The MLB offseason was a slow one. But it didn’t stop a few teams from having stellar offseasons, considering the financial hardships that each major-league team is facing due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, there are plenty of teams who stood out this winter. Sure, teams like the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies retained some of their players, but those moves didn’t improve those teams; it just keeps them safe. We’re talking about teams who made significant moves that won the MLB offseason. These teams have put themselves in play for October baseball with a chance to run at the World Series.
5. St. Louis Cardinals
Nolan Arenado found his way to the St. Louis Cardinals during the MLB offseason. The Cardinals ended up on the better side of what could be one of the most lopsided baseball trades ever. They landed the third baseman from the Colorado Rockies, who also sent $51 million to help pay down Arenado’s salary. The 29-year old is a five-time All-Star, eight-time Gold Glover, and a four-time Silver Slugger.
The Cardinals had the best pitching and the best defense in the NL last season. The trade separates the Cardinals from their division rivals. St. Louis put themselves far ahead of the Cubs, Brewers, Reds, and the rebuilding Pittsburgh Pirates. They have the pitching staff, defense, and offense to be a complete team once again. Their newest addition puts them in a position to play with the NL’s best reams like the Dodgers, Padres, and Braves come playoff time.
4. New York Mets
Steve Cohen is the new majority owner of the New York Mets and the wealthiest owner in baseball. Cohen went to work and gave the Mets a strong offseason. The Mets made a blockbuster trade with the Cleveland Indians that landed All-Star Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco in exchange for prospects. They improved their catching depth with the signing of free agent James McCann.
McCann’s presence behind the plate will undoubtedly improve the Mets game calling and ability to shut down runners. In a few short months, the Mets up-the-middle defense has drastically improved with Lindor and McCann. Their bullpen got a minor makeover when they signed Trevor May and southpaws Aaron Loup and Joey Lucchesi. Even though the Mets fell short on signing reigning Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer, the Mets are in an excellent position to battle for the NL East division title.
3. Toronto Blue Jays
With their offseason moves, the Toronto Blue Jays are in a good position to get back to the playoffs. The Blue Jays landed the top free agent in George Springer. The outfielder came to terms with a six-year, $150 million deal. The outfield features Silver Slugger Teoscar Hernández on the right and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. on the left. Signing Marcus Semien to a one-year, $18 million deal was another smart offseason move for the Blue Jays. The 30-year old is a year removed from finishing third in AL MVP voting.
Playing with Bo, Vlad, and company gives the Blue Jays one of the most intriguing infields in all of baseball. If they can stay healthy, this team has the potential of having the best lineups in the league.
2. Chicago White Sox
While their other AL Central competitors cut costs, the Chicago White Sox capitalized on an opportunity to add more. By doing so, they went out and got the best reliever on the free-agent market in Liam Hendriks and one of the game’s most reliable pitchers in Lance Lynn. They finished the job by adding right fielder Adam Eaton to the fold. Chicago now has a deep pitching staff to complement a talented lineup that includes young players Tim Anderson, Eloy Jiménez, and Luis Robert.
Add that to the mix of AL MVP first baseman José Abreu and catcher Yasmani Grandal and the formula is there. This team is a special group that can compete for this year and beyond. The White Sox are good enough to go all the way this year in the American League.
1. San Diego Padres
It’s no surprise that the San Diego Padres won the MLB offseason. Their ability to retool their starting rotation saw the Padres trade for two top-end pitchers in Yu Darvish and Blake Snell. Darvish was the runner up in the NL Cy Young Award voting this past season. Snell is only three years removed from winning the AL Cy Young Award. The Padres continued to add depth behind Darvish and Snell when they acquired Joe Musgrove from the Pirates.
With those three, along with Dinelson Lamet, Chris Paddack, and Mackenzie Gore – one of the top pitching prospects in baseball – the Padres have the deepest rotation in the NL. San Diego didn’t finish with the pitching moves as they added infield depth. The Padres signed Ha-Seong Kim from South Korea. Versatility man Jurickson Profar re-signed to a three-year deal. The team will need to jell with the new faces on board, but they’ll be battling with the Dodgers for the NL West division title.
Players mentioned: Nolan Arenado, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco, James McCann, Trevor May, Aaron Loup, Joey Lucchesi, Trevor Bauer, Teoscar Hernández, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Marcus Semien, Liam Hendriks, Lance Lynn, Adam Eaton, Tim Anderson, Eloy Jiménez, Luis Robert, José Abreu, Yasmani Grandal, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, Dinelson Lamet, Chris Paddack, Mackenzie Gore, Jurickson Profar