MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stack Up Post-Winter Meetings
With one of the busiest winter meetings in recent memory now in the rearview, it's time for an update to our MLB power rankings.
The New York Yankees got their guy, signing Gerrit Cole to a record-setting nine-year, $324 million deal. Will that be enough to propel them to the No. 1 spot?
That's not the only high-profile signing to take place since these rankings were last updated Dec. 5.
Anthony Rendon (LAA), Stephen Strasburg (WAS) and Madison Bumgarner (ARI) also signed on the dotted line, leaving third baseman Josh Donaldson and left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu as the top remaining players on the market.
So how have those moves impacted the MLB landscape?
B/R's MLB Power Rankings
1. New York Yankees
2. Washington Nationals
3. Houston Astros
4. Atlanta Braves
5. Los Angeles Dodgers
6. Tampa Bay Rays
7. Oakland Athletics
8. Philadelphia Phillies
9. St. Louis Cardinals
10. Milwaukee Brewers
11. Minnesota Twins
12. Texas Rangers
13. New York Mets
14. Chicago Cubs
15. Boston Red Sox
16. Arizona Diamondbacks
17. Cleveland Indians
18. Los Angeles Angels
19. San Diego Padres
20. Chicago White Sox
21. Cincinnati Reds
22. Toronto Blue Jays
23. San Francisco Giants
24. Seattle Mariners
25. Colorado Rockies
26. Kansas City Royals
27. Pittsburgh Pirates
28. Miami Marlins
29. Baltimore Orioles
30. Detroit Tigers
Let's take a closer look at some of the notable movers since our last update.
Trending Up: Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers enjoyed fantastic seasons from Lance Lynn and Mike Minor in 2019. In fact, the veteran duo was arguably the best one-two punch in baseball outside of Houston (Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander) and Washington (Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg).
However, the rest of the starting staff was an unmitigated disaster.
A grand total of 17 other pitchers started at least one game, none of whom topped 100 innings in a starting role or made more than 18 starts on the year. The side-by-side numbers are staggering:
- Minor/Lynn: 65 GS, 36 QS, 30-21, 3.63 ERA, 416.2 IP
- 17 Other SP: 97 GS, 19 QS, 15-39, 7.22 ERA, 391.1 IP
Despite essentially playing the season with 40 percent of a starting rotation, Texas managed to win 78 games.
After agreeing to deals with Kyle Gibson (three years, $28M) and Jordan Lyles (two years, $16M) prior to the winter meetings, the Rangers swung a trade to acquire two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber from the Cleveland Indians on Sunday, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.
All three pitchers come with some level of risk, but there's no question the staff is vastly improved in the wake of these additions.
The Rangers still have a hole to fill at third base after they missed out on Anthony Rendon. And while Levi Weaver of The Athletic reported they are "likely out" on Josh Donaldson, someone like Todd Frazier would still be a solid addition, and there is always the trade market.
Regardless, this team has taken significant steps to bridge the gap to the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics in the AL West.
Trending Down: Chicago Cubs
While other teams have spent the offseason upgrading their rosters, the Chicago Cubs are busy crying poor.
"Club officials are telling representatives of even low-budget free agents that they need to clear money before engaging in serious negotiations," wrote Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic during the winter meetings.
If that's the case, it's time to start making moves.
After a disappointing 84-78 finish, change was expected this offseason, and parting ways with manager Joe Maddon in favor of David Ross seemed like the first big step in that process.
Instead, it has been the only step thus far.
The only moves the team has made this winter have been small-scale pitching additions. Jharel Cotton was acquired in a trade with the Athletics, C.D. Pelham was claimed off waivers from the Rangers, Tylor Megill was chosen in the Rule 5 draft, Dan Winkler was signed to a one-year, $750,000 deal, and Brandon Morrow was brought back on a minor league pact.
That's not exactly the roster shake-up many expected, and it's not out of the question to think that might be the extent of their offseason, based on what team president Theo Epstein said last week.
"Status quo is not a bad option, but we're obviously out there looking to make changes and change the dynamic and improve," Epstein told reporters.
There were some brief rumblings that they were kicking the tires on Korean Baseball Organization standout Josh Lindblom, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. He would have been a solid addition to the rotation, but he has since signed with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The status quo is not the answer on the North Side.
Other Notable Moves
After licking their wounds following a failed push to sign Gerrit Cole, the Los Angeles Angels pivoted to Anthony Rendon, signing the All-Star third baseman to a seven-year, $245 million deal. Slotting him alongside Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani gives the Angels a lethal middle-of-the-order trio.
The question remains whether they have enough pitching to contend, and if they are serious about making a run in 2020, they should have signed Hyun-Jin Ryu and/or Dallas Keuchel yesterday.
It was always unlikely that the Washington Nationals would be able to re-sign both Rendon and Stephen Strasburg, so the fact that they were able to bring Strasburg back on a seven-year, $245 million deal should be chalked up as a win. They also brought back the quietly excellent Howie Kendrick.
If they can land Josh Donaldson, they would be in a great position to defend their title.
The Tampa Bay Rays and San Diego Padres completed an interesting trade that sent Tommy Pham to San Diego and Hunter Renfroe to Tampa Bay. The Rays get a needed power bat and a quality prospect in Xavier Edwards, while the Padres get the more well-rounded offensive player they were seeking.
Another young outfielder was on the move when the Chicago White Sox acquired Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers. Mazara has yet to live up to expectations, but he could benefit from a change of scenery, and an outfield of Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Mazara offers a ton of upside.
The Philadelphia Phillies took a nice low-risk gamble signing Didi Gregorius (1/$14M), the Toronto Blue Jays added a needed innings-eater by inking Tanner Roark (2/$24M), and the New York Mets rounded out the starting staff by signing Rick Porcello (1/$10M) and Michael Wacha (1/$3M).
The gap between the earning power of the top-tier free agents and the mid-level guys has been wide this offseason, and there could be a lot of value moves still made before the offseason is over.
Top Remaining Free Agents
After a flurry of activity at the annual winter meetings, here is a position-by-position look at what remains of the free-agent market:
- C: Robinson Chirinos, Jason Castro, Martin Maldonado, Francisco Cervelli, Russell Martin
- 1B: Justin Smoak, Eric Thames, Mitch Moreland, Neil Walker, Ryon Healy
- 2B: Jonathan Schoop, Cesar Hernandez, Starlin Castro, Brian Dozier, Wilmer Flores, Ben Zobrist
- SS: Jose Iglesias, Jordy Mercer, Adeiny Hechavarria
- 3B: Josh Donaldson, Todd Frazier
- OF: Nicholas Castellanos, Marcell Ozuna, Corey Dickerson, Kole Calhoun, Yasiel Puig, Cameron Maybin, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, Avisail Garcia, Matt Joyce, Jarrod Dyson, Alex Gordon
- UT: Brock Holt, Eric Sogard, Asdrubal Cabrera, Brad Miller
- DH: Edwin Encarnacion, Hunter Pence, Mark Trumbo
- SP: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dallas Keuchel, Julio Teheran, Wade Miley, Alex Wood, Ivan Nova, Gio Gonzalez, Homer Bailey, Rich Hill,
- RHRP: Will Harris, Dellin Betances, Daniel Hudson, Sergio Romo, Brandon Kintzler, Tyler Clippard, Steve Cishek, Joe Smith, Craig Stammen, Collin McHugh, Josh Tomlin, Pedro Strop, Arodys Vizcaino
- LHRP: Francisco Liriano, Robbie Erlin, Tony Sipp
There is a lot of offseason left and plenty of impactful players still looking for new contracts. Who will be the next free-agent domino to fall?