Free Agency: Winners & Losers Thus Far
Every off-season we have a period of time where we baseball fans get to sit back and watch as the owners of our teams go out and spend money like it's going out of style on acquiring new players. Unfortunately for some of us, the team we support for isn't owned by Steve Cohen. Personally I like the aggressiveness in spending. I think it shows willingness to be competitive and put out a good product for the fans. Can all of free agency be handled differently in more reasonable and efficient ways? Sure but were not here to discuss MLB operations we are here to take a look at what teams have made the best moves thus far in free agency and what teams have decided not to be competitive.
Three teams I consider winners:
Honorable Mention: New York Yankees
Miraculously they did enough to sign Judge which was the most important to-do on the checklist. They re-signed Anthony Rizzo for 2 years then even locked down an ace in Carlos Rodon for 6-years! Love the moves and think these were moves that were necessary to continue competing for a World Series. In fact I the Yankees might have the best rotation in baseball now (when healthy) but I think they need to make another move or two to really lock in a lineup that can compete with other playoff contenders. Would love to see them acquire another OF and somehow offload Aaron Hicks. Even if there is a trade out there for say...Bryan Reynolds including Gleyber Torres and a prospect, if it means getting rid of Hicks this would be huge for the Bronx Bombers.
The defending World Champs know what they are doing. They signed a solid bat and former MVP in Jose Abreu which adds even more power into this offensive juggernaut. It ain't all sunshine and rainbows as reigning Cy Young Award Winner, Justin Verlander, has decided to join forces with Steve Cohen and the Mets to bring New York a World Series title with former teammate Max Scherzer. The Astros most likely do not need to add much pitching as the bullpen was incredible in 2022 and looks to all be returning, the rotation returns Valdez, Javier, McCullers, Garcia, Brown, Urquidy which is also almost as solid as is gets especially if youngster Hunter Brown takes the next jump. If they manage to got and get another starter or reliever this team is scary yet again with a core of Alvarez, Tucker, Pena, Altuve, Abreu, Bregman and Brantley!
Bolstering that lineup by adding one of MLB's best players in Trea Turner. Perfect match in my mind as the lineup healthy will include Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto, and Rhys Hoskins. They also adding starter Taijuan Walker and reliever Matt Strahm to add depth to the pitching staff. Wouldn't be surprised if Philly makes another move or two for an arm or defensive utility player.
Holy cow that is a lot of cash. Steve Cohen and the Mets spent so much money I am not going to go into the deals and evaluate my thoughts on if I think the deals will work out or not. I am just looking that they resigned reliever Edwin Diaz added Cy Young Winner - Justin Verlander, signed perennial All-Star - Carlos Correa (I think), starter Jose Quintana, reliever - Brooks Railey, reliever - David Robertson, outfielder - Brandon Nimmo, starter - Kodai Senga, reliever - Adam Ottavino, catcher - Omar Narvaez. Words cannot explain the depth and talent the Mets got here. Topping it off with essentially only losing Jacob deGrom, Taijaun Walker, Chris Bassitt, Michael Conforto and J.D. Davis. This was an incredible off-season for the Mets and incredibly expensive.
Three teams I consider losers:
Honorable Mention: Rangers
General Manager Chris Young has been busy and I don't know if I like it, especially if I am a Rangers fan. Don't get me wrong I love the willingness to be competitive and going out there to assemble a team. My hesitation is with where all the money is going and is it being spent wisely? The Rangers have essentially invested a half billion yes BILLION dollars into the interior of the infield alone last year with the signings of Marcus Semien (32) and Corey Seager (28) and they followed that up by signing two veteran arms in Jacob deGrom (34) and Nathan Eovaldi (32). deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball when healthy but right there is the key word "HEALTH" and he hasn't been healthy considering he hasn't pitched more than 15 games in a season since 2019. From what I can see the Rangers are looking to build a plethora of power arms in their farm system but I am not sure when all those arms start to arrive on to the big stage in order to make a real playoff run.
You have Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, go get some help for these two. I don't care that Anthony Rendon is healthy. The lineup, rotation and bullpen all stink. Two guys are not going to win you a World Series and adding players like Brandon Drury and Hunter Renfroe do not make you contenders, they make you pretenders. This is General Manager Perry Miniasian trying to put lipstick on a pig. Please for the all that is good in this world trade one or both of your generational talents away and rebuild from scratch.
This is hard for me to write about because the Dodgers are always so competitive and can still make a big splash. They lost Trea Turner to the Philadelphia Phillies which is a blow on both offense and defense. Retained Kershaw which I thought was a great deal for 1-year. They did sign pitcher Noah Syndergaard who can be a total X-Factor as well as DH J.D. Martinez who I really like for this lineup but overall I am not impressed with their off-season thus far. They let former MVP Cody Bellinger go which I am okay with as he was going to cost a lot to retain and has not been good in two seasons. Justin Turner is now a member of the Red Sox. If Syndergaard does okay their rotation for this year could be 1) Julio Urias 2) Clayton Kershaw 3) Tony Gonsolin 4) Dustin May 5) Noah Syndergaard 6) Gavin Stone/Bobby Miller/ other prospect which would be devastating to opposing lineups. The Dodgers are similar to the Yankees for me where 1 or 2 more bats can move the needle for me.
No Aaron Judge, No Carlos Correa, No Carlos Rodon followed up by signing outfielder Michael Conforto and reliever Taylor Rogers. Can you say swing and a WHIFF????? This team was suppose to go out and sign a couple if not a few stud players to come in and make a average roster competitive. Instead they signed Michael Conforto. This is a "big market" team and has money to spend and they simply aren't acting like a "big market" team. I always like to look into the organization's farm system when they aren't spending to see if maybe they are being cheap because of what they know they have coming up. What I found...nothing to much to brag about considering they only have 2 guys currently ranked in the MLB Pipeline Top 100 prospects and a middle to back end of the pack ranking when it comes to overall farm system.
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