The MLB offseason is a time for franchises to address their weaknesses and improve. Teams improve by signing free agents or trading top prospects for major league players. This offseason the wallet was open for spending, as teams set records for spending. Here are this offseasons winners and losers so far.
The Cubs were already a favorite to make it to the World Series at the start of the offseason, and their new additions make their chances even better. The Cubs have some of the best young talent in the league and they complimented it by signing playoff proven veterans Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, and John Lackey. Heyward, one of the best all around outfielders in the game, signed a gigantic 8 year, $184 million contract. He is coming off a great season with the Cardinals and is expected to bat leadoff and play center field for the Cubs. Zobrist will provide great playoff experience, as he helped the Royals win last years World Series. He can play any position and is considered a super utility man. Zobrist is expected to play 2nd base and bat 2nd. Lackey addresses the pitching depth the Cubs had in the playoffs. He will be the number 3 starter behind aces Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester. Lackey’s postseason pitching resume will be a big help for Chicago.
San Francisco Giants
It’s an even year, and every Giants fan knows what that means. Despite having pitching rotation problems and injuries to key players all season, the Giants managed to stay in playoff contention until the final week of the season. For General Manager Bobby Evans, the offseason goal was to address the pitching rotation questions by adding 1 or 2 impact starters. Although they missed out on their first target, Zack Greinke, the Giants responded by adding two elite arms. First, they signed hard throwing righty Jeff Samardzija to a 5 year, $90 million deal. The “Shark” is coming off a bad year with the White Sox, but he is a former all star with great potential. The Giants have the best pitching coaches in baseball, and they are expected to work on Samardzija’s mechanics. The next pitching addition was a pleasant surprise. Johnny Cueto, an elite ace coming off a dominant World Series performance with the Royals, signed for $130 million for 6 years. Cueto has had the second lowest ERA since 2011, only behind Clayton Kershaw. He, along with Madison Bumgarner, will headline a 2016 pitching staff that now matches anyone in the MLB. The Giants finished the offseason by adding Denard Span. Span, when healthy, is one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball. He is coming off an injury shortened season, but he is capable of hitting for a high average with good defense.
The D-Backs made the biggest surprise of the offseason by adding Zack Greinke for the highest annual average contract in MLB history. Greinke was expected to sign with either the Giants or Dodgers, but decided to sign for $34 million a year with Arizona. Greinke had one of the best seasons in the past 2 decades posting a sub 2.00 ERA. He gives the Diamondbacks the ace they have needed since Brandon Webb left a few years back. They also traded for Shelby Miller, who is expected to be the number 2 starter behind Greinke. Miller is a good young talent with high potential. The trade Arizona made with the Braves was controversial, however, as the Diamondbacks gave up last years number 1 overall draft pick for the pitcher. Many people around the league thought they traded too much for a pitcher of Miller’s caliber.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers lost their second best player when Zack Greinke darted for Arizona. Their pitching staff downgraded significantly and the outfield logjam problem still exists. The Dodgers replaced Greinke with Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda. Both pitchers are good, but nowhere near Greinke’s level. Losing Greinke will cost the Dodgers some wins this season, as he is an irreplaceable type of pitcher.
New York Mets
Although the Mets are the reigning National League Champions, it will be difficult to make it back to the World Series based on their players lost this offseason. New York lost postseason hero Daniel Murphy to the Nationals and the team decided not to resign Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes was the biggest midseason acquistion of last season, and he is considered the main reason the Mets made the playoffs. Cespedes posted MVP offensive numbers and went on to win a Gold Glove. Losing 2 of their top 3 hitters will be hard to overcome for the Mets. On the bright side, pitcher Zack Wheeler is expected to return and join a young Mets pitching staff that impressed in the playoffs.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals have been the most successful team for the past decade, making the playoffs almost every year. They lost a lot this offseason and may not be the favorite to win the division this season. Jason Heyward, possibly their best player all year, signed with the Cubs. John Lackey also left for Cubs, leaving a hole at the top of the pitching rotation. Starter Lance Lynn, a key pitcher in the rotation, will miss all of 2016 after Tommy John Surgery. Injuries and age have caught up with core players Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday, and there are questions on whether or not they can stay healthy the whole season. The Cardinal’s young players will have to step up to fill the void of key players lost to compete for the division.
By: Nick Cillo