Best Offseason Move by Each MLB Team
Best Offseaon Move By All 30 MLB Teams
We are still a few weeks away from spring training, but all 30 MLB teams have made some sort of off-season move(s) and this slideshow article is a look at what I consider the best off-season move for each of the 30 big league squads. Some of the off-season additions are veterans who should fit in perfectly with what their new club, and others are young guys who I think will have good futures with their new team.
We have seen 2012 All-Star players like Josh Hamilton, Joel Hanrahan and Mike Napoli change teams, plus NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey changed teams as did Melky Cabrera (both of them were interesting stories in 2012, and both were also All-Stars) so we see there are a ton of story lines to watch going forward.
Some teams like the Toronto Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals made massive/important changes while others like the Washington Nationals, the Atlanta Braves and the Detroit Tigers were 2012 playoff teams that made key acquisitions to try to earn a deeper playoff run in 2013. Teams like the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners made several moves in an attempt to get out of last place in very tough divisions.
There are an absolute ton of veterans who remain as free-agents (Michael Bourn and Brian Wilson likely the best of them) but we have seen a lot of action as well so we should have a pretty accurate idea of how these off-season acquisitions will fit in for 2013 and going forward.
FYI the slideshow has the teams listed is in alphabetical order.
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Most will point to the trading of Justin Upton as the top story in the D-Backs off-season, but they did land Martin Prado and he actually has a few offensive stats that are better than Upton plus his skill-set should play really well at Chase Field. Prado is a do-everything sort of player, plus I would have to say that 22 year young Randall Delgado has a chance to fit in at Chase Park with the way he pitches so I think the D-Backs have a great chance to come out further ahead in that trade than perhaps some think. That said, I am going to point to a different move as the one I liked the most for this team...
No, not Heath Bell, although he will not cost them much over the next two seasons as the Miami Marlins are eating $8 million of the $21 million he will make in 2013 and 2014 combined. Bell had a nightmare 2012, but he should still be a guy who can contribute at the back of your bullpen as a late inning guy.
I thought that picking up Brandon McCarthy for a two year deal for $15.5 million was a shrewd move that has a chance to pay very good dividends. The 6'7" righty has a history of shoulder issues, and he is just now healthy from a concussion, but in the past two seasons he has a 3.29 e.r.a. and at 29 he is a guy that can fit in to a rotation with Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill and Wade Miley (plus perhaps Delgado).
The Braves have united the Upton brothers, and while we have seen brothers play on the same team in MLB before I would have to say that the Upton's will be the most successful duo ever. Andy and Adam LaRoche, Adrian Gonzalez and Edgar Gonzalez, Bengie and Jose Molina, the Alomar's, plus the Giambi brothers have all had their share of brotherly success together, but the Upton's are sure to be the best brother combo ever.
Both players had only known one team each as pro's, but they both are thrilled to be together on a team with the winning history that the Braves have. If motivation was ever an issue for either of these talented brothers, it won't be going forward and the Braves faithful should reap the rewards for years to come. Kudos to Frank Wren and his staff for the creativity/vision to add both Upton's.
One of the pleasant surprises of 2012 was the Orioles, and although they have been fairly quiet in the off-season I do like a few re-ups they did.
Nate McLouth was good for this team down the stretch and at $2 million for 2013 he should provide a ton of value for the O's, but I liked the re-up with reliever Luis Ayala even more. The main reason why the Orioles were able to win 93 games in 2012 was their stellar bullpen and Ayala was a key contributor to that. The Orioles had no issue exercising the club option as it is just $1 mil for 2013 so these two solid contributors will cost just $3 million for the O's in 2013. They have not been flashy this off-season, but the O's made a few solid in-house decisions with these two guys.
Boston Red Sox
The BoSox had Alfredo Aceves and Andrew Bailey at different times close games for them in 2012, and the results were somewhat mixed (especially with Aceves' massive e.r.a.) so the team decided to actively pursue a new closer and as a result they landed Joel Hanrahan. In the past two season Hanrahan was the Pittsburgh Pirates closer and he converted an impressive 76 of 84 save opportunities.
I also would give a kudos to acquiring Koji Uehara as he is a legit late-innings contributor. He should combine with Hanrahan to give the Red Sox a major boost with their late innings performances.
The additions of Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino seemed forced to me as I am not sure if either player will fit in (especially Napoli) and Ryan Dempster is a good Canadian boy but he stinks (his signing was a desperation move by the BoSox in my opinion) so I had an easy time going with Hanrahan as the top off-season move for this team. Hanrahan has made the All-Star game the past two seasons and I feel like he brings some stability to the back of their bullpen.
The Cubbies snuck in and nabbed Carlos Villanueva for $10 million over two years. This is a guy who has shown he is versatile, but he wants to proceed as a starting pitcher and the Cubs are willing to oblige.
Villanueva has a ton of experience in the NL Central and his signing could end up being a great bargain for Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein. The 29-year-old is fantastic in day games and he will surely have a lot of day game opportunities with the Cubs.
Chicago White Sox
The ChiSox will pay Matt Lindstrom just $2.8 million in 2013 to go along with Matt Thornton as set-up men for Addison Reed. The deal has a $4 million option for 2014 and I think that will be exercised as I think Lindstrom can fit in and be a legit contributor to the White Sox bullpen.
Jeff Keppinger could have been the guy here as he will be their everyday third baseman, but it remains to be seen how he recovers from a current fibula issue plus it remains to be seen if he can repeat his career-year that he had in 2012. I went with Lindstrom as I know he can be effective for the Sox, while I do not know that about Kepp.
Jonathan Broxton is not a guy who will strike out a ton of batters anymore, but he did show in 2012 that his elbow issues are fine and he can contribute in the 8th and 9th innings. He was so effective that the Reds signed him to a big three year deal, and he will be the closer going forward.
The re-up with Broxton gives them his services, plus it allows the Reds to move Aroldis Chapman into the starting rotation so agreeing to terms with the big fella is something that provides several potential positives going forward.
Broxton had an impressive 1.03 WHIP in 2012 as a Red.
There are certain issues with Drew Stubbs as this is a young man who strikes out way too often, plus his batting average decreases annually, but he still has potential to be an everyday center fielder for Terry Francona as he does have potential with his defense/speed/power.
Stubbs has 100 stolen bases in the past three seasons, and I think a change of scenery and a manager like Francona could get the 28-year-old going in the right direction. This is a guy who if he reaches his potential is a legit MLB player.
The Rockies have acquired late-inning pitcher Wilton Lopez. Despite pitching on the worst team ever (Houston Astros) Lopez lowers his e.r.a. annually, and last season was 6-3 with 10 saves and nine holds. He also had a stellar 1.04 WHIP, and 54 strikeouts vs just eight walks.
The Astros had a few different teams calling about Lopez, and ultimately I think the Rockies will be thrilled to land this guy.
Torii Hunter wanted to play for the Tigers so this could be a great fit as Detroit has seemingly auditioned numerous corner outfielders lately with little success. Hunter has a .277 career average, and last season he hit a career-high .313 (only season in his career north of .300).
Hunter will turn 38 during the season, and he had just 16 dingers last season (his lowest in seven years) but still he should be a guy with pretty good power and a certain upgrade for the Tigers outfield.
The Astros were well below average in just about every category last season, and that includes long-balls. The team was led by Justin Maxwell's 18 home runs so they needed to add power and they may have done that by adding Carlos Pena.
The veteran had 19 home runs last season, and in the previous five seasons before that he was averaging 34 dingers so he has a history of power. It is worth noting that Pena has been under .200 in two of the past three seasons which is clearly putrid, but he was signed for his power.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals made a major trade with the Tampa Bay Rays and most would consider James Shields the best player that KC added this off-season, but I am going with Wade Davis who also was in that massive TB trade.
Davis is versatile and can pitch in the rotation, or out of the bullpen. I would think that the Royals will try him as a starter in 2013 and I for one am excited to see that. Davis is another in a long line of Rays pitching gems and KC will provide him a chance to show his stuff every fifth day. I think this was a great addition, although it surely came at a price (Wil Myers).
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
It is easy to praise the addition of Josh Hamilton, but I will go with Ryan Madson as the Angels' top addition this offseason. Madson missed 2012 and is rebounding from Tommy John surgery, but he should be ready for the beginning of the season.
Whenever he is ready to go he will be the Angels closer and the last time we saw him in that role he converted 32 of 34 saves for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011. He is an awesome 8th and 9th inning guy and I think he was an under-the-radar addition for this team.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Magic Johnson and the Dodgers brass are trying to make the Dodgers relevant again and money is no object in La La Land. The signing of Zack Greinke was expensive, but that is the way they want to build these days. In his career Greinke is 25-9 with a 1.20 WHIP vs National League foes. The last time he yielded more hits than innings pitched was 2006.
I am interested to see how Greinke fares for the Dodgers as he was highly sought after and he landed a major payday.
One of the main pieces coming back to the Marlins in their massive trade with the Toronto Blue Jays was short stop Adeiny Hechavarria. The 23-year-old will be their SS going forward, and he has been defensively ready for a while, but it remains to be seen if he will ever have a legit MLB-level bat.
Hechavarria has worked with guys like Roberto Alomar in the past and it is certain that his defense is top notch, but new hitting coach Tino Martinez will have his work cut out for him to get Hechavarria's bat going. 2013 will provide a ton of opportunities and a ton of playing time for Hechavarria and we will watch this young man closely.
The Brew Crew have not had a massive off-season, but I did like their depth move of adding reliever Burke Badenhop. The 6'5" righty is a legit reliever with a career of 1.34 and he is the sort of pitcher that every team requires. Last season he made a career-high 66 appearances and I would anticipate even more action for him this season.
Badenhop has a lot of NL experience, and in 2012 he had a career-low 3.03 earned run average and career-low 1.20 WHIP.
In the off-season the Twins have added guys like Kevin Correia and Vance Worley to their starting pitching rotation, but I liked the addition of Alex Meyer the most.
Meyer was acquired in a trade for Denard Span so they are certainly hoping for big things from the 6'9" righty, but he may not be MLB ready for a while. Even so this young man throws 100 mph and will surely be an effective starter or closer for the Twins at some point soon enough. This guy has a big future.
New York Mets
The Mets traded their defending Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey to the Jays and the main return asset was catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud. The 23-year-old is recovering from a knee issue so he may start the season in the minors to A) recoup and B) keep his service time down in the short-term.
This young man was a steep price to pay for the Jays, but ultimately they wanted to make a run now and that meant adding Dickey and Mets fans could benefit for years to come as d'Arnaud is going to be a legit MLB catcher who can hit for average, can hit for power and can play good defense.
New York Yankees
Originally it looked like the Yanks had brought in Kevin Youkilis to be a part-time fill-in for A-Rod, but it is looking more and more like A-Rod will miss a ton of time (more than originally expected) and Youk's significance to the 2013 Yanks is growing by the day.
I thought the best off-season moves by the Yanks were their re-ups with Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, plus avoiding arbitration with Brett Gardner, but the signing of Youkilis seems important now. 2012 was a nightmare season for Youk, but he and Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long are working on an improved batting stance for him as the player and the organization are desperate to get Youk back to the middle-of-the-order calibre stud that he once was.
Andrew Werner is a 25-year-old lefty who is already good vs lefties, plus I think that A's pitching coach Curt Young can help him develop even more going forward. Werner will be a valuable swing-man for the A's, and this guy has a good upside. I think this move will work out well for the A's once Young and Bob Melvin help Werner develop. His only MLB action has been terrible, but I think this guy can be effective going forward.
The Phillies added Delmon Young, and most are underwhelmed by that (myself included), but I liked the addition of Ben Revere much more.
Revere has played in over 250 MLB games, and has had just under 1,000 at-bats, but he has as many home runs as you or I have which is to say - zero. His game is all about speed and defense. He has 74 swipes in 93 steal attempts, and he should provide great defense for Philly going forward.
One of the best deals from a team perspective has to be the Pirates re-up with Jason Grilli. The 36-year-old has pitched for many teams, but his 2011 and 2012 with the Pirates were awesome. Grilli had offers from other teams that were more lucrative than the two year re-up he inked with the Pirates ($6.75 million over two years) but he wanted to remain in Pittsburgh. The trade of Joel Hanrahan means that Grilli will be the Pirates closer in 2013.
San Diego Padres
Tyson Ross is a 6'6" 25-year-old who could develop into a legit releiver/pitcher for the Padres since he will be working with pitching minds like Bud Black and Darren Balsley. Ross has a career record of just 6-18, but he should be a guy that can contribute on the MLB level as he has three pitches that are pretty good, plus a change-up that he can hopefully improve. This young man needs coaching and help to reach his potential, but I think his stuff is almost ready to be legit and the Padres could develop this guy going forward.
The Padres traded Andrew Werner and Andy Parrino to land Ross and I am interested to watch him going forward.
San Francisco Giants
Marco Scutaro became a Giant near the trade deadline in 2012, and he was awesome in San Fran to the point where they were sure to re-up with him this off-season. Scutaro was a playoff hero, including 2012 NLCS MVP. Scutaro is a top of the order guy who provided the offensively challenged Giants with some legit batting help. His re-up was costly at three years $20 million, but he proved to the Giants (quickly too) that he is a guy they need.
The Mariners offense has been putrid for ages, but this off-season they added Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse. I love adding Morales, but the trade that landed Morse back in a Mariners uniform seems like a great deal for the M's (Morse was a Mariner from 2005-2008).
In 107 previous games with the Mariners, Morse had a total of just three measly home runs, but in his last three seasons he is averaging 22 home runs per season. He is not a guy that has had good luck with injuries, but he is a certain upgrade for their outfield (and/or some time at first base) and I loved this move for Seattle.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals landed left veteran Randy Choate who has developed into a very legit releiver who annually is amongst the league leaders in appearances. The Cards were after Sean Burnett, but they "settled" for Choate as he cost less over three years than Burnett would have over two years. As far as consolation prizes go, Choate is an appearance champ who is great vs lefties and induces ground balls so I love the move for the Cards.
Tampa Bay Rays
Someday (soon) Wil Myers will be a stud, but for now I am going to praise the Rays addition of short stop Yunel Escobar. This is a young man who has been unloaded a few times already by MLB teams, but he should be able to understand the opportunity he has here to play for Joe Maddon and the Rays. Evan Longoria was out for most of 2012, but Longoria/YEScobar on the left side of the Rays infield could be really good and surely significantly better than they were in 2012.
I love Joakim Soria, and even though he will be out until mid-season I still applaud the Rangers for adding this back of the bullpen pitcher. When he is healthy he has really good stuff, and he can be aggressive low in the strike zone and he can be really effective/good. When he does return he will set-up for Joe Nathan, but he is a guy that can close games down the road if he is needed to.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays had a massive off-season. They added R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, and Mark Buerhle to their rotation, plus they added guys like Emilio Bonafacio, Maicer Izturis and Melky Carbrera. The guy that seems to be almost forgotten with all of that action is short stop Jose Reyes.
The 29-year-old has a .291 career batting average, plus he is a doubles and triples machine who can also steal bases for you. The last time the Jays had an all-star short stop was Tony Fernandez back in 1999 so not only is Reyes a top MLB SS but he is the best SS in ages for the Jays.
The Nationals added Bill Bray to go along with Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen as they will set up their new closer...Rafael Soriano.
Wow, the back of the bullpen for the Nationals looks awesome as Clippard and Storen already provide legit 8th and 9th inning guys, but Bray can contribute and I love adding Soriano.
Soriano has not been in the NL since 2009, but he dominated the NL in his three seasons with the Braves, and this guy has an amzing career WHIP of 1.05. Kudos to the job that Mike Rizzo and his staff have done in Washington.
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