Baseball kicks off in just another month with pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training on February 16th and position players on the 19th. It’s been an exciting offseason this winter with many players finding new homes and many franchises making a big splash with the thought of putting them over the top. Here is my list of teams that I felt made impact moves over the coarse of the winter and others that flopped.
Philadelphia Phillies- The Phillies didn’t make many moves, but the one they did make was more than enough. With the acquisition of Cliff Lee, the Phillies boast arguably the best starting rotation in baseball. You could take it even further and say one of the best ever. That’s for a different discussion. With this move the Phillies are an overwhelming favorite in the NL East and popular choice to make it to the World Series.
Milwaukee Brewers- The Brewers made two major moves by adding starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Shawn Marcum. The Marcum Deal was a surprise because he seemed to fit well with what the Blue Jays are trying to do and at a reasonable salary. The Greinke trade was the blockbuster trade of the offseason. It’s not very often a young, controllable (2 years left on his current contract), former CY Young award winning pitcher is available on the trade market. You could also argue that the package that the Brewers sent to the Royals for Greinke wasn’t the best group of players the Royals could have obtained in a trade based on what was reported that other teams offered. With these moves, the Brewers have a formidable 1-2-3 punch in Yuvani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, and Shawn Marcum. Look out NL Central; the Brewers are ready to compete!
Boston Red Sox- Who didn’t the Sox acquire this offseason? They improved the back of their bullpen adding relievers Dan Wheeler and Bobby Jenks, and improved their already potent lineup by adding All Star studs Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. Sure they did lose third basemen Adrian Beltre to free agency, but the hole he left will be filled by the more then capable Kevin Youkilis. Red Sox Nation doesn’t do well with missing the playoffs, but this year should be a different story with the changes made to the roster. I could see the Yankees and Red Sox switching positions from last season with the Yankees missing the playoffs and the Sox cruising into the postseason with ease.
New York Yankees- It’s not very often you see the Bronx Bombers on a list like this. The usually free spending Yankees didn’t make but one major move over the winter. The addition of Rafael Soriano definitely makes the Yankees more dominant in the backend of the pen, but after losing out in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, the Yankees starting rotation is left lacking in top-of -the line talent. With it looking more and more like Andy Pettitte leaning towards retirement, the Yankees are left scrambling to acquire a pitcher to fill his shoes. Sure you could say they added Russell Martin to be their new backstop as being a good move, but in reality all it does is block their top prospect in catcher Jesus Montero from getting regular at-bats. The Jeter contract was a bit ridiculous (3yrs 51m) too, but you can’t say he doesn’t deserve it with the revenue he has generated for the franchise. All in all, the Yankees aren’t getting any younger and the Red Sox got better while the Yankees didn’t do much to improve. I look for the Yanks to struggle more than people think this season.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- What a disappointing offseason for the Angels. The Angels were said to be the favorites on free agents Adrian Beltre and Carl Crawford; neither panned out. Sure they added lefty relievers Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi, but they did nothing to improve the struggling offense thus far. I still see them adding another bat to put in the lead off spot, but it still won’t be enough to get them out of the “losers” category. I believe it will be an uphill battle for the Angels to keep up with Texas and even the A’s with the offseason they had. Sure they will get back Kendry Morales to power the heart of their lineup but I just don’t see it being enough.
Tampa Bay Rays- Itcould be argued that they had a good offseason with the amount of draft picks they amassed over the past months. I put them on this list based on the team that they will be fielding going into next season. The rotation will look solid going into next season, but its chalk full of young guns. I think the inexperience will come back to hurt them in the end. They will also be relying on players in the field that have little experience but high ceilings. I do like what they did to try and compete in the future. By stock piling 9 draft picks for the coming draft, which is said to be a strong one, the Rays have set themselves up to be competitive in the future. For this season though, I see many Ray’s fans abandoning ship. It could be a long year for fans in St. Pete.