Offseason in Review

It’s been a wild MLB offseason so far. Here’s what you need to know. Art/Photo Request: picture of gerrit cole with yankees jersey on

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Baseball season officially ended on October 30 when the Washington Nationals were crowned champs for the first time in franchise history. Next season doesn’t officially start until around mid-February, when pitchers and catchers report to spring training. While that big gray-area of empty space may sound boring, there really is no offseason in Major League Baseball, with new signings seemingly being made every day and Twitter ringing in rumors and potential trades around the clock. This may sound very chaotic, so I’m here to help break down all the big offseason acquisitions so far this winter.

The first big acquisition of the winter came down in Atlanta back in early November. Will Smith, who was an All-Star this past season for the Giants, agreed to a three-year, 40 million dollar deal with Atlanta. This will help the Braves’ bullpen, which wasn’t a strong suit of theirs in 2019. The Braves also went out and signed Cole Hamels to a one-year, 18 million dollar deal to help bolster their rotation. Though he isn’t one of the high-tier pitchers available, he’s a solid veteran who can add depth to the Braves’ staff.

While there have been countless rumors of the Cubs having some of their stars on the trade block, it’s been their cross-town rivals, the White Sox, who have been making splashes so far. They signed arguably the best catcher in baseball, Yasmani Grandal, to a four-year, 73 million dollar deal, and they also signed Dallas Keuchel to be his battery-mate, as well as Lucas Giolito’s counterpart in the rotation. This is a team that has always had potential, and especially after re-signing Jose Abreu and signing Edwin Encarnacion, it looks like they could be making a run for a playoff spot in the AL Central in 2020.

The Reds joined in on the winter fun by signing Mike Moustakas to a four-year deal. Cincinnati made lots of moves this summer at the trade deadline, and their pitching has been surprisingly good. Their bats were the problem, but now that they’ve added another solid bat to the lineup, they might have a shot at a playoff spot.

The winners of last offseason with Bryce Harper, the Phillies didn’t back down this winter after a disappointing 2019, signing Zach Wheeler away from their rival Mets and Didi Gregorious to man the middle of the infield with Jean Segura. Wheeler has always been a great starter on the Mets, and Didi has been a consistent shortstop for the past few years. The Phillies are hoping that these assets will be enough to finally get them a spot in the postseason again.

The reigning champs basically had to choose between re-signing their MVP candidate third-baseman or their World Series MVP starter. They went with Strasburg, and gave him (at the time) a record 245 million for seven years, locking him in to go with Scherzer for awhile. Strasburg will continue to give the Nationals one of the best rotations in baseball, and to keep their lineup secure, they also re-signed World Series hero Howie Kendrick for another year. Washington isn’t done yet, and they are looking to defend their title.

The biggest prize of the offseason was Gerrit Cole, and who else but the evil empire, the Yankees, would go out and give him a whopping 324 million for nine years. So close to reaching the World Series in 2019, the Bombers are poised to make it this year, and they won the top prize this winter already. Cole had one of the best seasons by a pitcher in recent memory, and he will make the Yanks’ rotation very scary in 2020. But, they also did lose reliever Dellin Betances to their cross-town rivals, the Mets. This will help the Mets’ poor bullpen hopefully improve this coming season, and with a lineup like theirs, the Mets could make a legit playoff run.

In LA, both teams were expected to make a splash this offseason. The Dodgers weren’t able to sign one of the big stars, but still ended up with RP Blake Treinen, who will help their bullpen immensely. The Angels also struck out at one of the star pitchers, who they desperately needed to help their lackluster rotation, but they instead got the best available bat in MVP candidate Anthony Rendon. Pairing him with Mike Trout is a scary duo, and if their pitching can figure it out, this team can go far.

As for the other pitchers who were available, the Diamondbacks made a splash by signing veteran Madison Bumgarner who will replace Zach Greinke, whom they traded in July. The Rangers traded for former Cy Young Corey Kluber, who should return to full form after battling injuries for most of 2019. And the Blue Jays started to build their rotation by signing Cy Young candidate Hyun-Jin Ryu to a four-year deal. This will help them build around their stellar young core of hitters, and hopefully propel them to a playoff spot in a very tough AL East.

Many moves were made so far this winter, and it’s far from over. While many of the most coveted free agents signed early, there are still many big names floating around, like the possibility of Josh Hader being traded from Milwaukee. But so far, it seems like the Yankees won big by signing the best available pitcher Gerrit Cole, and the White Sox have made plenty of moves to shoot for a playoff spot. Teams like the Dodgers, however, seem to have struck out after being rumored to be big spenders this offseason. It’s still early, though. There’s still plenty of time for this to change—all it takes is one big trade to put a team over the edge and snag the first World Series title of the decade.