Every MLB Team’s Biggest Offseason Addition
Every MLB Team’s Biggest Offseason Addition
More than half way through the Major League Baseball offseason the player-go-round is well under way. Nearly every team in baseball, all but the Milwaukee Brewers at this point have signed someone from the free agent market. Not all of the additions are major of course. In fact, most of them are not. Every team has one player that ranks as the biggest and best addition from the annual offseason player swap that is free agency.
For some teams we don’t even have to think twice to choose the biggest offseason addition while others are not even visible if we don’t look closely. The most interesting thing about the player additions to each team is the simple fact that one important addition doesn’t necessarily mean anything at all for the success of a team. That is completely up in the air.
Easily last offseason’s biggest overall addition was Josh Hamilton to the Los Angeles Angels and we all saw how well that turned out. There was no way to know how things would stumble through the 2013 season but we all have to also remember that Hamilton was a good addition last offseason because of what he will add for this season and other future seasons as well, not just the first one.
That is a key point when looking through this list of each MLB team’s biggest offseason addition. Some of them are there for one season and likely will be gone by this time next offseason. Others will give contributions for the better part of the next decade, or will disappoint for that length of time; one of the two. Take a look at each team moving alphabetically from the Angels to the New York Yankees. Leave a comment below if you have something to add or a differing opinion.
Los Angeles Angels – Hector Santiago
They certainly will feel the loss of Mark Trumbo some but the Angels much more needed pitching help than they even needed one more slugger. Santiago looks to rank just slightly higher perhaps than Tyler Skaggs though both will certainly be great additions now and in the future.
Houston Astros – Dexter Fowler
No one would have realistically expected the Astros to sign a huge free agent contract that might block one of their awesome prospects in the coming seasons. The trade for Fowler however is a very good addition to this team. He is great in the outfield and can be a game-changer at the plate when things are going well for him. He can be a bit streaky but the overall impact of him in this line-up should be clearly positive.
Oakland Athletics – Jim Johnson
There were a ton of opinions out there that the A’s needed to re-sign Grant Balfour to be able to have a chance in 2014 and beyond. Once again however the A’s found a way to provide for themselves and traded for Johnson who is coming off of consecutive 50-save seasons and could prove to be delightfully more pleasant on the mound from a temperament standpoint.
Toronto Blue Jays – Dioner Navarro
The Jays haven’t done much this offseason but they did release one catcher and upgraded at the position with the signing of Navarro. He should be better all-around and while not being the best catcher in baseball, is definitely someone who will make this team better.
Atlanta Braves – Ryan Doumit
This was almost a very difficult decision but the Braves finally traded for a substantial addition in Doumit. They made it with three catchers last season because one was versatile in what positions he could play. With Doumit coming on-board they have two of the three catchers that can play a couple of spots.
Milwaukee Brewers – Hunter Morris
Want to talk about a tough choice? The Brewers have done nothing but exercise an option this offseason. They did add minor league first base slugger Morris to their roster however to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. That technically makes it an addition to the team and considering their issues at first base, could lead to Morris getting a quicker shot there with a strong spring. It is possible the Brewers will do more at the end of the offseason.
St. Louis Cardinals – Jhonny Peralta
The defending National League Champs knew better than to stick with what they had if they wanted to get back to where they were in 2013 and go further. They let some go and added some but the biggest addition offensively is Peralta. He is in a perfect spot to forget about his suspension and blend in with the others under Mike Matheny in St. Louis. He should have a great year.
Chicago Cubs – Justin Ruggiano
In what was a quiet little trade the Cubs improved their outfield nicely with the addition of Ruggiano. He has a few years behind him now and that experience should play well in Chicago. Also he should greatly benefit offensively from no longer being in the giant confines of Marlins Park. The Friendly Confines of Wriggly will do just fine.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Mark Trumbo
On paper this certainly looks like the biggest addition of them all. The DBacks grabbed a guy who can potentially become one of the best power hitters in the National League and he is going to hit in the line-up right next to the guy who was the best power hitter in the NL in 2013; Paul Goldschmidt. Careful about expectations however; this looks as fool proof as the Angels addition of Hamilton one year ago.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Juan Uribe
This is a little tricky because the Dodgers made a few additions like Dan Haren to the starting pitching staff that seem pretty big. While Haren is good though, he isn’t going to provide a large step up over what Ricky Nolasco did for them last year and could drop off a little if things go badly. By that same token it might seem to be ridiculous to suggest Uribe is the biggest addition when he is the same person he was last year for the same team.
The difference there is that it looked for a while like the Dodgers were going to let Uribe go elsewhere which he would have easily done in the current 3B market. Their decision to sign him as a free agent is almost like giving themselves a brand new third baseman for the first time. He won’t light the world on fire during the season but he will be steady and much better than them having to scramble to find another third baseman.
San Francisco Giants – Tim Hudson
This is a big deal whether Hudson regains his dominant form or not. The main reason for that is two-fold. First of all he is a fighter and will give the Giants a chance to win on his worst night, fighting to the very end. Second of all he is an awesome clubhouse presence and the team can only benefit from him being there even if he never threw a pitch. It is a good addition that could be great if Hudson can pitch like his pre-injury self from a year ago.
Cleveland Indians – David Murphy
Okay so the Indians haven’t added a ton this year but that is okay. They have good prospects on the way up and don’t want to block them by signing a huge free agent. Under those circumstances and considering Terry Francona’s ability to get the most out of this group of guys, I think Murphy could be a surprisingly large addition for this team.
Seattle Mariners – Robinson Cano
While I am not completely sold on the Mariners as a team and it is certainly crazy to assume Cano will be the best second baseman in baseball for another decade, this year and for at least few more he should be a huge addition for the team offensively. They have a lot more to get from other guys to turn it into a winning season, but he gets them a little closer.
Miami Marlins – Jarrod Saltalamacchia
This just makes me smile. The way Salty is behind the plate and with his teammates seems to fit perfectly with this Marlins team. I think this could be the most perfect match of any of the offseason signings by any team. I don’t know how much offense he will add in that huge park but he should help the pitching staff for sure and will be another plus in the clubhouse. Also it will not hurt the attendance having him on the team either as he tends to be popular wherever he goes.
New York Mets – Curtis Granderson
This was a toss-up between Granderson and Bartolo Colon but in the end Granderson should add more of what the Mets needed most last season; offensive help for David Wright. If Wright has another Wright-like season and the Mets get a good punch from Granderson, they could be in offensive business with decent turnouts from the rest of the team.
Washington Nationals – Doug Fister
Well they say the rich get richer and that is what happened with the Nats pitching staff. They were able to add a guy in Fister that the rest of the league didn’t even know was available. Clearly he makes the pitching staff better and deeper but that does leave an issue with the Nats. Fister will help keep runs off of the scoreboard for the other guys but they haven’t added much to put crooked numbers up there for themselves.
Baltimore Orioles – Ryan Webb
Webb is the biggest name the Orioles have signed because they turned loose of Grant Balfour. Obviously his name would have been here if they kept him and signed him. As it stands, Webb should improve their ‘pen a little bit or a lot depending on his success. Assuming the Orioles go out and get someone to close games before the start of the spring, that person would be big as well. Any starting pitching help they decide to add would also be nice. Moves such as those would likely be bigger than Webb but he is a good add, no doubt.
San Diego Padres – Josh Johnson
The Padres subscribed to the theory that Johnson will fare much better in the National League than he did in the American League. It could be true and Johnson could also benefit from the growing plus staff that the Padres are slowly but surely developing. It could flop a bit if things go badly but chances are they will be better because of him.
Philadelphia Phillies – Marlon Byrd
Byrd fits a possibly disturbing trend for the Phillies in that he is well over 30 and getting older. He might have played his best season in 2013 and could possibly not reach that place again. At the same time he could prove to have more than one 20/80 season in him and greatly help the Phillies out. I think he certainly is the best addition of the ones they added in that he could have the most potential, full-season impact.
Pittsburgh Pirates – Edinson Volquez
Many have suggested that the Pirates won’t strike gold twice in signing a fading starter just to see him revive his career with them the way Francisco Liriano has. That’s kind of interesting because they said that about him too of course; Liriano that is. For their risk, it doesn’t amount to a great deal. Volquez is a quality pitcher with some experience and versatility as well. They could have a spot in the starting five and could see him move elsewhere to the bullpen if young guys fill the rotation. Either way it is the biggest addition for the quiet Pirates this offseason.
Texas Rangers – Shin-Soo Choo
For a client of the hated Scott Boras, Choo actually signed for a reasonable figure for the Rangers. That in addition to the consistent offensive and defensive production he will give the team makes him their biggest addition of the offseason. Even if they were to land Masahiro Tanaka, Choo would still be the best addition; even better than Prince Fielder.
Tampa Bay Rays – Ryan Hanigan
For as long as many fans can remember, the Rays have wanted their everyday catcher. They just haven’t been able to grab one that they could hang their hats on as their catcher. Though he certainly didn’t have a powerful 2013, Hanigan is a very good catcher and has offensive potential still. The way the Rays do things is to sign someone that others might not want and then see them revive their careers. Watch and see if the same thing doesn’t happen again with Hanigan. James Loney is a big re-sign as well but the idea of having an everyday catcher the pitching staff can rely on is a big deal on both sides of the ball.
Boston Red Sox – Mike Napoli
The World Series Champs had a bit of a small exodus going for a while after their big win. Jacoby Ellsbury left, Jarrod Saltalamacchia left and there were tons of rumors about them losing Napoli as well. Though the other two are great players, losing Napoli to someone else would have been a huge loss in more ways than one. Re-signing him might be the biggest move they make from here to a successful title defense.
Cincinnati Reds – Skip Schumaker
You might not hear his name all over the television and radio but Schumaker is one of the really good utility infielder/fourth outfielder/bench players that make a team successful. He will get some spot starts but his role will be as ever-changing as his production and effort will be consistent. The Reds really haven’t done a lot but this is a very good move in signing Schumaker. If they get to the postseason and get anywhere I guarantee you will hear this guy’s name as one of the reasons assuming he stays healthy.
Colorado Rockies – Justin Morneau
There is no guarantee that the Rockies will get a lot more than anyone has gotten from Morneau in the last few years. Even at that he wouldn’t be a huge defensive drop from the now retired Todd Helton though. There is a big chance that the large change of scenery as well as the light-air ballpark might help spark a comeback for Morneau as well. Either way the offense goes, signing one of the biggest and best first baseman of the last several years to take Helton’s place was the right and perfect move.
Kansas City Royals – Jason Vargas
Initially I thought I might put Omar Infante in this spot for the Royals but they were really getting a lot of production from the second base spot at the end of last season. While he will be a big addition in the infield, the addition of Vargas could prove more important. They knew they weren’t going to really be able to sign Ervin Santana this offseason and they needed a veteran, proven, reliable, and innings-eating pitcher for their rotation. He might not win the Cy-Young Award but Vargas gives them what they needed most.
Detroit Tigers – Ian Kinsler
This is a tricky one. Kinsler is a very good addition at second base but probably not as productive as Infante was for them. Him coming over however opened up the ability for the Tigers to move Miguel Cabrera to a safer spot on the field, likely to get Nick Castellanos’ long awaited bat in the big leagues, and to free up money to do all sorts of things over the next several years by riding the payroll of Prince Fielder. This will be a big addition in that sense for a long time to come and look for a very positive impact from Kinsler on the field as well.
Minnesota Twins – Ricky Nolasco
The Twins said they were going to do more spending this offseason to try and get their team to a better position. Signing Nolasco is what made that statement a reality and they have continued from that point signing other starters and players in the field as well. This was a really big deal for the Twins and could be the move that starts their return to contention on a regular basis.
Chicago White Sox – Jose Dariel Abreu
Everyone that knew what was going on knew that there was a huge sweepstakes going on to sign Abreu. It might be overshadowed by the craziness surrounding Masahiro Tanaka but don’t forget this guy was given $68M and 6 years to sign on what scouts think he can do. This is the move that pushed Adam Dunn likely to another team and Paul Konerko out of the starting role at first (once he returned to the team). That is big either way you look at it.
New York Yankees – Brian McCann
The Yankees have been on fire this offseason which made this a very hard decision for very good reasons. McCann, Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran are all great additions to this team. If I were thinking offensively I would have probably said Ellsbury. Thoughts of the postseason impact clearly would have tipped the scales towards Beltran. When thinking of overall impact on all sides of the ball all season long, McCann is likely to have the most impact. All three are great signings and will be staples of the Yankees return to the podium within the next couple of years.