Fresh MLB Power Rankings for All 30 Teams After 3-Month Hiatus

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2020

Fresh MLB Power Rankings for All 30 Teams After 3-Month Hiatus

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    The 2020 MLB season is finally back on track.

    On Tuesday night, the MLBPA and MLB finally ironed out the remaining hurdles regarding health and safety protocols, and a deal was officially agreed upon following commissioner Rob Manfred's move to implement a 60-game season.

    Spring training will resume on July 1, and a schedule is in place for the abbreviated season, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN and several other sources.

    At this point, it feels like the offseason was years ago, so ahead we've provided a quick refresher on the notable additions and losses for all 30 teams, along with a general outlook for each club.

    All of that is packaged into a fresh version of our MLB power rankings, with teams ordered based on their outlook for the upcoming season.

    Baseball is back!

30. Baltimore Orioles

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    Jose Iglesias
    Jose IglesiasElise Amendola/Associated Press


    The Baltimore Orioles once again settled for scraps on the free-agent market with shortstop Jose Iglesias ranking as their biggest offseason addition. They also took a flier on right-hander Kohl Stewart, who was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 draft, and inked Wade LeBlanc to a minor league deal.



    The decision to trade Jonathan Villar rather than pay him $8.2 million on the heels of a 3.9-WAR season speaks volumes to the team's current outlook. It also flipped Dylan Bundy to the Los Angeles Angels for a package of four prospects and said goodbye to free agent Mark Trumbo.



    There is little in the way of long-term pieces on the current Baltimore roster, and the team will continue to tread water while it waits on the arrival of several top prospects. A shortened season will be all that saves the Orioles from a third straight 100-loss campaign.

29. Detroit Tigers

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    Jonathan Schoop
    Jonathan SchoopMark Cunningham/Getty Images


    The Detroit Tigers once again did solid work on the fringes of the free-agent market, adding C.J. Cron (1/$6.1M), Jonathan Schoop (1/$6.1M), Austin Romine (1/$4.2M), Cameron Maybin (1/$1.5M) and Ivan Nova (1/$1.5M) to fill out the roster.

    If anyone from that group turns into a viable trade chip, it's a win. If not, they can simply move on without any long-term ramifications. That's the way to do it in the early stages of a rebuild.



    Infielder Josh Harrison and right-hander Tyson Ross were among last year's free-agent fliers who didn't quite pan out, and they have now moved on. Catcher/first baseman John Hicks finished third on the team last year with 13 home runs, albeit with a .210 average and 59 OPS+.



    The Tigers lost 114 games in 2019, and they are likely headed for the American League Central cellar once again. That said, the front office has fully committed to the rebuild, and there is plenty of reason for optimism thanks to a deep farm system. They may regret not selling high on Matthew Boyd last summer, or he could emerge as the long-term ace of the staff. He's definitely one to watch.

28. Miami Marlins

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    Jonathan Villar
    Jonathan VillarMark Brown/Getty Images


    The Miami Marlins will try to turn Jonathan Villar into a center fielder after picking him up in a nice buy-low trade with the Baltimore Orioles. The 29-year-old posted a 109 OPS+ with 33 doubles, 24 home runs and 40 steals in a 3.9-WAR season last year.

    Veterans Corey Dickerson, Jesus Aguilar, Matt Joyce and Francisco Cervelli were also added to plug holes in the lineup. Meanwhile, the bullpen was completely overhauled with the additions of Brandon Kintzler, Brad Boxberger, Stephen Tarpley and Rule 5 pick Sterling Sharp.



    Starlin Castro led the Marlins in home runs (22) and RBI (86) last year before joining the Washington Nationals on a two-year, $12 million deal during the offseason.

    Other notable departures include Neil Walker, Curtis Granderson, Jarlin Garcia and JT Riddle.



    The Marlins have a strong enough starting rotation, and they added enough playable veteran talent, that they won't be the same pushovers they were in 2019 when they lost 105 games. They're still a long way from contention, but it's an improved roster.

27. Colorado Rockies

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    Tyler Kinley
    Tyler KinleyRob Tringali/Getty Images


    The only additions to the 40-man roster were right-hander Jose Mujica, who has yet to make his MLB debut, and Tyler Kinley, who was claimed off waivers from the Miami Marlins after posting a 3.65 ERA in 52 appearances. That solid ERA was backed by an ugly 1.60 WHIP that stemmed from his rate of 6.6 walks per nine innings.

    No wonder Nolan Arenado was upset.



    Longtime starter Chad Bettis was non-tendered after spending most of last season pitching mop-up duty out of the bullpen, and Tyler Anderson was designated for assignment after struggling to an 11.76 ERA in 20.2 innings.



    The Rockies saw their win total plummet from 91 in 2018 to 71 in 2019, and the front office responded by sitting on its hands. They may still finish ahead of the rebuilding San Francisco Giants in the standings, but at least that organization seems to have a clear direction. The Rockies are utterly lost.

26. Kansas City Royals

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    Maikel Franco
    Maikel FrancoCharlie Riedel/Associated Press


    The Kansas City Royals signed one of the more intriguing non-tenders in third baseman Maikel Franco. The 27-year-old former top prospect has averaged 20 home runs and 68 RBI over the past five years, and a change of scenery could do wonders.

    The only other notable additions were former All-Star closers Greg Holland and Trevor Rosenthal on minor league deals.



    Bringing back longtime left fielder Alex Gordon on a one-year, $4 million deal addressed the team's only notable free agent. Superfluous pieces like Wily Peralta, Cheslor Cuthbert and Jacob Barnes did not factor into the long-term plans.



    The Royals seem content biding their time while they wait on a wave of pitching talent to arrive from down on the farm. In the meantime, they have uncovered some solid core pieces in Adalberto Mondesi, Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier and Brad Keller, and they will continue to focus on developing their in-house talent in 2020.

25. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Chris Archer
    Chris ArcherTodd Kirkland/Getty Images


    As usual, the Pittsburgh Pirates stuck to the fringes of the free-agent market, spending a combined $4.75 million to sign Jarrod Dyson ($2M), Luke Maile ($900,000), JT Riddle ($850,000) and Guillermo Heredia ($1M) to MLB contracts for the 2020 season.

    Non-roster lefties Derek Holland and Robbie Erlin could chew through some innings in long relief or spot-starter roles.



    The new-look front office stopped short of a fire sale, but it did move its best trade chip, sending Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks. In return, it acquired a pair of quality prospects in right-hander Brennan Malone and shortstop Liover Peguero.

    The only notable losses in free agency were left-hander Francisco Liriano (69 G, 12 HLD, 3.47 ERA, 8.1 K/9) and outfielder Melky Cabrera (397 PA, .280/.313/.399, 30 XBH), both of whom had productive 2019 seasons.



    The Pirates were an absolute dumpster fire during the second half of the 2019 season, both on the field, where they went 25-48, and off the field, where there was in-fighting until manager Clint Hurdle lost the locker room. After cleaning house from the front office on down, they will be looking to reset, and that could mean a few seasons in the National League Central cellar.

24. Seattle Mariners

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    Evan White
    Evan WhiteChristian Petersen/Getty Images


    Compared to years past, it was a relatively quiet offseason for Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Taijuan Walker and Kendall Graveman were signed as potential bounce-back candidates to round out the starting rotation, while Yoshihisa Hirano, Carl Edwards Jr., Nestor Cortes and Rule 5 selection Yohan Ramirez provide depth in the bullpen.

    Beyond those additions to the pitching staff, the biggest move of the offseason was signing first baseman Evan White to a six-year, $24 million extension prior to him making his MLB debut.



    Left fielder Domingo Santana (108 OPS+, 21 HR, 69 RBI) and shortstop Tim Beckham (101 OPS+, 15 HR, 47 RBI) were both non-tendered, while Felix Hernandez, Tommy Milone and Wade LeBlanc are gone from the pitching staff after tossing a combined 304.2 innings last year.

    A breakout season from Tom Murphy also opened the door for fellow catcher Omar Narvaez to be traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for pitching prospect Adam Hill and the No. 64 pick in the 2020 draft.



    It's unlikely a postseason drought that stretches back to 2001 is going to be snapped in 2020. That said, the Mariners have an impressive collection of high-end talent in their farm system and plenty of payroll flexibility for when the time comes to spend again.

23. San Francisco Giants

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    Kevin Gausman
    Kevin GausmanNorm Hall/Getty Images


    The San Francisco Giants made some smart no-risk additions to the roster, picking up several players who could emerge as viable trade chips. Starters Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly both look like potential bounce-back candidates, as does swingman Trevor Cahill, while speedy Billy Hamilton fits well in Oracle Park's spacious center field.

    Versatile infielder Wilmer Flores was signed to a multi-year deal, fan favorite Hunter Pence was signed after his surprise All-Star season with the Texas Rangers, and lefty reliever Jarlin Garcia was one of a handful of waiver claims.



    A July hot streak convinced the Giants to hold onto their top trade chips at the deadline, and they ended up losing both Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith for nothing more than draft pick compensation after they turned down qualifying offers and signed elsewhere.

    Outfielder Kevin Pillar was non-tendered, and productive backup catcher Stephen Vogt secured a one-year, $3 million deal from the D-backs.



    With a farm system on the rise and a front office that has given the organization a clear direction, the future is bright for the Giants. That said, the next few years could be a slog while they wait on that young talent to develop.

22. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Hyun-Jin Ryu
    Hyun-Jin RyuMark Brown/Getty Images


    The Toronto Blue Jays signed NL Cy Young runner-up Hyun-Jin Ryu to a four-year, $80 million contract to serve as the staff ace while also trading for veteran Chase Anderson and signing Tanner Roark to a two-year, $24 million deal.

    Japanese League standouts Shun Yamaguchi and Rafael Dolis were also added to the staff, and bounce-back candidate Travis Shaw was signed to a one-year, $4 million deal to take over as the starting first baseman.



    First baseman Justin Smoak signed with the Milwaukee Brewers after posting a 113 OPS+ with 117 home runs in five seasons with the Blue Jays.

    Starter Clay Buchholz, reliever Ryan Tepera, catcher Luke Maile and second baseman Devon Travis were among the other notable free agents.



    The Blue Jays have a dynamic young core of position players in place, they vastly upgraded the starting rotation during the offseason, and they have one of the best pitching prospects in baseball in Nate Pearson knocking on the door. They may still be a year away, but the arrow is pointing straight up for this team.

21. Los Angeles Angels

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    Anthony Rendon
    Anthony RendonAlex Gallardo/Associated Press


    The Los Angeles Angels made one of the biggest splashes of the offseason when they signed Anthony Rendon to a seven-year, $245 million contract. He'll provide Mike Trout with the best lineup protection he's had since Albert Pujols' first few seasons with the team.

    That said, they whiffed on No. 1 target Gerrit Cole and settled for Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran as the major additions to a starting rotation that ranked 29th in the majors with a 5.64 ERA. New catcher Jason Castro should have a positive impact on the pitching staff, while swingman Matt Andriese could see significant innings.



    Right fielder Kole Calhoun had his $14 million option declined, no doubt paving the way for top prospect Jo Adell to eventually assume that roster spot. They also managed to unload Zack Cozart and his $12.7 million salary on the San Francisco Giants, though it cost them 2019 first-round pick Will Wilson.



    Rendon is a great player, but this team desperately needed a rotation overhaul. Bundy and Teheran just don't move the needle enough to view the Angels as a contender. A healthy Shohei Ohtani could certainly provide a significant boost, but it's still hard to see them contending with the current starting staff.

20. Texas Rangers

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    Corey Kluber
    Corey KluberChristian Petersen/Getty Images


    The Texas Rangers added Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles to a starting rotation that featured one of the best one-two punches in baseball last year in Lance Lynn and Mike Minor but saw no other pitcher top 130 innings.

    Catcher Robinson Chirinos and third baseman Todd Frazier were both solid low-cost veteran additions to the starting lineup, while lefty reliever Joely Rodriguez is one to watch after he posted a 1.64 ERA with 77 strikeouts over 60.1 innings in Japan last year.



    Designated hitter Hunter Pence and veteran utility infielder Logan Forsythe were the biggest losses in free agency. Speedy outfielder Delino DeShields and hard-throwing reliever Emmanuel Clase went to Cleveland in the Kluber trade.

    Nomar Mazara was also traded to the White Sox for outfield prospect Steele Walker, and that could wind up being a solid move for everyone involved. Mazara is a prime change-of-scenery candidate, while Walker has the tools to be an everyday center fielder down the road.



    The Rangers managed to win 78 games with a revolving door behind Lynn and Minor in the starting rotation last year. They improved enough during the offseason to at least be part of the wild-card picture, and there's potential for more if the entire rotation pitches up to its potential.

19. San Diego Padres

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    Tommy Pham
    Tommy PhamBrady Klain/Getty Images


    The San Diego Padres have revamped their outfield with the additions of Tommy Pham and Trent Grisham in a pair of multi-player trades, and they also added Jurickson Profar to serve as the starting second baseman. To further bolster their depth, veterans Brian Dozier and Juan Lagares were brought aboard on minor league deals.

    On the pitching side, Zach Davies brings a consistent middle-of-the-rotation presence, while Emilio Pagan and Drew Pomeranz will join Kirby Yates to form a lethal bullpen trio. Keep an eye on Pierce Johnson, who had a 1.38 ERA with 91 strikeouts over 58.2 innings in Japan last year.



    The Padres sent Hunter Renfroe and prospect Xavier Edwards out in the Pham trade, they flipped Eric Lauer and Luis Urias in exchange for Grisham and Davies, and they sent outfielder Manuel Margot to the Rays in exchange for Pagan.

    Aside from their wheeling and dealing on the trade market, the only notable losses in free agency were relievers Robbie Erlin, Adam Warren, Carl Edwards Jr. and Aaron Loup.



    If Garrett Richards and Dinelson Lamet can stay healthy in the starting rotation and the newcomers can provide a spark offensively, the Padres have the pieces to do some serious damage. They might still be a year or two away from serious contention, but a winning record is within reach even after they lost 92 games a year ago.

18. Chicago White Sox

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    Yasmani Grandal
    Yasmani GrandalRon Vesely/Getty Images


    After whiffing on Manny Machado the previous offseason, the Chicago White Sox were one of the biggest players on the free-agent market. Catcher Yasmani Grandal will be instrumental in leading the development of a young pitching staff while also providing the lineup with another potent bat. Veteran starters Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez will also take some pressure off the young arms, while Steve Cishek will chew through appearances in a setup role.

    Slugger Edwin Encarnacion has 414 career home runs for a reason, and Nomar Mazara is a nice buy-low pickup who provides an upgrade in right field and could benefit from a change of scenery. The lineup has a chance to be one of the best in baseball.



    Workhorse Ivan Nova departed after posting a 4.72 ERA and 97 ERA+ while tossing a team-high 187 innings last year. They also opted to non-tender Gold Glove winner Yolmer Sanchez, clearing a path to the starting second base job for prospect Nick Madrigal in the process.



    Is the pitching staff good enough to contend? Lucas Giolito will need to build off his breakout season, and someone like Reynaldo Lopez or Dylan Cease will need to take their own step forward for this team to have a legitimate shot. They're building toward something special, but they may still be a year away.

17. Cincinnati Reds

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    Nicholas Castellanos
    Nicholas CastellanosNorm Hall/Getty Images


    The Reds spent big to add Nick Castellanos (4/$64M) and Mike Moustakas (4/$64M) to an offensive attack that ranked 25th in the majors with 4.33 runs per game in 2019. Japanese League standout Shogo Akiyama will also provide a new look at the top of the lineup after hitting .301 with 117 home runs and 112 steals in nine seasons with the Seibu Lions.

    Left-hander Wade Miley gives an already stellar starting rotation another quality arm, and Pedro Strop is a capable setup man when healthy.



    Infielders Jose Iglesias and Jose Peraza are both gone, which likely means Nick Senzel will see more time on the dirt in 2020. Other than that, disappointing starters Kevin Gausman and Alex Wood were the only other notable departures.



    Despite a 75-87 record last season, this Reds team looks like a legitimate contender thanks to an improved offense and a stacked rotation led by Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer. The NL Central is in a state of flux right now, and they are in a great position to take full advantage if everything clicks.

16. Boston Red Sox

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    Alex Verdugo
    Alex VerdugoBillie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images


    The Boston Red Sox went bargain-hunting during an offseason focused on trimming payroll. Martin Perez fills a rotation spot, Kevin Pillar is the new fourth outfielder, Kevin Plawecki is the new backup catcher, and speedy Jose Peraza could wind up being the starting second baseman.

    Outfielder Alex Verdugo has a chance to be a core piece going forward, and top prospect Jeter Downs looks like the long-term answer at second base. Those two were the headliners of the Mookie Betts blockbuster.



    Trading Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers trimmed $43 million off the team's 2020 payroll. Flipping Betts ahead of free agency made sense if he wasn't going to sign a long-term deal, and using his value to offload the final three years of Price's contract was a savvy move. The only other significant loss was backup catcher Sandy Leon, who was traded to the Cleveland Indians.



    With Chris Sale sidelined following Tommy John surgery and David Price gone, the only reliable starter on the roster is Eduardo Rodriguez. That means the ability of guys like Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez and Ryan Weber to hold down rotation spots will ultimately determine if this team can bounce back from an 84-78 season.

15. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Madison Bumgarner
    Madison BumgarnerMatt York/Associated Press


    The Arizona Diamondbacks made a splash in free agency by signing Madison Bumgarner to a five-year, $85 million contract. He will effectively replace Zack Greinke as the veteran leader of a young staff.

    The outfield was also revamped with the additions of Starling Marte (via a trade with Pittsburgh) and Kole Calhoun, and Junior Guerra and Hector Rondon were both added to the bullpen.



    Key reserves Alex Avila, Wilmer Flores and Jarrod Dyson all moved on in free agency, while oft-injured starter Taijuan Walker was also non-tendered.



    The D-backs quietly won 85 games last season on the strength of a 31-21 finish over the final two months, and they look poised to contend once again with a strong young core in place. The front office did a nice job acquiring MLB-ready talent in the Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke trades, getting younger without fully committing to a rebuild. Expect them to be a factor in the NL wild-card picture.

14. Chicago Cubs

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    Jason Kipnis
    Jason KipnisRoss D. Franklin/Associated Press


    The Chicago Cubs spent another offseason crying poor and doing little to improve the roster. Former All-Star Jeremy Jeffress, Dan Winkler and Casey Sadler were added to a new-look bullpen, while Trevor Megill (Rule 5 pick), CD Pelham (waivers, via Texas) and Jharel Cotton (purchased, via Oakland) provide further depth.

    Jason Kipnis was signed to a minor league deal to help bridge the gap to top prospect Nico Hoerner at second base, and bounce-back candidate Steven Souza Jr. was signed to a one-year, $1 million deal, just two years removed from a 30-homer season.



    Veterans Cole Hamels and Ben Zobrist both walked in free agency, as did deadline pickup Nick Castellanos. There was also a mass exodus in the bullpen with Steve Cishek (70 G, 2.95 ERA), Brandon Kintzler (62 G, 2.68 ERA), Pedro Strop (50 G, 4.97 ERA) and David Phelps (24 G, 3.18 ERA) all departing.

    At least they finally cut ties with Addison Russell via a long overdue non-tender.



    New manager David Ross inherited a little bit of a mess after a dysfunctional 84-78 season. That said, there's no reason this team can't compete for a playoff spot. A lot will hinge on how the starting rotation performs behind Kyle Hendricks and Yu Darvish—and whether the pieces fall into place in the bullpen.

13. New York Mets

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    Rick Porcello
    Rick PorcelloMark Brown/Getty Images


    The New York Mets added Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha to bolster their starting pitching depth, and that immediately became an area of need when Noah Syndergaard was lost for the year to Tommy John surgery.

    They also took a chance on Dellin Betances returning to form at the back of the bullpen and acquired Jake Marisnick from the Houston Astros to fill the defensive-minded fourth outfielder role previously occupied by Juan Lagares.



    Despite his lengthy injury history, Zack Wheeler managed to cash in with a five-year, $118 million deal from the Philadelphia Phillies. His expected departure was part of the motivation behind acquiring Marcus Stroman last summer.

    The only other notable loss was third baseman Todd Frazier, who had a 106 OPS+ with 21 home runs and 67 RBI in 133 games to wrap up a two-year, $17 million deal.



    The Mets have a solid core in place both on the pitching side of things with Jacob deGrom and Stroman leading the staff and on the offensive side, where Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil are budding stars. That said, what did they really do to improve last year's 86-win roster?

12. Cleveland Indians

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    Cesar Hernandez
    Cesar HernandezNorm Hall/Getty Images


    The Cleveland Indians added second baseman Cesar Hernandez and left fielder Domingo Santana on one-year deals after they were non-tendered by their respective teams.

    The only other notable pickups were the lackluster return package from the Corey Kluber trade. Speedy Delino DeShields fits best as a fourth outfielder, and hard-throwing reliever Emmanuel Clase was slapped with an 80-game performance-enhancing drug suspension last month.



    Was cutting ties with two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber the right move on the heels of an injury-plagued season? He has an $18 million club option for 2021 before hitting free agency. The bullpen also took a hit with Tyler Clippard (53 G, 2.90 ERA) departing in free agency.

    As for other notable losses, Jason Kipnis and Kevin Plawecki were effectively replaced by Cesar Hernandez and Sandy Leon, while Yasiel Puig was always unlikely to be anything more than a two-month rental.



    Even with Kluber out of the picture, a rotation led by Shane Bieber, Mike Clevinger and Carlos Carrasco still looks awfully strong. A full season of Franmil Reyes and the addition of Domingo Santana could also bring some needed punch to the middle of the lineup. They are now chasing the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central, but they are still capable of contending.

11. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Josh Lindblom
    Josh LindblomNorm Hall/Getty Images


    It was a busy offseason for the Milwaukee Brewers, starting on the infield where newcomers Justin Smoak, Luis Urias and Eric Sogard will join 2019 rookie standout Keston Hiura in the starting lineup. Veteran utility guys Brock Holt and Jedd Gyorko were also added to the infield mix.

    Omar Narvaez is the new starting catcher, Avisail Garcia is the new starting right fielder, and there are three newcomers in the starting rotation in Brett Anderson, Eric Lauer and 2019 KBO MVP Josh Lindblom.

    Add reliever David Phelps and there are 11 newcomers on the projected 26-man roster.



    Outfielder Trent Grisham and right-hander Zach Davies were traded to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Urias and Lauer. Starter Chase Anderson was also shipped to the Toronto Blue Jays for a prospect as part of the rotation overhaul.

    Meanwhile, Yasmani Grandal, Mike Moustakas, Eric Thames, Travis Shaw, Jordan LylesGio Gonzalez, Drew Pomeranz, Jeremy JeffressJunior Guerra and Alex Claudio all found new homes in free agency.  



    After three straight winning seasons and back-to-back playoff appearances, the Brewers took a drastic approach to the offseason. The end result looks like an improved roster with a deeper starting rotation and more lineup flexibility than they have had in the past.

10. Oakland Athletics

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    Jesus Luzardo
    Jesus LuzardoStephen Brashear/Getty Images


    The biggest move of the offseason for the Oakland Athletics came when second baseman Jurickson Profar was traded to the San Diego Padres in exchange for catcher Austin Allen and outfielder Buddy Reed. Allen hit .406 with two home runs and nine RBI in 34 plate appearances during spring training.

    Versatile infielder/outfielder Tony Kemp and lefty reliever T.J. McFarland were the other notable additions likely to see significant MLB action.



    Veteran starters Homer Bailey, Brett Anderson and Tanner Roark all signed elsewhere in free agency, but the return of budding ace Frankie Montas and the arrival of Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk should help offset those losses.

    Reliever Ryan Buchter and backup catchers Josh Phegley, Dustin Garneau and Chris Herrmann are also gone.



    After consecutive 97-win seasons, there is no reason to believe the Athletics will be anything but contenders once again. If Luzardo and Puk can perform up to expectations, an improved starting rotation could even put them in position to give the Houston Astros a run for their money in the AL West race.

9. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Didi Gregorius and Zack Wheeler
    Didi Gregorius and Zack WheelerMatt Rourke/Associated Press


    The Philadelphia Phillies were in desperate need of a reliable No. 2 starter behind Aaron Nola last season, and they think they've found it in Zack Wheeler, who inked a five-year, $118 million contract.

    They also took a low-risk, high-reward chance on Didi Gregorius with a one-year, $14 million contract while adding veterans Josh Harrison, Neil Walker and Francisco Liriano on minor league deals.



    Longtime second baseman Cesar Hernandez and third baseman Maikel Franco were both non-tender casualties, while midseason pickups Brad Miller, Jason Vargas, Drew Smyly, Corey Dickerson and Nick Vincent all signed elsewhere in free agency.

    The decision to cut ties with Franco is a good indication of the organization's confidence in top prospect Alec Bohm.



    After a disappointing 81-81 season, the Phillies fired manager Gabe Kapler and turned their attention to upgrading a starting rotation that ranked 17th in the majors with a 4.64 ERA. There's no question this team has the talent to contend; it's just a matter of the pieces falling into place.

8. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Kwang Hyun Kim
    Kwang Hyun KimBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images


    Left-hander Kwang Hyun Kim was the biggest offseason addition for the St. Louis Cardinals after an impressive 12-year run in the KBO. The 31-year-old went 17-6 with a 2.51 ERA and 180 strikeouts over 190.1 innings in 2019, and he struck out 11 over eight scoreless innings in spring training.

    Utility infielder Brad Miller posted a 135 OPS+ with 12 home runs in 66 games with the Phillies last year, and he could be a sneaky good addition on a one-year, $2 million contract.



    The Cardinals let both slugger Marcell Ozuna and longtime starter Michael Wacha walk in free agency, which will alleviate the logjam in both the outfield and the starting rotation. That said, replacing Ozuna in the middle of the lineup will not be easy.

    They brought further clarity to the outfield situation by trading Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for highly regarded pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore.



    There were a few moving parts during the offseason, but the Cardinals return essentially the same team that won 91 games and reached the NLCS in 2019. A lot is riding on young starters Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson in the starting rotation, and they were up to the challenge a year ago.

7. Minnesota Twins

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    Josh Donaldson
    Josh DonaldsonBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images


    Adding Josh Donaldson to a lineup that set an MLB record with 307 home runs last year seems borderline unfair. They also swapped out veteran backstops, signing Alex Avila to replace Jason Castro.

    On the pitching side, Kenta Maeda, Homer Bailey, Rich Hill and Jhoulys Chacin were all added to the rotation mix, while longtime setup ace Tyler Clippard bolsters the relief corps.



    With Kyle Gibson and Martin Perez signing elsewhere and Michael Pineda still set to serve 39 games of a 60-game banned substance suspension, the starting rotation has a different look behind All-Stars Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi.

    Catcher Jason Castro, first baseman C.J. Cron and second baseman Jonathan Schoop.



    The Twins are now the team to beat in the AL Central after an impressive 101-win season, and the burden falls to the pitching staff to shoulder its portion of the load in support of one of baseball's most potent lineups. This team is more than capable of improving on last year's ALDS sweep.

6. Washington Nationals

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    Carter Kieboom
    Carter KieboomRich Schultz/Getty Images


    The Washington Nationals re-signed Stephen Strasburg to a seven-year, $245 million contract after he opted out of his previous deal, then they spent the offseason filling out the roster with complementary pieces.

    Slugger Eric Thames and four-time All-Star Starlin Castro were added to the infield mix, while Ryan Zimmerman, Asdrubal Cabrera and Howie Kendrick were all re-signed. The biggest outside addition might wind up being reliever Will Harris, who inked a three-year, $24 million deal after an impressive five-year run with the Houston Astros.



    It was always likely the Nationals were only going to be able to afford one of Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon, and it was the latter who ended up walking in free agency, joining the Angels on a seven-year, $245 million deal.

    That stands as the only major loss for the Nationals, who found comparable replacements for Matt Adams, Brian Dozier and Fernando Rodney in free agency.



    With Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin back to lead the rotation and Juan Soto as a budding superstar in the middle of the lineup, there's no reason this Nationals team can't make a strong push to defend its title. That said, keep in mind they were a wild-card team a year ago.

5. Houston Astros

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    Zack Greinke
    Zack GreinkeRich Schultz/Getty Images


    Whether the sign-stealing scandal hurt their negotiating power or the front office simply decided to take a quiet approach to the offseason, the Houston Astros didn't do much this past winter.

    Catcher Dustin Garneau was added to fill the backup spot now that Martin Maldonado is moving into the starting role, and right-hander Austin Pruitt was acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. Those two and minor league reliever Blake Taylor were the only additions to the 40-man roster.



    Regardless of how they feel about their in-house options, losing AL Cy Young runner-up Gerrit Cole is a significant blow for the Astros. He was not the only departure from a pitching staff that also lost starter Wade Miley and relievers Will Harris, Hector Rondon and Collin McHugh.

    Catcher Robinson Chirinos and defensive-minded outfielder Jake Marisnick are also gone.



    The Astros are counting on a healthy Lance McCullers Jr. and a full season of Zack Greinke easing the losses to the starting rotation. Still, they will need guys like Jose Urquidy and Josh James to step up.

    That said, even with all they lost and a scandal hanging over the organization, this still looks like one of the teams to beat in 2020.

4. Atlanta Braves

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    Marcell Ozuna
    Marcell OzunaMichael Reaves/Getty Images


    Veteran Cole Hamels has a chance to be a real difference-maker. The 36-year-old posted a 117 ERA+ in 141.2 innings last season, and he brings a wealth of postseason experience to a young staff.

    All-Star closer Will Smith bolsters a shaky relief corps, slugger Marcell Ozuna fills a void in the middle of the lineup, and Travis d'Arnaud will split time behind the plate following a breakout season in 2019.



    The aforementioned void in the middle of the lineup was created by the departure of Josh Donaldson in free agency after he posted a 127 OPS+ and slugged 37 home runs on a one-year deal.

    Veteran left-hander Dallas Keuchel and longtime starter Julio Teheran are both gone from the starting rotation, while quietly productive outfielder Matt Joyce has also moved on.



    The Braves have won back-to-back NL East titles, and there's no reason to think they will suffer any sort of fall-off in 2020. They have one of the best collections of young talent in baseball and enter the season with more stability on the pitching staff than they had a year ago. Can they get over the hump in the postseason?

3. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Yoshitomo Tsutsugo
    Yoshitomo TsutsugoMark Brown/Getty Images


    The Tampa Bay Rays added a pair of power bats in Hunter Renfroe (33 HR with San Diego) and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (29 HR in Japan) to the lineup after finishing 21st in the majors with 217 home runs a year ago.

    They also added Jose Martinez, Randy Arozarena and Manuel Margot to the outfield mix, and there figures to be a lot of shuffling of the lineup throughout the season.



    Trading Tommy Pham for Renfroe and prospect Xavier Edwards was a bold move. Renfroe provides more power and a better corner outfield glove at the expense of a middling on-base percentage.

    They also shipped out setup man Emilio Pagan and top-tier pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore in the Margot and Arozarena/Martinez trades, and they lost Avisail Garcia, Travis d'Arnaud and Eric Sogard in free agency.



    The Rays won 96 games last year and took the Houston Astros to five games in the ALDS, succeeding on the strength of a pitching staff that finished third in baseball with a 3.67 ERA. That staff returns almost entirely intact, and the offense looks to have more punch, making them as dangerous as any team in baseball.

2. New York Yankees

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    Gerrit Cole
    Gerrit ColeMark Brown/Getty Images


    The Yankees signed Gerrit Cole to nine-year, $324 million contract that stands as the new record for a pitcher. The 29-year-old led the AL in ERA (2.50) and strikeouts (326) last season while setting the single-season record for strikeouts per nine innings by a qualified pitcher (13.8).

    That was the only outside addition to the 40-man roster, with Chad Bettis, Luis Avilan, Dan Otero and Chris Iannetta among the notable non-roster invitees to camp.



    Slugger Edwin Encarnacion and shortstop Didi Gregorius were the biggest losses in free agency, while backup catcher Austin Romine and fourth outfielder Cameron Maybin will also be missed.

    The front office finally pulled the plug on Jacoby Ellsbury, releasing him with $21.1 million left on his contract, while oft-injured Greg Bird was also non-tendered.



    The Yankees look like the clear team to beat in the American League, especially after Cole was scooped up from arguably their biggest competition in Houston. They showed their tremendous organizational depth last season when they overcame myriad injuries to win 103 games, and that will serve them well once again. The health of the starting rotation will be the biggest X-factor.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Mookie Betts
    Mookie BettsNorm Hall/Getty Images


    After winning 106 games last season, the Los Angeles Dodgers went out and acquired one of the best players in baseball during the offseason when they swung a blockbuster deal with the Boston Red Sox to acquire Mookie Betts.

    That trade also added David Price to a starting rotation that lost several pieces during the offseason, while Alex Wood and Jimmy Nelson represented two of the more intriguing bounce-back candidates on the free-agent market. The same is true of reliever Blake Treinen, who is a year removed from a dominant run as Oakland's closer.



    NL Cy Young runner-up Hyun-Jin Ryu is now in Toronto, Kenta Maeda was traded to Minnesota, and Rich Hill joined him there in free agency. That left some holes in the starting rotation, but the above additions and in-house guys like Julio Urias, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin should have no trouble filling in.

    The key pieces of the Betts/Price trade, outfielder Alex Verdugo and middle infielder Jeter Downs, both have a chance to be stars in Boston. Reliever Yimi Garcia is also an underrated loss after posting a 3.61 ERA and 0.87 WHIP with 9.5 K/9 in 64 appearances.



    The Dodgers have won seven straight NL West titles, and they once again look like the team to beat in the NL after posting the best record in the league a year ago. Will a busy offseason finally be enough to push them over the top in the postseason?