The Major League Baseball offseason may not be completely over, but with two weeks to go until opening day, it is nearing its end. Since the offseason always seems to have a bigger impact on fans than most of the regular season, let’s grade how each team did, both before and after the lockout, starting in the American League.
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Baltimore Orioles: C
A completely inoffensive offseason for Baltimore, who did not spend much. The good thing here is that they refrained from trading Cedric Mullins or Trey Mancini, instead making some minor upgrades. Robinson Chirinos and Rougned Odor are plug-and-play options. The biggest miss here is not doing more to help the rotation. Jordan Lyles was the lone notable addition. He is just going to eat innings. Even though they are far away from competing, it would have been nice to see this team try and spend more.
Boston Red Sox: B+
What started as a weak offseason quickly turned solid in a matter of days. Trading Hunter Renfroe for Jackie Bradley Jr. is a big hit to the lineup, although it helps defensively. Both Eduardo Rodriguez and Kyle Schwarber walked, which is a tough pill to swallow, especially without clear-cut replacements. Chris Sale‘s return helps alleviate the Rodriguez pain, but 42-year-old Rich Hill and rehabbing James Paxton were the replacements. Michael Wacha was brought in to replace both Garrett Richards and Martin Perez.
The Red Sox waited to make their moves, and are still waiting for a major bullpen upgrade after that was one of their weak points last season. Southpaws Jake Diekman and Matt Strahm are not enough. However, the signing of Trevor Story was a slam dunk at a good price that bumps them up a letter grade. This could even be an A-minus if Story played short and moved Xander Bogaerts over to second base. That doesn’t seem to be happening.
New York Yankees: D-
The Yankees may have made marginal upgrades, but they were upstaged by everyone. They completely whiffed on the greatest shortstop free-agent class of all time while having an opening at the position. They opted for stop-gap Isiah Kiner-Falefa instead. In that trade with Minnesota, they also took on all of Josh Donaldson‘s contract, allowing the Twins to give Carlos Correa a low term, high AAV deal, which was exactly what the Bronx Bombers needed.
Bringing back Anthony Rizzo while kicking Luke Voit to the curb is an upgrade, but the Yankees failed to get Matt Olson or Freddie Freeman. Plus, trading Gary Sanchez left a big offensive hole at catcher. While pitching was a strength for the Yankees last year, it would have been nice to see them add anyone. A trade for Sean Manaea or Frankie Montas of the A’s could help that.
Tampa Bay Rays: A-
Tampa Bay was not as active as you would expect, but they still made some quality moves. They did lose standout reliever Collin McHugh, infielder Joey Wendle, and DH Nelson Cruz, but they have the in-house depth to replace them. Former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber will try to be rehabilitated after a stint with the Yankees that included a no-hitter. Relief pitchers Brooks Raley and Jason Adam have the stuff to be great fits with the Rays system. It would have been nice to see them add a bat, but their farm system is elite and they went after Freeman.
Toronto Blue Jays: A+
With Cy Young winner Robbie Ray and MVP finalist Marcus Semien, it seemed like a successful offseason would be impossible. But Toronto arguably upgraded on both of them. Kevin Gausman was better than Ray but didn’t get as much recognition playing in the National League last year. Matt Chapman is a great addition to the team. He doesn’t have Semien’s bat, but, of course, is an outstanding defender.
Adding Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi transforms this rotation from a weakness to arguably the best in the American League. The one hole right now is the bullpen. Look for the trading season for that to be upgraded. Ridding themselves of Randal Grichuk and his contract was a huge win.
Chicago White Sox: B+
The White Sox did not do much, which is fine since their team had few holes to begin with. As Michael Kopech looks to transition back to starting, the need for a starter wasn’t there. While it was expensive, Kendall Graveman and Joe Kelly do improve the bullpen. After trading Nick Madrigal for Craig Kimbrel at the deadline, a hole was left at second base. Cesar Hernandez couldn’t fill it last year. Now the burden is on veteran Josh Harrison, who is a bit of an underwhelming option.
Cleveland Guardians: C-
The Guardians just chilled out this offseason, which is respectable. Or at least it would be if their payroll was higher. This is effectively the same team that closed out 2021 minus Nick Wittgren, Roberto Perez, and Harold Ramirez.
Detroit Tigers: A
After making huge strides in 2021, the Tigers spent money, which is already a big win. Signing Rodriguez and Javier Baez were the big moves, and both will fit the team well. Tucker Barnhart and Andrew Chafin are also in the mix. The only notable loss was Matthew Boyd. There are still holes on the team, but a good offseason nonetheless.
Kansas City Royals: C
A lot of what was said about Cleveland can be copied here. The Royals kept most of their bad 2021 team intact. The big change was swapping veteran starter Mike Minor for reliever Amir Garrett. The return of Zack Greinke will fill that void left by Minor. His best years are behind him.
Minnesota Twins: A
This Twins team could make some playoff noise if their bullpen gets better. After adding Sonny Gray, the rotation looks stronger, especially with a Dylan Bundy bounce-back season. Mitch Garver, Andrelton Simmons, and Donaldson are all out, but the replacements are all competent.
Sanchez can hit, even though his defensive struggles are well documented. Luis Arraez will split time with Gio Urshela at third, while Correa is the new star in town. It was a shock to see this deal happen, as the Twins were finally able to beat the Yankees at something. A full year of Byron Buxton could do wonders for this team.
Houston Astros: C+
The departure of Correa was inevitable, although it hurts to so such a matchable deal get accepted. The big shoes fall on prospect Jeremy Pena to fill. In terms of offseason moves, there wasn’t much. Justin Verlander is back, and it will be interesting to see how he returns from Tommy John surgery. Hector Neris can flourish while out of the spotlight, and Niko Goodrum makes sense as a utility man. However, there wasn’t much to note here.
Los Angeles Angels: A-
The Angels have pitching now! While they were quiet after the lockout, Los Angeles has made some solid additions. Noah Syndergaard and Michael Lorenzen improve the rotation, while Aaron Loup, Ryan Tepera, and Archie Bradley are key bullpen upgrades. The lineup did not get a ton of adds aside from Matt Duffy and Tyler Wade. However, if you have a healthy Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Jared Walsh, and Anthony Rendon, nothing major is required.
The pitching depth is far from perfect now but has been shored up. With the A’s and Astros taking steps back, the Angels could vie for the postseason, although the other two teams in the division are also looking stronger.
Oakland Athletics: F
This is more of a symbolic F than a legitimate one, as the returns for Matt Olson and Matt Chapman were not the worst. We all know that the A’s are cheap, but it is still disheartening to see this team sell off their core. Along with those two, the list of lost free agents includes Diekman, Harrison, Chafin, Sergio Romo, Mark Canha, Yan Gomes, and Starling Marte. The biggest signings were Stephen Vogt and Eric Thames, the latter of which was a minor league deal.
The dismantling doesn’t seem to be over, with Manaea and Montas potentially on their way out. The only move to like is the low-risk, high-reward acquisition of Brent Honeywell Jr., a former top prospect who has had injury problems.
Seattle Mariners: A+
What an outstanding offseason for Seattle. After grasping at the postseason last year, the Mariners decided to spend. They lost Kyle Seager to retirement as well as starters Tyler Anderson and Kikuchi but brought in Ray from Toronto. He is immediately their ace, who will work well with an elite pitching pipeline. They took on Eugenio Suarez, who is somewhat similar to Seager, to get a great trade for elite hitter Jesse Winker.
The bullpen also has some new faces. Romo just joined the mix. Ken Giles was under contract last year while recovering from injury so he could be an option now. It is an exciting time to be a Mariners fan.
Texas Rangers: A
The Rangers by far spent the most money in free agency, by locking up Corey Seager and Semien to huge contracts. The new middle infield is one of baseball’s best and will transform the team. They also added Garver, Brad Miller, and Kole Calhoun to improve the lineup.
The reason why this is not an A+ offseason is pitching. They added Jon Gray, who will be their new ace despite not having that type of pedigree. The rest of the rotation is spotty. Perez returns after a horrid year with Boston. The terrible bullpen added just Greg Holland and Richards. It is a place to fix in the future.
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