Skip to content

Ranking the best off-seasons so far

Dec 29, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT

Carlos Beltran Getty Images

We’re almost into 2014, which means we’re only about a month and a half away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training — the official start of baseball. Most of the big name free agents are off the board and thus most teams have already finished shopping or have done most of the heavy lifting already. With that said, let’s look over the teams that have had the five best off-seasons to this point.

5. New York Yankees — Any time you add Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Hiroki Kuroda, you have had a productive off-season. The Yankees have committed $328 million in free agency so far and may still spend more depending on how far they get in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes. The Yankees were shocked, however, when second baseman Robinson Cano opted to take a ten-year, $240 million deal with the Mariners — a team that has finished in fourth place or worse in eight out of the last ten seasons — rather than continue his legacy in the Bronx. The Yankees’ already old and injury-prone infield became even more uncertain as they seem to be relegated to using Kelly Johnson sans Cano. The Yankees also have a bit of rotation uncertainty to address, but that could be fixed by signing Tanaka. Overall, a mostly productive off-season but the loss of Cano hit them hard.

4. Detroit Tigers — The Tigers have had an interesting off-season to say the least. They breathed a huge sigh of relief when they were able to unload the remainder of Prince Fielder‘s nine-year, $214 million deal on the Rangers and get Ian Kinsler to show for it. However, they followed up with one of the more questionable trades in recent memory, trading starter Doug Fister to the Nationals for reliever Ian Krol, infielder Steve Lombardozzi, and Minor League starter Robbie Ray. The Tigers are as in win-now mode as any team out there, so the Fister trade could only have precipitated another shoe dropping, but that shoe has yet to drop. Elsewhere, the Tigers added Rajai Davis and Joba Chamberlain along with new closer Joe Nathan. The Tigers should once again be the favorite to win the AL Central.

3. Texas Rangers — There is no doubt the Rangers got better, but the question is at what cost? Acquiring Prince Fielder cost them Ian Kinsler. While they certainly had the depth to afford to do that, they also had to take on Fielder’s gargantuan contract. The Rangers also committed $130 million to Shin-Soo Choo, who may be a platoon outfielder at best. However, the Rangers will have one of the most powerful offenses in baseball in 2014 and should be a pre-season pick to contend at least for the AL Wild Card if not win the AL West outright over the Athletics.

2. Tampa Bay Rays — The small-market Rays raised some eyebrows when they signed free agent first baseman James Loney to a three-year, $21 million deal. In a market flush with first basemen, it was surprising to see the Rays commit three years to a player at a team on the wrong end of the positional spectrum. Loney, however, had a career rebirth in 2013 and the Rays must see a reason for it to continue. Rays GM Andrew Friedman also added reliever Heath Bell and catcher Ryan Hanigan in a three-way trade with the Diamondbacks and Reds, relinquishing only two non-prospect Minor Leaguers. The Rays adequately addressed all of their needs and didn’t get bogged down by a big, expensive contract as is their habit. A pretty standard, productive off-season for them.

1. St. Louis Cardinals — The Cardinals had one need: a shortstop who can hit. The free agent market for shortstops was thin, with just Jhonny Peralta and Stephen Drew at the top, but the Cardinals snagged their guy, signing Peralta to a four-year, $53 million deal. They also traded David Freese and Fernando Salas to the Angels for Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk, a trade that has a lot of upside for the Cards. They have nothing left to do, so they will bide their time until spring training when they will start their quest to win the National League pennant yet again.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Yankees talking to Padres about a deal for Ian Kennedy

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:19 PM EDT

    f9709064dc0d3dbba119326284ff6ded AP

    The Yankees are reportedly considering a reunion with right-hander Ian Kennedy.

  2. Jonathan Papelbon to Phillies fans: Bring on the boos

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:18 PM EDT

    201b75e51f895253777b6c9537344e55 Getty Images

    Jonathan Papelbon was booed by Phillies fans this afternoon, but it didn’t bother him. In fact, he says bring it on.

  3. The Astros are hesitant to trade Chad Qualls

    Jul 24, 2014, 10:20 PM EDT

    Chad Qualls Getty Getty Images

    Chad Qualls quietly owns a 1.78 ERA this season. The Astros are reluctant to deal him.

  4. Picture of the Day: Dallas Keuchel has a clever message for a heckler

    Jul 24, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT

    Dallas Keuchel AP AP

    Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel tossed a baseball to a heckler during today’s game against the Athletics. And the ball contained a clever message.

  5. MLBPA files grievance against Astros in regard to draft pick situation

    Jul 24, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    astros logo

    When the Astros failed to agree to terms with No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken earlier this month, many speculated that the next step would be a grievance against the team from the MLBPA. That’s exactly what has happened.

  6. The Mariners are interested in Drew Stubbs

    Jul 24, 2014, 7:35 PM EDT

    Drew Stubbs Getty Getty Images

    The Mariners brought back Kendrys Morales in a deal with the Twins today, but they aren’t done attempting to upgrade.

  7. Report: Phillies “working hard” to trade Ryan Howard

    Jul 24, 2014, 7:09 PM EDT

    Ryan Howard AP AP

    The Phillies appear ready to move on from Ryan Howard.

  8. Yankees acquire left-hander Chris Capuano from the Rockies

    Jul 24, 2014, 6:31 PM EDT

    Chris Capuano Getty Getty Images

    Yankees general manager Brian Cashman continues to stay busy.

  9. Zach Putnam lands on disabled list with shoulder inflammation

    Jul 24, 2014, 6:13 PM EDT

    Zach Putnam AP

    Zach Putnam has had a share of the closer role with the White Sox in recent weeks, but now he’s headed to the 15-day disabled list due to right shoulder inflammation.

  10. Fractured fibula likely to keep Astros prospect Carlos Correa from Arizona Fall League

    Jul 24, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT

    Carlos Correa AP

    Before the injury Correa was having an excellent season, hitting .325 with 20 steals in 62 games at high Single-A as a 19-year-old.

  11. Ryan Howard does not seem too happy about platooning

    Jul 24, 2014, 5:32 PM EDT

    ryan howard getty Getty Images

    It’s been bad in Philly. Is it starting to get ugly?

  12. Masahiro Tanaka “is still reporting discomfort in his elbow”

    Jul 24, 2014, 5:10 PM EDT

    Masahiro Tanaka AP AP

    Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka is supposed to rest for six weeks before doctors determine if he needs Tommy John elbow surgery, but 10 days into the process things aren’t going well.

  13. The eyes have it: Thomas’ greatness built on patience

    Jul 24, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

    140724-frank-thomas-1000 Getty Images

    Frank Thomas is headed to the Hall of Fame thanks to his legendary batting eye.

  14. Expert’s Corner: How to troll fans of all 30 teams

    Jul 24, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

    Sad Phillies fans

    Everyone has a gift. This is my gift. I shall now share it with you.

  15. Chuck Knoblauch arrested, accused of assaulting ex-wife

    Jul 24, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Chuck Knoblauch

    According to K-HOU television in Houston the 46-year-old Knoblauch has been charged with assault of a family member, Cheri Knoblauch, whom he divorced in 2012.

  16. Mariners re-acquire Kendrys Morales from Twins for Stephen Pryor

    Jul 24, 2014, 2:51 PM EDT

    Kendrys-Morales-Twins Getty Images

    Kendrys Morales had a good first week for the Twins after sitting out the first two months of the season and then signing a one-year, $7.5 million deal in June, but he’s been horrendous since then while hitting .209 with one homer and a .524 OPS in 33 games.

  17. Are the Dodgers about to dump Dan Haren?

    Jul 24, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

    Dan Haren Dodgers AP

    Dan Haren finished last season strong for the Nationals, signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Dodgers this offseason, and got off to a nice start in Los Angeles.

  18. HBT Daily: La Russa, Torre and Cox to be inducted on Sunday

    Jul 24, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    HBT Daily Logo

    And it provides us with an opportunity to think about what it means to be a Hall of Fame manager.

Featured video

Managers get easier path to Cooperstown
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Street (3407)
  2. T. Tulowitzki (2808)
  3. C. Headley (2742)
  4. Y. Puig (2636)
  5. H. Ramirez (2617)
  1. B. Belt (2432)
  2. C. Lee (2424)
  3. R. Howard (2367)
  4. A. Rios (2124)
  5. M. Trout (2072)