With spring training opening this week across Florida and Arizona, here are our final offseason grades for each American League team.
Notable additions: RP Brandon Bailey, C Bryan Holaday, SS Jose Iglesias, SP Wade LeBlanc, RP Isaac Mattson, SP Tommy Milone, RP Michael Rucker, RP Sterling Sharp, SP Kohl Stewart, RP Cole Sulser, IF Richard Urena, IF Pat Valaika
Notable subtractions: SP Aaron Brooks (Japan), Dylan Bundy (LAA), Mark Trumbo (FA), RP Taylor Scott (FA), Jonathan Villar (MIA), RP Gabriel Ynoa (FA)
There were really no expectations for the Orioles this winter, as continuing to suck is still the team's short-term goal while taking fliers on guys who could net prospects at the deadline. Parting with Villar after a 4.0-WAR season was ghoulish but understandable because management's aim is to be bad. However, taking fliers on Iglesias, LeBlanc, and Milone could prove somewhat fruitful. Really, though, those are just the moves a front office makes when it's trying to stay in the basement to secure better draft picks.
Notable additions: C Jett Bandy, RP Austin Brice, SS Jeter Downs, RP Trevor Hildenberger, RP Chris Mazza, SS Jose Peraza, SP Martin Perez, C Kevin Plawecki, RP Jeffrey Springs, OF Alex Verdugo, C Connor Wong
Notable subtractions: OF Mookie Betts (LAD), SP Andrew Cashner (FA), SP Jhoulys Chacin (MIN), OF Gorkys Hernandez (FA), IF Brock Holt (FA), RP Travis Lakins (traded to CHC), C Sandy Leon (CLE), IF Chris Owings (COL), 1B Steve Pearce (FA), SP Rick Porcello (NYM), SP David Price (LAD), 1B Sam Travis (TEX), Steven Wright (FA)
The Red Sox could have absolutely been given a puncher's chance at the 2020 World Series. Then new executive Chaim Bloom executed ownership's orders to shed salary by trading away Betts, one of the best players in baseball. The club quickly went from a legitimate wild-card contender to being the third- or fourth-best team in its division. The Indians, meanwhile, fought their urge to deal Francisco Lindor, while the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies have retained Kris Bryant and Nolan Arenado, respectively. But, hey, at least the Red Sox are fiscally responsible now.
Notable additions: 1B Jose Abreu, RP Steve Cishek, 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion, SP Gio Gonzalez, C Yasmani Grandal, SP Dallas Keuchel, OF Nomar Mazara, IF/OF Andrew Romine
Notable subtractions: C Welington Castillo (TEX), RP Dylan Covey (TB), OF Jon Jay (ARI), SP Ivan Nova (DET), 2B Yolmer Sanchez (SF), RP Hector Santiago (DET)
The White Sox clearly entered the offseason with a plan and they seem to have executed it fully. The Twins were the AL's worst division winner in 2019, even while winning 101 games, and Chicago knows there's an opportunity to challenge for the AL Central crown. Minnesota should still be considered the division favorite, but Chicago's lineup can threaten enough to put the White Sox into the wild-card conversation after upgrades behind the plate (Grandal) and first base/designated hitter (Encarnacion). Finding playing time for the team's new sluggers is the biggest concern.
Notable additions: RP Emmanuel Clase, OF Delino DeShields Jr., 2B Cesar Hernandez, C Sandy Leon, RP Dominic Leone, C Cameron Rupp, C Beau Taylor
Notable subtractions: SP Cody Anderson (FA), RP Nick Goody (waivers), SP Corey Kluber (TEX), RP Tyler Olson (CHC), C Kevin Plawecki (BOS), OF Yasiel Puig (FA), SP/RP Danny Salazar (FA)
The best thing about the Indians' offseason is they didn't trade Lindor. But that doesn't mean their winter was successful. Shipping Corey Kluber away for a below-average outfielder and a relief prospect was truly horrendous, and if he recaptures even a fraction of his Cy Young form with the Rangers, that move could become easily the most lopsided deal made this offseason. Aside from that, the club didn't address its dire need for outfield help. The Indians could make noise in the wild-card race, but this team should still be trying to win division titles.
Notable additions: SP Dario Agrazal, 1B/DH C.J. Cron, SP/RP Rony Garcia, SP Zack Godley, C Eric Haase, SP Ivan Nova, C Jhon Nunez, OF Cameron Maybin, C Austin Romine, RP Hector Santiago, 2B Jonathan Schoop, RP Alex Wilson
Notable subtractions: IF Gordon Beckham (SD), SP/RP Matt Hall (BOS), IF Josh Harrison (PHI), SP Edwin Jackson (ARI), SP Matt Moore (Japan), IF/OF Ronny Rodriguez (MIL), SP Tyson Ross (SF), RP Drew VerHagen (Japan)
Like the Orioles, the Tigers' goal is to remain bad. However, Detroit actually took some chances on guys who might be worth something. There's a pretty good case to be made that Cron and Schoop are both better than anyone on Baltimore's roster. And adding a reclamation project like Godley is a great move. As recently as 2018, the right-hander was striking out more than nine batters per nine innings.
Notable additions: OF Kenedy Corona, C Martin Maldonado, RP Austin Pruitt, RP Joe Smith, RP Blake Taylor
Notable subtractions: C Robinson Chirinos (TEX), SP Gerrit Cole (NYY), RP Will Harris (WSH), OF Jake Marisnick (NYM), RP Collin McHugh (FA), SP Wade Miley (CIN), RP Hector Rondon (ARI), OF Cal Stevenson (TB)
Even if we exclude one of the biggest scandals in the sport's history from the grading, the Astros' offseason still sucked. They brought in nothing new of any real consequence after retaining Maldonado and Smith, all while watching Cole leave for the presumptive AL favorites. The Astros are still a good team with a great core, but Dusty Baker will need to manage a club with very high expectations as the media peppers the players with sign-stealing questions all season. That's surely not what Houston fans wanted after the Athletics, Angels, and Rangers all made moves to improve this offseason.
Notable additions: SP Chance Adams, 3B Maikel Franco, RP Greg Holland, IF/OF Matt Reynolds, SP Braden Shipley, RP Stephen Woods Jr.
Notable subtractions: RP Jacob Barnes (LAA), OF Jorge Bonifacio (DET), IF Cheslor Cuthbert (CWS), RP Trevor Oaks (SF)
Another bottom-feeding club, the Royals made the interesting move of bringing back fan-favorite reliever Holland while also taking a flier on Franco and losing no notable pieces. They still won't be very good and Kansas City's biggest adding is Mike Matheny as manager, but those moves jive with the club's 2020 expectations.
Notable additions: RP Matt Andriese, SP Dylan Bundy, C Jason Castro, RP Kyle Keller, RP Mike Mayers, RP Jose Quijada, RP Neil Ramirez, 3B Anthony Rendon, SP Julio Teheran, SP Garrett Williams
Notable subtractions: 1B Justin Bour (Japan), SP Trevor Cahill (SF), OF Kole Calhoun (ARI), 3B Kaleb Cowart (FA), IF Zack Cozart (SF), RP Luis Garcia (TEX), RP Jake Jewell (SF), SP Nick Tropeano (NYY), SS Will Wilson (SF)
The Angels finally snagged another superstar to pair with Mike Trout in Rendon, and that will be the headline leading into the season. However, the Halos reportedly missing out on a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers that would have brought them Ross Stripling and Joc Pederson is a somewhat sour subhead. There's no question the team improved and could contend for the wild card - or maybe even the division if everything breaks right - but the rotation was the biggest area of need, and adding Bundy and Teheran wasn't enough.
Notable additions: C Alex Avila, SP Homer Bailey, SP Jhoulys Chacin, RP Tyler Clippard, 3B Josh Donaldson, SP Rich Hill, SP Kenta Maeda, RP Matt Wisler
Notable subtractions: 1B/DH C.J. Cron (DET), RP Sam Dyson (FA), SP Kyle Gibson (TEX), SP Stephen Gonsalvez (NYM), RP Brusdar Graterol, RP Trevor Hildenberger (BOS), 2B Jonathan Schoop (DET), RP Kohl Stewart (BAL)
For a while, it seemed like the Twins might miss out on everyone they were targeting and then resort to a Plan C or D or even E. Instead, they added veteran depth to their rotation with Bailey, Hill, and - if he breaks camp - Chacin. And grabbing Maeda from the Dodgers is a huge boon. The biggest move, though, was spending big to land Donaldson. Not only does the 2015 MVP bring a veteran presence and an elite bat to third base, but he also allows the team to play Miguel Sano, a much worse defender, at first base. The Twins could be a powerhouse, depending on what Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi bring to the table in 2020.
Notable additions: SP Gerrit Cole, C Chris Iannetta, OF Zack Granite, SP Nick Tropeano, RP Adam Warren, RP Tony Zych,
Notable subtractions: SP Chance Adams (KC), RP Dellin Betances (NYM), 1B Greg Bird (TEX), OF Jacoby Ellsbury (FA), 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion (CWS), SS Didi Gregorius (PHI), OF Cameron Maybin (DET), C Austin Romine (DET)
The Yankees were a near-perfect team in 2019, and they maybe needed some starting pitching help to really get over the top. So, what did they do this offseason? New York reeled in the best starting pitcher to hit free agency since at least Max Scherzer, finally spending like the Yankees of old to get it done. Losing Gregorius is somewhat notable, but the club already fields DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres in the infield. In the bullpen, Betances departing stings a touch too. But with Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, and Chad Green already on board, losing one reliever won't be too noticeable.
Notable additions: C Austin Allen, RP Donnie Hart, OF Tony Kemp, IF Vimael Machin, RP T. J. McFarland, C Carlos Perez, OF Buddy Reed
Notable subtractions: SP Brett Anderson (MIL), SP Homer Bailey (MIN), RP Ryan Buchter (FA), SP Jharel Cotton (CHC), SP Marco Estrada (FA), SP Matt Harvey (FA), C Josh Phegley (CHC), IF Jurickson Profar (SD), SP Tanner Roark (TOR), RP Blake Treinen (LAD)
The A's lost a lot of starting pitching depth and did very little to address those departures. However, external additions weren't really key for Oakland, because the club is focusing on the internal graduations of top pitching prospects Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk. Still, if either falter, relying heavily on Paul Blackburn, Daniel Gossett, or Daniel Mengden (the latter two of whom are injured) wouldn't be ideal. Behind the plate, adding Allen into a platoon with prospect Sean Murphy could lead to a sneaky dominant partnership.
Notable additions: SP Wei-Yin Chen, RP Nestor Cortes Jr., RP Carl Edwards Jr., C Dustin Garneau, SP Kendall Graveman, OF Carlos Gonzalez, IF/OF Sam Haggerty, IF/OF Alen Hanson, SP Adam Hill, RP Yoshihisa Hirano, RP Yohan Ramirez, SP Nick Margevicius, SP Taijuan Walker, RP Phillips Valdez, IF/OF Patrick Wisdom
Notable subtractions: RP Anthony Bass (TOR), IF Tim Beckham (FA), OF Keon Broxton (MIL), 1B/3B Ryon Healy (MIL), SP Felix Hernandez (ATL), SP Wade LeBlanc (BAL), SP Tommy Milone (BAL), C Omar Narvaez (MIL), OF Domingo Santana (FA), RP Arodys Vizcaino (FA), RP Matt Wisler (MIN)
For once, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto didn't try to get marginally better by making a series of trades, and it may work out. The team now boasts one of the best farm systems in baseball, with a host of very interesting fliers joining them next year in Chen, Edwards, Graveman, Gonzalez, Margevicius, Walker, and Wisdom. The club won't be good this season, but it could actually be fun, and that's a step in the right direction.
Notable additions: OF Randy Arozarena, RP Dylan Covey, C Logan Driscoll, SS Xavier Edwards, C Chris Herrmann, RP Aaron Loup, OF Manuel Margot, OF Jose Martinez, OF Hunter Renfroe, OF Cal Stevenson, IF/OF Yoshi Tsutsugo
Notable subtractions: 1B Jesus Aguilar (MIA), C Travis d'Arnaud (ATL), SP Jose De Leon (CIN), 3B Matt Duffy (TEX), OF Avisail Garcia (MIL), OF Guillermo Heredia (PIT), SP Matthew Liberatore (STL), RP Emilio Pagan (SD), OF Tommy Pham (SD), RP Austin Pruitt (HOU), 2B Eric Sogard (MIL), RP Cole Sulser (BAL),
The Rays usually give us an inexplicable trade, and this winter's version was dealing away Pham to acquire Renfroe and speedy shortstop prospect Edwards. The offseason became more interesting, though, when Tampa Bay just kept adding outfielders, flipping pitching prospect Liberatore to the St. Louis Cardinals for Martinez and Arozarena, then snatching Margot from the San Diego Padres. In a vacuum, those deals are relatively sound. But it's anyone's guess how the Rays figure out their logjam of outfield talent that includes incumbents Kevin Kiermaier and Austin Meadows.
Notable additions: RP Cody Allen, 1B Greg Bird, C Robinson Chirinos, 3B Matt Duffy, 3B Todd Frazier, SP Kyle Gibson, RP Nick Goody, SP Taylor Jungmann, SP Corey Kluber, RP Derek Law, SP Jordan Lyles, RP Juan Nicasio, RP Joely Rodriguez, C/OF Blake Swihart, 1B Sam Travis, OF Steele Walker
Notable subtractions: RP Emmanuel Clase (CLE), OF Delino DeShields (CLE), IF Logan Forsythe (PHI), OF Nomar Mazara (CWS), OF Hunter Pence (SF), SP Adrian Sampson (Korea)
Buying low on Kluber could be an absolute coup for Texas. However, the Rangers' winter was still a bit of a disappointment. Publicly, their sights were set on stardom while wanting to recruit Houston native Rendon to the club. Instead, they had to watch him sign with the division-rival Angels. The Rangers also wound up missing out on all the top pitchers in the offseason before heading to their new ballpark. The consolation prizes were pretty decent, though, with the club adding Gibson and Lyles to its rotation, while attempting to fill the hole at third base with Frazier and Duffy.
Notable additions: SP Chase Anderson, RP Anthony Bass, RP Rafael Dolis, C Caleb Joseph, RP Brian Moran, 2B Joe Panik, RP Jake Petricka, SP Tanner Roark, SP Hyun-Jin Ryu, 3B Travis Shaw, SP IF Ruben Tejada, SP Shun Yamaguchi
Notable subtractions: RP Buddy Boshers (FA), SP Clay Buchholz (FA), RP Derek Law (TEX), C Luke Maile (PIT), SP Clayton Richard (FA), 1B Justin Smoak (MIL), RP Ryan Tepera (CHC), 2B Devon Travis (FA), IF Richard Urena (BAL)
The Blue Jays had every reason in the world to not spend this winter. The Yankees are too good for them and so are the Rays. However, with a youth movement already in full swing, Toronto's front office astutely noticed a window to add reinforcements to a rebuilding squad. Ryu was the big-ticket piece this offseason, but the Jays also acquired notable depth after recruiting Yamaguchi, Anderson, and Roark. Last season, 21 different pitchers made starts for the Blue Jays. Expect much more normalcy in Toronto's rotation going forward.