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. Jose Abreu joined select company with his 162nd career game

    Apr 26, 2015, 11:05 PM EDT

    Jose Abreu Jose Abreu

    Jose Abreu, one might say, is good at hitting baseballs.

  2. Max Scherzer thinks the National League should adopt the DH

    Apr 26, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT

    Max Scherzer Max Scherzer

    Max Scherzer made an argument for bringing the DH to the National League.

  3. The market for Cole Hamels is getting bigger

    Apr 26, 2015, 9:25 PM EDT

    Cole Hamels Cole Hamels

    Perhaps Phillies GM Ruben Amaro was right to hold onto Cole Hamels.

  4. Alex Rodriguez hits 659th career home run, now one shy of tying Willie Mays

    Apr 26, 2015, 8:39 PM EDT

    Alex Rodriguez Alex Rodriguez

    Alex Rodriguez hit his 659th career home run on Sunday night against the Mets, leaving him one shy of tying Willie Mays.

  5. Video: Alex Gordon dives into the stands to make the catch

    Apr 26, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    Alex Gordon Getty Images

    Alex Gordon made an exceptional catch to help Edinson Volquez in Sunday’s game against the White Sox.

  6. Orioles score 18 runs against the Red Sox, setting a new club record

    Apr 26, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    Manny Machado, Rey Navarro Manny Machado, Rey Navarro

    The Orioles set a club record for runs scored and the Red Sox starting rotation continues to falter.

  7. A’s sign Ryan Roberts to minor league contract

    Apr 26, 2015, 5:17 PM EDT

    ryan roberts getty Getty Images

    As first reported by Jeff Hem, the play-by-play announcer for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, the Athletics have signed veteran infielder Ryan Roberts to a minor league contract.

  8. A’s option fifth starter Kendall Graveman to AAA

    Apr 26, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

    kendall graveman getty Getty Images

    Graveman allowed six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings Saturday in a loss to the Astros, falling to 1-2 on the season with an 8.27 ERA and 2.02 WHIP in 16 1/3 total frames (four starts).

  9. Pitchers batting is dumb and the DH should be universal

    Apr 26, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    adam wainwirght getty Getty Images

    And no, I don’t say that just because Adam Wainwright has been lost for the season due to an injury sustained while hitting.

  10. Dodgers place Yasiel Puig and Joel Peralta on the DL

    Apr 26, 2015, 2:58 PM EDT

    dodgers logo

    Two important Dodgers are now on the shelf.

  11. Max Scherzer doubtful for next start due to thumb injury

    Apr 26, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    scherzer getty Getty Images

    Scherzer jammed his right thumb during an at-bat Thursday afternoon against the Cardinals. It doesn’t sound like a serious injury, but the $210 million right-hander isn’t going to be rushed back.

  12. Jose Bautista hopes to return early this week

    Apr 26, 2015, 1:02 PM EDT

    jose bautista getty Getty Images

    Last week, it looked like Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista might be headed to the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain. He has now missed five straight games, but the news Sunday was good …

  13. Navy lieutenant Mitch Harris made his MLB debut

    Apr 26, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

    mitch harris getty Getty Images

    Cardinals right-hander Mitch Harris is the first graduate of the United States Naval Academy to appear in a major league game since 1921.

  14. Dodgers sign Mike Carp to minor league deal

    Apr 26, 2015, 11:29 AM EDT

    mike carp getty Getty Images

    The 28-year-old first baseman and outfielder will report to the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City.

  15. Brandon McCarthy left his start Saturday with tight elbow

    Apr 26, 2015, 10:40 AM EDT

    brandon mccarthy getty Getty Images

    Dodgers right-hander Brandon McCarthy called for a trainer immediately after serving up a three-run homer to Padres slugger Justin Upton in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday night at Petco Park.

  16. Protesters converge on Oriole Park at Camden Yards

    Apr 26, 2015, 9:51 AM EDT

    ALCS - Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles - Game One Getty Images

    It was a long, tense Saturday night at Baltimore’s Camden Yards, where the home team needed extra innings to beat the Red Sox inside the park and thousands of protesters angry over the death of Freddie Gray made their presence felt outside.

  17. It sure sounds like Adam Wainwright suffered a torn Achilles tendon on Saturday night

    Apr 26, 2015, 9:24 AM EDT

    adam wainwirght getty Getty Images

    The official word — for now — from the Cardinals is that ace right-hander Adam Wainwright left his start Saturday night against the Brewers because of a “left ankle injury.” But watch the video for yourself …

  18. Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

    Apr 26, 2015, 8:37 AM EDT

    ryan braun getty Getty Images

    It’s getting uglier and uglier for the Brew Crew.

  19. Hisashi Iwakuma has a Grade 1 lat strain, will miss 2-4 weeks

    Apr 25, 2015, 11:05 PM EDT

    Hisashi Iwakuma Hisashi Iwakuma

    Hisashi Iwakuma could miss up to a month after being diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of his right lat muscle.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (4318)
  2. A. Russell (3263)
  3. J. Bautista (3014)
  4. J. Maxwell (2955)
  5. D. Smyly (2881)
  1. D. Travis (2847)
  2. Y. Puig (2831)
  3. A. Guerrero (2813)
  4. M. Saunders (2805)
  5. B. Zobrist (2700)