Baseball Offseason Highlights … So Far –
By Tim Birkmeyer
To finish! The Major League Baseball offseason has picked up a bit lately and great things have happened enough for me to write something. We’re only weeks away from Pitchers and Catchers reporting, which means more signings will take place. This is actually one of the worst things about the baseball offseason: Players don’t sign until the last minute. Which is good for the players, they only need a week or two of Spring Training to get back into the groove. There are still key free agents waiting to sign like Trevor Bauer and Marcell Ozuna, but let’s move on to some highlights from the offseason so far:
New York Mets
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Mets splashed out in the offseason and will be a contender. Yes, time is a flat circle on this one. But maybe things are changing? To start with the Mets, they have a new owner Steve Cohen, a guy with a lot of money who wants to spend. ‘Uncle Steve,’ as some Mets fans call him, is ready to break the bank and bring winning baseball back to New York City, and the Mets have already signed signings with Pitchers Marcus Stroman and Trevor May in addition to wide receiver. James McCann. The Mets were also in talks with JT Realmuto, George Springer, DJ LeMahiew and still working on Trevor Bauer. So as you can see the Mets are trying to sign the best free agents available with Uncle Steve’s money. Oh, the Mets also traded for FRANCISCO LINDOR, the best shortstop in baseball. Uncle Steve has also expressed interest in signing Lindor for a long-term extension. Will it finally be a turning point for the New York Mets? Time will tell, and stay tuned for my preseason predictions!
The Blue Jays, Cardinals and Padres perform all-in movements
Three teams that made the playoffs last season (friendly reminder there were 8 teams, but the Padres / Cardinals would have been the Wild Card in a regular format) have masome huge splash with signings and free agent trading.
Let’s start with the Blue Jays, the eighth seed of the American League playoffs last season. They still have the young core of Biggio, Bichette and Vlad Jr., but have added George Springer, Marcus Semien, Kirby Yates, Robbie Ray and Steven Matz in the off-season moves. Their roster is one of the best in baseball, their pitching staff need a bit of work in both the rotation and the box for the readings, but they are manageable. The Blue Jays know they can compete with the Rays and Yankees in the division and will stay for the next few seasons.
The Cardinals were recently added to this small section after trading for third baseman Nolan Arenado the other day from the Colorado Rockies. Arenado is one of baseball’s best third base players averaging 30 HR and 100 RBIs and winning 8 Gold Glove awards defensively (he’s been in the league for 8 seasons). The Cardinals made the playoffs last year with an injured pitching stick, and Arenado should be the piece (with the pitch) to put them on top and be a strong contender in the National League.
And the American team in 2020, the Slam Diego Padres made two huge splashes by trading for Ace Blake Snell and Cubs Ace Yu Darvish of the Rays. We all know the Padres have a fantastic roster with Machado, Tatis Jr., Myers and Pham, but the pitch was their weakness and inevitable elimination in the playoffs. Now they have Snell and Darvish up front in the rotation, which is exactly what they needed. Like the Blue Jays, the Padres can now seriously compete with the Dodgers for the division title.
Other notable signatures
The two biggest in this category are the re-signings with Catcher JT Realmuto staying with the Phillies and DJ LeMahieu. JT Realmuto is the best strike catcher in the league, and if you’re playing fancy one of the few catchers is definitely worth drafting and having on your team. The signing is not only important to the Phillies, but also important to Bryce Harper. He was campaigning for a re-signing, and it’s a good message from the owners that they are serious about winning and giving Bryce some coins around him. LeMahieu is a hitting machine and has won several batting titles during his career. I was actually shocked when the Yankees got him so cheap after his stint with the Rockies, and now they’ve shaken him up for the next few seasons. Keeping LeMahieu is what the Yankees need to be a title contender as it helps take the pressure off Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
Other than that, not too many “WOAH” signatures in my eyes. The White Sox signed Liam Hendriks to bolster the bullpen, the Braves signed Charlie Morton to be a rotation veteran, Michael Brantley remains in Houston after nearly signing with the Blue Jays, the Yankees signed Corey Kluber to a “prove it, old man,” and the Orioles signed Freddy Galvis (World Series here we come!… Had to throw in my squad somehow).
And that will be it for this recap of some Major League Baseball offseason highlights, and hopefully there will be more signings and splash trades as spring training begins soon! Which move was the best for you and did your team make any moves? Let me know in the comments!