With Mark Trumbo and Jose Bautista both re-signing with their respective clubs we can essentially close the door on relevant off-season free agency signings. The crop that remains are middle of the road talent the likes of: Matt Wieters, Angel Pagan, Jason Hammel, Doug Fister, Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, etc. In other words no franchise players, no one that will be a huge impact player to push a contender over the hump. We’re less than a month away from pitchers and catchers beginning to report so let’s look at who had the best and worst off-seasons.
Red Sox – This one isn’t rocket science when you acquire Chris Sale you had a good off season. Some people believe the Red Sox paid a steep price but taking the prospects aside Boston got the most dominant left handed pitcher in the American League. A rotation of Sale, Price, Porcello, Pomeranz and Wright is pretty formidable. Their only subtraction from the roster is David Ortiz who retired.
Indians – The Indians were one game away from winning the World Series and there really isn’t much more this team had to do in order to “get better”. Cleveland realizing they didn’t have a true power bat in the middle of their line-up swooped up Edwin Encarnacion who has averaged 39 home runs per year over the last five years. From the addition of his bat to regaining Michael Brantley from injury and having Andrew Miller for a full season the Tribe are my favorites to come out of the American League next year.
Mets/Yankees/Dodgers – Sometimes the best move is just re-signing the players you have. Yoenis Cespedes has been so productive for the Mets and has become such a fan favorite the Mets had no choice but to open their wallet. The same could be said for the Dodgers who could not afford to lose Kenley Jansen or Justin Turner no matter what the price. The Yankees are slightly a different story, they traded away (and correctly so) Miller and Chapman in order to rebuild and get prospects knowing full well they had a strong chance to get Chapman back this summer. That’s exactly what they did. Yankees also signed veteran bat Matt Holiday to a one year contract which is a nice pick up if he can hit 20+ home runs.
Nationals – Not only did Washington miss out on trading for Chris Sale they lost their starting catcher in 29 year old Wilson Ramos (.307/22/80) and they lost their closer who they acquired mid-season in Mark Melancon. Yet inexplicably they traded for Chicago White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton (.284/14/59) giving up their top pitching prospect Lucas Golito. The Nationals have Harper, Murphy, Scherzer and Strasburg but that hasn’t been enough to get them over the hump in recent years. This team won 95 games and were bumped out of the playoffs by the Dodgers in their Divisional Series. I don’t see the Nats improving on that with this roster.