Teahen and Juan Pierre.
Chicago also brought in veterans Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones, and JJ Putz. I believe they could have used another bat.
Toronto Blue Jays: Grade: B
I know it’s hard to give a team a positive grade when they trade their best player and the best pitcher in the game, but all things considered, I thought the Blue Jays got a good return for Roy Halladay.
Brett Wallace will be in the major leagues at some point in 2010 and Kyle Drabek shouldn’t be too far behind. Wallace and Drabek were the centerpieces of the trade that also sent catcher Travis D’Arnaud to the Blue Jays as well.
They drop a notch for me because of the Kevin Gregg signing. He is terrible.
Cleveland Indians: Grade: C
The Indians are going to face the same problem the Orioles have faced for the past couple of years—despite having a good offense, nobody on this team can pitch.
This pitching staff from top to bottom is going to take a beating this season and I thought they should have signed a veteran to take the pressure off the youngsters.
The only major acquisition Cleveland made was the signing of Russell Branyan, which is nothing special.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Grade: C+
The Angels lost their best pitcher in Lackey, their table setter in Figgins, and Guerrero. That is a lot to lose in one offseason.
They were however, able to re-sign Bobby Abreu and added Matsui to replace Guerrero. The Angels also signed Rodney and Joel Pineiro to two-year contracts.
I wasn’t a fan of either signing.
Oakland A’s: Grade: C
The A’s missed out on Scutaro, Beltre, and Jamey Carroll, so it’s hard to give them a positive grade. Also throwing $8 million at Ben Sheets is a lot of money to pay a guy just so they can trade him in July.
Oakland did bring in a slew of outfielders this offseason such as Coco Crisp, Jake Fox, and they did re-sign Jack Cust. On a positive note, I thought trading Wallace for superstar-to-be Michael Taylor was an upgrade.
Kansas City Royals: Grade: C-
The Royals had another rough offseason in my opinion. I was in shock when they signed Jason Kendall to a two-year contract. He should have been lucky to even get a major league deal.
Rick Ankiel should be an upgrade over Jose Guillen in right, but Scott Podsednik will probably be a defensive liability in center. It will be interesting to see if the Royals can get anything out of former top prospect Josh Fields.
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