Grading Each MLB Team's Offseason Moves Entering 2019
There's a lot left to be decided this offseason, starting with the free-agency destinations of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
That said, there's also a lot that has already happened, from impact signings to blockbuster trades, so let's take this opportunity as we approach 2019 to unpack what's happened so far this winter.
Rosters are obviously still incomplete, but we've graded each team based on what it has done so far this offseason and its remaining needs that require attention.
Teams were given grades of A, B, C, D or F based on their offseasons to date.
Think of a "C" as satisfactory, while anything above represents an offseason winner and anything below an offseason loser.
Note: Italics indicate that a player is not a member of the 40-man roster.
Key Additions: RHP Merrill Kelly (FA, 2/$5.5M), SP Luke Weaver (Trade, STL), C Carson Kelly (Trade, STL), RP Nick Green (Rule 5, NYY), IF Andy Young (Trade, STL)
Key Subtractions: 1B Paul Goldschmidt (Trade, STL)
The decision to trade Paul Goldschmidt a year away from free agency was the right one for the Arizona Diamondbacks. They were able to maximize his remaining value, and by getting MLB-ready talent in return, they're better positioned for a quick return to contention.
Luke Weaver (through 2023) and Carson Kelly (through 2024) both have several years of team control remaining and are capable of emerging as long-term pieces.
Right-hander Merrill Kelly reached Triple-A in the Rays organization before taking his talents overseas, where he posted a 3.80 ERA the past three seasons while averaging 190 innings in the hitter-friendly KBO. He'll receive every chance to snag the No. 5 starter gig, and the D-backs are hoping they found this year's Miles Mikolas.
Key Additions: 3B Josh Donaldson (FA, 1/$23M), C Brian McCann (FA, 1/$2M), C Raffy Lopez (Trade, SD)
Key Subtractions: None
Josh Donaldson opted for a one-year pillow contract with an Atlanta Braves team on the rise as he looks to rebuild his stock after an injury-plagued 2018 season. The 33-year-old was starting to look like the feared slugger of old after the Toronto Blue Jays traded him to the Cleveland Indians at the August deadline. He hit .280/.400/.520 over 60 plate appearances.
For an Atlanta team with money to spend, signing him is a great low-risk, high-reward move.
Signing Brian McCann, 34, to replace Kurt Suzuki in a platoon with Tyler Flowers brings the seven-time All-Star back to where it all began. He's at least capable of matching Suzuki's production, and he'll be a good sounding board for the young pitching staff.
Atlanta still has work to do. The potential departure of Nick Markakis creates a hole in right field, the bullpen could use an experienced late-inning arm or two, and the starting rotation would benefit greatly from another top-tier arm. The National League East has been busy, so the Braves can't rest on their laurels.
Key Additions: SS Richie Martin (Rule 5, OAK), SS Drew Jackson (LAD), 3B Rio Ruiz (Waivers, ATL)
Key Subtractions: None
Would the Baltimore Orioles consider using a Rule 5 pick as their starting shortstop?
Of course, the rebuttal to that would be: What do they have to lose?
Richie Martin was the No. 1 pick in this year's Rule 5 draft after a breakout offensive season in the Oakland system saw him hit .300/.368/.439 with 43 extra-base hits and 25 steals in a full season at Double-A. He was the No. 20 pick in the 2015 draft on the strength of his plus glove, so if he can produce even league-average offensive numbers, he'd be an asset.
Meanwhile, Drew Jackson showed an intriguing mix of power (20 2B, 15 HR) and speed (22 SB) to go along with an .804 OPS at Double-A in the Dodgers organization. He probably fits better in a super-utility role, though he's a capable defender at shortstop.
Expect the O's to wait out the free-agent market and do some bargain shopping in February. It's the right move for a team just starting what figures to be a lengthy rebuild.
Boston Red Sox
Key Additions: SP Nathan Eovaldi (FA, 4/$68M), 1B Steve Pearce (FA, 1/$6.25M), RP Colten Brewer (Trade, SD)
Key Subtractions: None
Most pitchers have some rust to shake off in their returns from Tommy John surgery, and Nathan Eovaldi was no different. By season's end, he was throwing the ball as well as anyone.
The 28-year-old pitched to a sterling 1.61 ERA in 22.1 postseason innings, and with Chris Sale and Rick Porcello both headed for free agency next winter, the Red Sox moved quickly to bring him back on a four-year deal.
Also back in the mix is 2018 World Series MVP Steve Pearce, who will again serve as the right-handed hitting side of a platoon with Mitch Moreland at first base while also providing the defensive versatility to play second base, third base and the corner outfield if needed.
Who's going to close games? Letting Craig Kimbrel walk is fine—especially if he holds firm to his six-year, $100 million asking price, according to Jayson Stark of The Athletic. But a team with legitimate World Series aspirations can't go into the 2019 season hoping Matt Barnes (two career saves) and Ryan Brasier (zero career saves) can handle closing out games.
Key Additions: IF Daniel Descalso (FA, 2/$5M), SP Kendall Graveman (FA, 1/$575K), RP Rowan Wick (Trade, SD)
Key Subtractions: IF Tommy La Stella (Trade, LAA)
Are the Chicago Cubs really cash-strapped to the point that they're going to let the rest of the NL Central pass them by?
The Milwaukee Brewers stole division supremacy last season, and the St. Louis Cardinals have undoubtedly gotten better with the additions of Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew Miller.
Meanwhile, the Cubs have added a utility infielder (Daniel Descalso) and an injury reclamation project (Kendall Graveman). That's the extent of their offseason activity.
Maybe they're waiting on Bryce Harper's decision before moving on the secondary market. Maybe they're canvassing the trade block and setting the foundation for a blockbuster move. One way or another, they need to do more between now and Opening Day in March.
Chicago White Sox
Key Additions: SP Ivan Nova (Trade, PIT), 1B Yonder Alonso (Trade, CLE), C James McCann (FA, 1/$2.5M), RP Alex Colome (Trade, SEA), SP Manny Banuelos (Trade, LAD)
Key Subtractions: C Omar Narvaez (Trade, SEA)
With money to spend and a rebuild that might be close to turning a corner, the Chicago White Sox are legitimate suitors in the Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sweepstakes.
While they await those decisions, they've done an excellent job of taking advantage of their payroll flexibility by trading with teams looking to shed payroll.
The White Sox acquired Ivan Nova ($9.2 million), Yonder Alonso ($8 million) and Alex Colome ($7.3 million projected) for minimal returns thanks to the organization's willingness to absorb their entire salaries.
Nova, 31, will provide the young rotation with a veteran innings-eater to replace James Shields. Alonso opens the door for a potential Jose Abreu trade. And Colome will step into the closer's role and provide a valuable trade chip come July.
The White Sox's offseason grade will swing greatly based on where Machado and Harper land. To this point, it's been a productive offseason.
Key Additions: OF Yasiel Puig (Trade, LAD), SP Alex Wood (Trade, LAD), SP Tanner Roark (Trade, WAS), OF Matt Kemp (Trade, LAD), C/IF Kyle Farmer (Trade, LAD), RP Matt Bowman (Waivers, STL), RP Robby Scott (Waivers, BOS), IF Connor Joe (Rule 5, LAD), OF Jordan Patterson (MiLB deal)
Key Subtractions: SP Homer Bailey (Trade, LAD), SS Jeter Downs (Trade, LAD), SP Josiah Gray (Trade, LAD), RP Tanner Rainey (Trade, WAS)
The dust is still settling on a blockbuster deal that saw the Cincinnati Reds package Homer Bailey with a pair of second-tier prospects to acquire Alex Wood, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Kyle Farmer from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It's a short-term move with Wood and Puig both a year removed from free agency. But the $23 million the Reds were set to pay Bailey was a sunk cost, so they'll at least get some bang for their buck now.
Tanner Roark will join Wood as a new addition to the starting rotation—a major area of weakness for the Reds in recent seasons—while waiver claims Matt Bowman and Robby Scott both have shots at cracking the MLB bullpen.
Closer Raisel Iglesias' team-friendly three-year, $24.1 million extension also factors into their offseason grade.
All in all, if the season started today, it would have been a productive winter in Cincinnati.
Key Additions: 1B Carlos Santana (Trade, PHI), 1B Jake Bauers (Trade, TB), OF Jordan Luplow (Trade, PIT), IF Max Moroff (Trade, PIT), SP Walker Lockett (Trade, SD), SP Chih-Wei Hu (Trade, TB), SP Jefry Rodriguez (Trade, WAS), OF Daniel Johnson (Trade, WAS)
Key Subtractions: DH Edwin Encarnacion (Trade, SEA), 1B Yonder Alonso (Trade, CWS), C Yan Gomes (Trade, WAS), 3B Yandy Diaz (Trade, TB), IF Erik Gonzalez (Trade, PIT), RP Kyle Dowdy (Rule 5, NYM)
Reports that the Cleveland Indians were looking to shed payroll this offseason were initially received with expected skepticism, given that the team's window of contention was still wide-open.
So far, they've turned Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso—who were set to earn a combined $29.7 million in 2019—into old friend Carlos Santana ($18.3 million) and former top-100 prospect Jake Bauers (league minimum), who is under team control through 2024.
It remains to be seen who replaces Yan Gomes behind the plate, and there's plenty of room to upgrade a projected outfield of Greg Allen, Leonys Martin and Tyler Naquin. The bullpen also lost Cody Allen, Andrew Miller and Oliver Perez. It's time to put their newfound payroll flexibility to work.
However, the four-year, $47 million extension signed by Carlos Carrasco is a huge feather in their cap.
Key Additions: 1B Daniel Murphy (FA, 2/$24M)
Key Subtractions: RP Brandon Brennan (Rule 5, SEA)
The Colorado Rockies shelled out $24 million over two years to sign Daniel Murphy to play first base.
While there was a clear hole to fill at the position, and Murphy bounced back from an injury-shortened first half to hit .315/.346/.498 with 11 home runs after the All-Star break, that money would have been better spent elsewhere.
For example, it cost the New York Mets just $19 million on a two-year deal to sign Wilson Ramos. Meanwhile, the Rockies are set to use the same combination of Chris Iannetta, Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy behind the plate that produced a brutal .206/.307/.349 line last year.
That money also could have been used to help entice Adam Ottavino—the team's best reliever last season—to re-sign or to sign a bullpen arm of equal competency.
Murphy has a chance to provide some decent value on his two-year pact, especially if he's healthy. There were simply more pressing needs.
Key Additions: SP Tyson Ross (FA, 1/$5.75M), SS Jordy Mercer (1/$5.25M), SP Matt Moore (FA, 1/$2.5M), RP Reed Garrett (Rule 5, TEX), IF Brandon Dixon (Waivers, CIN), RP Jose Fernandez (Waivers, TOR)
Key Subtractions: None
The Detroit Tigers did well shopping for potential trade chips last offseason. They signed starter Mike Fiers and center fielder Leonys Martin to one-year deals and were able to flip them both for prospects before the season was over.
As the rebuild continues, they've taken a similar approach this year.
Tyson Ross and Matt Moore both represent low-risk signings with the upside to emerge as coveted trade targets in July, while Jordy Mercer is the perfect stopgap solution at shortstop following the departure of Jose Iglesias.
Finding a trade partner for slugger Nicholas Castellanos remains a priority, and they would benefit from adding an experienced catcher after non-tendering James McCann. Still, it's been another productive offseason for a team that's approaching the rebuilding process with the necessary patience.
Key Additions: LF Michael Brantley (FA, 2/$32M), C Robinson Chirinos (FA, 1/$5.75M), SS Aledmys Diaz (Trade, TOR)
Key Subtractions: SP Trent Thornton (Trade, TOR), RP Riley Ferrell (Rule 5, MIA), OF Drew Ferguson (Rule 5, SF)
Michael Brantley represented one of the better offensive players on the free-agent market. The 31-year-old hit .309/.364/.468 with 55 extra-base hits en route to 3.6 WAR in 2018, and he became an even more attractive target when the Indians opted against extending him a qualifying offer.
However, he also played a combined 101 games in 2016 and 2017 while dealing with a nagging shoulder injury and an ankle strain. A four-year deal seemed possible, even likely, making him one of the biggest risk/reward targets available. The fact that the Houston Astros were able to add him with just a two-year commitment was a major coup.
They also signed catcher Robinson Chirinos and traded for infielder Aledmys Diaz to replace Martin Maldonado/Brian McCann and Marwin Gonzalez. Both roster spots could still be further upgraded, but they at least have fallback plans in place.
The big question is what they're going to do about the starting rotation. In theory, some combination of Josh James, Framber Valdez, Collin McHugh and Brad Peacock could fill the three vacant spots. That would be a risky approach, though.
Kansas City Royals
Key Additions: OF Billy Hamilton (FA, 1/$5.25M), IF/OF Chris Owings (FA, 1/$3M), RP Chris Ellis (Rule 5, STL), RP Sam McWilliams (Rule 5, TB), RP Conner Greene (Waivers, STL), OF Terrance Gore (FA, 1/$650K)
Key Subtractions: RP Elvis Luciano (Rule 5, TOR)
With a rebuild underway in Kansas City, the Royals will be bargain shopping this winter.
Speedster Billy Hamilton and versatile utility man Chris Owings were both quality low-cost additions on one-year deals, and both could conceivably emerge as trade chips by the summer.
Rule 5 picks Chris Ellis and Sam McWilliams are both MLB-ready arms with starting experience who should be able to stick on the 25-man roster. After hitting on Brad Keller last season, it's not surprising to see them trying their luck again.
A hard-line stance to hold on to Whit Merrifield so far this offseason is the one thing keeping them from an "A" grade. His value will never be higher, and he'll be gone by the time the team is ready to contend again. Trade him. Trade him now.
Los Angeles Angels
Key Additions: SP Matt Harvey (FA, 1/$11M), SP Trevor Cahill (FA, 1/$9M), 1B Justin Bour (FA, 1/$2.5M), IF Tommy La Stella (Trade, CHC), C Kevan Smith (Waivers, CWS), RP Luis Garcia (Trade, PHI), RP Austin Brice (Waivers, CIN), SP Dillon Peters (Trade, MIA)
Key Subtractions: RP Jose Alvarez (Trade, PHI)
In an effort to bolster a rotation that saw 16 different pitchers make at least one start and finished 19th in the majors with a 4.34 ERA, the Los Angeles Angels have added Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill on one-year deals for a combined $20 million.
That veteran duo will team with some combination of Andrew Heaney, Tyler Skaggs, Jaime Barria, Felix Pena and Nick Tropeano to make up the 2019 rotation. It should be an improved staff, but it still looks to be far from a strength.
Slugger Justin Bour and infielder Tommy La Stella add some nice depth, and Luis Garcia is a nice buy-low addition to the bullpen.
Has this team done enough to bridge the gap to the AL contenders?
Los Angeles Dodgers
Key Additions: RP Joe Kelly (FA, 3/$25M), SP Hyun-Jin Ryu (QO, 1/$17.9M), RP Adam McCreery (Trade, ATL), SP Homer Bailey (Trade, CIN), SS Jeter Downs (Trade, CIN), SP Josiah Gray (Trade, CIN)
Key Subtractions: OF Yasiel Puig (Trade, CIN), SP Alex Wood (Trade, CIN), OF Matt Kemp (Trade, CIN), SS Drew Jackson (Rule 5, BAL), IF Connor Joe (Rule 5, CIN), SP Manny Banuelos (Trade, CWS)
The Los Angeles Dodgers moved quickly to lock up Clayton Kershaw on a three-year, $93 million extension, and they also brought back David Freese on a one-year, $4.5 million deal after initially declining his $6 million team option in favor of a $1 million buyout.
Joe Kelly was one of the first dominoes to fall on the reliever market, signing a three-year deal to provide a more stable bridge to closer Kenley Jansen.
Lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu also returns after accepting his qualifying offer, which made it easier to include Alex Wood in the trade that also shipped Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to the Reds in exchange for the bad contract of Homer Bailey and a pair of prospects.
Jeff Todd of MLBTradeRumors explained the financial implications of that trade: "Net it all out, and it seems that the Dodgers will take on $28MM in new obligations, plus the $7MM they're covering of the old ones, while sending approximately $42MM to the Reds, who'll end up taking on only ~$7MM in total new salary in the deal."
That financial flexibility could help facilitate an eventual Bryce Harper signing. Either way, it helps from a luxury-tax standpoint and allows them to remain active on the free-agent market.
Key Additions: OF Victor Victor Mesa (IFA, $5.25M), RP Riley Ferrell (Rule 5, HOU), RP Julian Fernandez (Waivers, SF) RP Nick Anderson (Trade, MIN), OF Victor Mesa Jr. (IFA, $1M)
Key Subtractions: RP Kyle Barraclough (Trade, WAS), SP Dillon Peters (Trade, LAA)
The offseason is a failure for the Miami Marlins until they find the right trade for catcher J.T. Realmuto.
He has two years of team control remaining, and he's coming off a career year. His value will never be higher, and after getting fleeced in the trades that sent out Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton last offseason, they can't afford to get this one wrong.
Winning the Victor Victor Mesa derby was a great start to the offseason, and it's enough to keep their grade from being an "F" overall.
Still, the entire offseason hinges on how the Realmuto situation unfolds.
Key Additions: RP Alex Claudio (Trade, TEX), IF Cory Spangenberg (FA, 1/$1.2M), OF Ben Gamel (Trade, SEA)
Key Subtractions: OF Domingo Santana (Trade, SEA)
After non-tendering Dan Jennings and Xavier Cedeno, the Milwaukee Brewers filled the need for a second lefty in the bullpen by sending their 2019 competitive balance pick (projected for No. 40 overall) to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Alex Claudio.
Claudio, 26, is under control through the 2021 season. He's held opposing lefties to a .194/.220/.278 line in 315 total plate appearances over his five-year career, thanks in part to a deceptive delivery.
They also non-tendered Jonathan Schoop and traded Domingo Santana, replacing them on the roster with Cory Spangenberg and Ben Gamel. The left-handed-hitting Gamel fits better as a fourth outfielder on the right-handed-heavy team, while Spangenberg could be viewed as a low-cost stopgap to top prospect Keston Hiura at second base.
It remains to be seen if they'll do anything to upgrade the starting rotation. At the very least, they'll need to address the fact that Wade Miley and Gio Gonzalez are both free agents after starting playoff games in 2018. Moving Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes into the rotation would have a trickle-down effect on the bullpen.
Key Additions: 2B Jonathan Schoop (FA, 1/$7.5M), 1B C.J. Cron (Waivers, TB), IF Ronald Torreyes (FA, 1/$800K), OF Michael Reed (Waivers, ATL)
Key Subtractions: None
The Minnesota Twins will spend $7.5 million on a one-year deal to see if Jonathan Schoop can regain the form he showed in 2017 when he posted a 124 OPS+ with 35 doubles, 32 home runs, 105 RBI and 5.2 WAR to finish 12th in AL MVP voting.
It's as good a low-risk, high-reward roll of the dice as any outside of the Braves' addition of Josh Donaldson.
After the team's first basemen and designated hitters combined for 32 home runs in 1,356 plate appearances last season, adding slugger C.J. Cron should also prove to be an impactful move after he slugged 30 home runs with a 123 OPS+ for the Tampa Bay Rays last season.
Adding one more proven starter to a rotation that includes Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson and Jake Odorizzi could go a long way, and they'd also benefit greatly from a tried-and-tested late-inning arm or two in the bullpen.
New York Mets
Key Additions: 2B Robinson Cano (Trade, SEA), RP Edwin Diaz (Trade, SEA), RP Jeurys Familia (FA, 3/$30M), C Wilson Ramos (FA, 2/$19M), RP Kyle Dowdy (Rule 5, CLE), OF Rajai Davis (MiLB deal)
Key Subtractions: OF Jay Bruce (Trade, SEA), RP Anthony Swarzak (Trade, SEA), RP Gershon Bautista (Trade, SEA), OF Jarred Kelenic (Trade, SEA), SP Justin Dunn (Trade, SEA)
So much for the New York Mets hinges on whether their starting rotation can stay healthy, and with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler seemingly staying put, they're putting a lot of eggs in that basket once again.
That said, they've done a lot to improve the roster around them.
Taking on a good chunk of Robinson Cano's contract allowed them to also acquire All-Star closer Edwin Diaz in their trade with the Seattle Mariners. It remains to be seen if they gave up too much by parting with top-100-caliber prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn.
They also added familiar face Jeurys Familia to the bullpen while shoring up the catcher position by signing Wilson Ramos after a lengthy and public courtship of Marlins star J.T. Realmuto.
Adding a center fielder is the top remaining item on the offseason to-do list unless they're confident Juan Lagares can stay healthy and Yoenis Cespedes can be a factor at some point in 2019. A.J. Pollock looks like a great fit if the price is right.
New York Yankees
Key Additions: SP James Paxton (Trade, SEA), SP J.A. Happ (FA, 2/$34M), SP CC Sabathia (FA, 1/$8M), IF Hanser Alberto (Waivers, TEX), OF Tim Locastro (Trade, LAD)
Key Subtractions: SP Justus Sheffield (Trade, SEA), SP Erik Swanson (Trade, SEA), IF Ronald Torreyes (Trade, CHC), RP Nick Green (Rule 5, ARI), OF Dom Thompson-Williams (Trade, SEA)
The New York Yankees began the offseason needing to shore up the starting rotation around Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka.
They've done that by re-signing J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia and acquiring the oft-injured, but supremely talented James Paxton from the Mariners.
The Paxton trade cost them top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield, an MLB-ready arm whom many viewed as a potential 2019 rotation option in his own right. How well he performs in Seattle will ultimately determine who came out on top in that trade.
Still on the shopping list: a middle infielder to at the very least bridge the gap to Didi Gregorius as he recovers from Tommy John surgery and perhaps to serve as a long-term replacement if he departs in free agency next offseason.
Key Additions: IF Jurickson Profar (Trade, TEX), SP Mike Fiers (FA, 2/$14-15M), RP Joakim Soria (FA, 2/$15M), SP Tanner Anderson (Trade, PIT), C Chris Herrmann (FA, 1/$1M)
Key Subtractions: RP Emilio Pagan (Trade, TB), IF Eli White (Trade, TEX)
The move to non-tender Mike Fiers and his projected $9.7 million arbitration salary and then re-sign him to a two-year deal that will land somewhere between $14-15 million, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, is classic Oakland Athletics baseball. Money remains a major obstacle in Oakland, and it's one they'll need to overcome to rebuild a starting rotation that currently shapes up as follows:
- RHP Mike Fiers, RHP Daniel Mengden, RHP Frankie Montas, RHP Chris Bassitt, RHP Aaron Brooks
Trading for Jurickson Profar on the heels of a breakout season and with plenty of room for further improvement is a move that could pay huge dividends. He's penciled in to replace Jed Lowrie at second base but could also fill a super-utility role if another second baseman is added.
With the team's bullpen-reliant approach, splurging on a two-year, $15 million deal for Joakim Soria makes sense.
Their final grade will depend on what starters they wind up plucking from the scrapheap at the end of the offseason.
Key Additions: RF Andrew McCutchen (FA, 3/$50M), SS Jean Segura (Trade, SEA), RP Juan Nicasio (Trade, SEA), RP James Pazos (Trade, SEA), RP Jose Alvarez (Trade, LAA)
Key Subtractions: 1B Carlos Santana (Trade, SEA), SS J.P. Crawford (Trade, SEA), RP Luis Garcia (Trade, LAA)
After talks of spending "stupid" money at the start of the offseason, the Philadelphia Phillies' only major signing to date has been Andrew McCutchen on a three-year, $50 million deal.
They whiffed on Patrick Corbin to slot between Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, and then they whiffed on J.A. Happ as a fallback plan.
There's still time for that to change if they can find a way to sign one or both of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
Trading for Jean Segura—who is owed a reasonable $59.4 million over the next four years—could wind up being one of the more underrated moves of the offseason. It could also backfire horribly if J.P. Crawford blossoms in Seattle.
Key Additions: OF Lonnie Chisenhall (FA, 1/$2.75M), SP Jordan Lyles (FA, 1/$2.05M), IF Erik Gonzalez (Trade, CLE)
Key Subtractions: SP Ivan Nova (Trade, CWS), OF Jordan Luplow (Trade, CLE), IF Max Moroff (Trade, CLE), RP Tanner Anderson (Trade, OAK)
As usual, it's been an understated offseason for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Finding a taker for Ivan Nova and his $9.2 million salary provides some welcome flexibility in free agency, and they continue to shop veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli ($11.5 million) for the same reason.
Their notable free-agent signings to date have been outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall and right-hander Jordan Lyles. Chisenhall will fill in for Gregory Polanco while he recovers from shoulder surgery. Lyles could be the latest talented arm to blossom under pitching coach Ray Searage, filling a spot in the rotation or in the bullpen.
Unless they are comfortable with some combination of Adam Frazier, Erik Gonzalez, Kevin Kramer, Kevin Newman and Cole Tucker filling the middle infield spots, a veteran addition there would make sense.
San Diego Padres
Key Additions: 2B Ian Kinsler (FA, 2/$8M), SP Garrett Richards (FA, 2/$15.5M), IF Greg Garcia (Waivers, STL)
Key Subtractions: RP Colten Brewer (Trade, BOS), RP Walker Lockett (Trade, CLE), RP Rowan Wick (Trade, CHC), C Raffy Lopez (Trade, ATL)
The San Diego Padres are a sleeping giant both in free agency and on the trade market.
They showed they are capable of swimming in the deep end of the free-agent pool when they signed Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million last offseason, and with arguably the best farm system in baseball at their disposal, they are in play for anyone who might hit the trade block.
Now it's a matter of finding the right players to target.
Even with a splashy addition or two, this team is probably still a few years away from legitimate contention, so there's no reason to make a major move just to do it.
Investing in the rehab of Garrett Richards and signing Ian Kinsler to fill the hole at second base and serve as a veteran presence in the clubhouse is a perfectly acceptable offseason.
San Francisco Giants
Key Additions: RP Travis Bergen (Rule 5, TOR), OF Drew Ferguson (Rule 5, HOU), OF Mike Gerber (Waivers, DET)
Key Subtractions: None
At least the San Francisco Giants haven't found a way to get older and more expensive this offseason.
That was the major takeaway last winter when they added Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen to a sinking ship, only to again finish a distant fourth in the NL West.
A rebuild is unavoidable at this point; it's just a matter of the front office and ownership accepting that fact.
Holding onto Madison Bumgarner until the trade deadline makes sense if they haven't received an offer to their liking. However, that shouldn't stop them from aggressively shopping the bullpen trio of Will Smith, Sam Dyson and Tony Watson, along with any other veteran piece that might be of interest to a contender.
So far, nothing.
Key Additions: DH Edwin Encarnacion (Trade, CLE), SP Justus Sheffield (Trade, NYY), OF Mallex Smith (Trade, TB), OF Domingo Santana (Trade, MIL), C Omar Narvaez (Trade, CWS), SS J.P. Crawford (Trade, PHI), OF Jay Bruce (Trade, NYM), RP Anthony Swarzak (Trade, NYM), RP Zac Rosscup (FA, 1/?), RP Brandon Brennan (Rule 5, COL), IF Kaleb Cowart (Waivers, LAA), SP Erik Swanson (Trade, NYY), SP Ricardo Sanchez (Trade, ATL) RP Gerson Bautista (Trade, NYM), OF Jarred Kelenic (Trade, NYM), SP Justin Dunn (Trade, NYM), OF Dom Thompson-Williams, OF Jake Fraley (Trade, TB)
Key Subtractions: 2B Robinson Cano (Trade, NYM), RP Edwin Diaz (Trade, NYM), SS Jean Segura (Trade, PHI), SP James Paxton (Trade, NYY), C Mike Zunino (Trade, TB), RP Alex Colome (Trade, CWS), OF Ben Gamel (Trade, MIL), OF Guillermo Heredia (Trade, TB), RP Juan Nicasio (Trade, PHI), RP James Pazos (Trade, PHI)
The Mariners' current projected 25-man Opening Day roster features eight players acquired via trade this offseason, one free-agent signing and one Rule 5 pick.
It's a completely new look at the MLB level, and the farm system has undergone a similar facelift in the process, as one of the thinnest systems in baseball added a number of top prospects. Here's a quick rundown of the newcomers who rank among the team's top 30 prospects, according to MLB.com:
- (1) LHP Justus Sheffield, (2) OF Jarred Kelenic, (3) RHP Justin Dunn, (11) RHP Erik Swanson, (16) OF Dom Thompson-Williams, (23) LHP Ricardo Sanchez, (27) OF Jake Fraley, (28) RHP Gerson Bautista
Adding that much talent to the farm, while also unloading Robinson Cano's contract, makes it clear the Mariners are done treading water and ready for a change in direction.
St. Louis Cardinals
Key Additions: 1B Paul Goldschmidt (Trade, ARI), RP Andrew Miller (FA, 2/$25M), OF Drew Robinson (Trade, TEX)
Key Subtractions: SP Luke Weaver (Trade, ARI), C Carson Kelly (Trade, ARI), 3B Patrick Wisdom (Trade, TEX), RP Chris Ellis (Rule 5, KC), IF Andy Young (Trade, ARI)
Paul Goldschmidt has the talent to completely transform a St. Louis Cardinals lineup that was inconsistent at times last season and lacking a true middle-of-the-order presence.
An abundance of starting pitching options and the emergence of prospect Andrew Knizner made Luke Weaver and Carson Kelly expendable pieces, and the front office will now have a head start on striking a long-term deal with the All-Star first baseman ahead of his free agency next offseason.
An injury-plagued season severely cut into Andrew Miller's earning power, but he was still able to secure a two-year, $25 million deal thanks to his lights-out performance in previous years. He's one of the riskier signings of the offseason, but the upside is also tremendous.
Jedd Gyorko and Jose Martinez are both talented offensive players without a clear path to playing time, so trading one or both for further bullpen help would make sense.
Tampa Bay Rays
Key Additions: SP Charlie Morton (FA, 2/$30M), C Mike Zunino (Trade, SEA), 3B Yandy Diaz (Trade, CLE), RP Emilio Pagan (Trade, SEA), OF Guillermo Heredia (Trade, SEA), SP Ryan Merritt (MiLB deal)
Key Subtractions: OF Mallex Smith (Trade, SEA), 1B Jake Bauers (Trade, CLE), SP Chih-Wei Hu (Trade, CLE), RP Kyle Bird (Trade, TEX), OF Jake Fraley (Trade, SEA), SP Brock Burke (Trade, TEX)
The Tampa Bay Rays signed an honest-to-goodness starting pitcher in Charlie Morton.
The 35-year-old enjoyed a late-career breakout in Houston, and he'll now join Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and two "openers" in the Tampa Bay rotation.
Another longtime hole was also plugged with the acquisition of catcher Mike Zunino from the Mariners. The 27-year-old is a standout defensive catcher with 20-homer pop, and he comes with two years of team control, so he'll look to bring some stability to a position that has been a revolving door for years.
The three-team trade with the Indians and Mariners that sent Jake Bauers to Cleveland and brought Yandy Diaz to Tampa Bay will be interesting to track. Bauers was a consensus top-100 prospect during his time in the minors, while Diaz was often viewed more as a Quad-A guy, so the Rays clearly see something in him.
They'll pick through the scraps of the reliever market to fill out the relief corps. But will they land their big DH bat? Nelson Cruz could be a real game-changer in the middle of the lineup.
Key Additions: SP Lance Lynn (FA, 3/$30M), C Jeff Mathis (FA, 2/$6.3M), RP Jesse Chavez (FA, 2/$8M), SP Drew Smyly (Trade, CHC), 3B Patrick Wisdom (Trade, STL), RP Kyle Bird (Trade, TB), RP Jordan Romano (Rule 5, TOR), IF Jack Reinheimer (Waivers, CHC), IF Eli White (Trade, OAK), SP Brock Burke (Trade, TB), RP Jeanmar Gomez (MiLB deal)
Key Subtractions: IF Jurickson Profar (Trade, OAK), RP Alex Claudio (Trade, MIL), RP Reed Garrett (Rule 5, DET), OF Drew Robinson (Trade, STL)
Lance Lynn went 11-8 with a 3.43 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 186.1 innings during the 2017 season.
He signed a one-year, $12 million deal with the Minnesota Twins.
He then went 10-10 with a 4.77 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in 156.2 innings during the 2018 season.
That earned him a three-year, $30 million deal from the Texas Rangers.
You've gotta love the starting pitching market.
As the Rangers start to rebuild, selling high on Jurickson Profar was a smart move. So too was signing Jeff Mathis to a two-year deal to help with the development of what figures to be a young pitching staff.
More arms will need to be added, and they'd be wise to explore the trade market for standout reliever Jose Leclerc, but they've done well to flip the switch on a reset.
Toronto Blue Jays
Key Additions: RP Oliver Drake (Waivers, TB), RP Elvis Luciano (Rule 5, KC), SP Trent Thornton (Trade, HOU)
Key Subtractions: IF Aledmys Diaz (Trade, HOU), RP Jordan Romano (Rule 5, CWS), RP Travis Bergen (Rule 5, SF)
The Toronto Blue Jays haven't done much of anything this offseason.
First baseman Justin Smoak is an obvious trade candidate, and they could also look to move Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez now that the free-agent market for starting pitching has run dry.
Hard-throwing Elvis Luciano is just 18 years old and he hasn't pitched above rookie ball, so he'll be one of the more interesting Rule 5 picks to watch if he does stick.
For now, there's not much else to talk about.
Key Additions: SP Patrick Corbin (FA, 6/$140M), SP Anibal Sanchez (FA, 2/$19M), C Yan Gomes (Trade, CLE), C Kurt Suzuki (FA, 2/$10M), RP Trevor Rosenthal (FA, 1/$7M), RP Kyle Barraclough (Trade, MIA), 1B Matt Adams (FA, 1/$4M), RP Tanner Rainey (Trade, CIN)
Key Subtractions: SP Tanner Roark (Trade, CIN), SP Jefry Rodriguez (Trade, CLE), OF Daniel Johnson (Trade, CLE)
A strong case can be made that the Washington Nationals have improved dramatically as the door closes on the Bryce Harper era.
Replacing Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark with Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez looks like an obvious upgrade, as the rotation should be one of the best in baseball.
The catcher position is also drastically improved with the additions of Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki. A group led by Matt Wieters produced a brutal .214/.304/.320 line in 2018.
Trevor Rosenthal is a wild card and Kyle Barraclough will need to reign in his command, but both can be huge additions to the relief corps.
An upgrade at second base would still be welcome, but this team already looks like a factor in the NL East.