MLB American League Offseason Review

The calendar has officially turned to 2017 and that means it’s time to start talking some baseball. Since the NFL has been extra stupid this season with all the bad teams and quarterback injuries affecting the playoffs, lets turn our attention something more interesting. The Hot Stove reached some pretty high temperatures this winter and we will get right into breaking it down starting with the American League.

Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles are doing what they do, waiting around for some bargain bin type of deals. Mark Trumbo is still unsigned and the Orioles have brought in no one to take his place either. I could actually see Trumbo coming back despite reports that the two sides have broken off talks. Also, Baltimore has decided to move on from their catcher of the last seven plus seasons, Matt Wieters. Replacing Wieters will be free agent Welington Castillo who, despite having a pretty solid bat, is one of the worst pitch framers and defensive catchers in the league. Not exactly the best news for a below average starting rotation. The Orioles still have Ubaldo Jimenez on the team who will almost definitely keep his “worst pro athlete in Baltimore” title belt for the fourth consecutive year. Grade: C-

Boston Red Sox – As he did when he was with Detroit, Dave Dombrowski is throwing elite prospects around in deals to bring in big time talent to win now. Boston added superstar pitcher Chris Sale as well as underrated reliever Tyler Thornburg to help a pretty weak bullpen. Despite losing Big Papi, the Red Sox will be really good again in 2017. Grade: A-

Chicago White Sox – The White Sox hit the rebuild button this offseason and boy are they doing it right. In trades with Boston and Washington, the ChiSox received four top 50ish prospects highlighted by, depending on which list you trust, the top hitting prospect (Yoan Moncada) and the top pitching prospect (Lucas Giolito). The ChiSox also have slugger Todd Frazier and closer David Robertson still to move and should receive solid pieces for both. Grade: A+

Cleveland Indians – It was a really quiet offseason for the Tribe until they dropped the hammer on the rest of the A.L. and signed slugger Edwin Encarnacion. The Indians will be a force to deal with once again in 2017 as the good vibes in the city of Cleveland continue. Well you know, besides the Browns that is. Grade: B+

Detroit Tigers The Tigers have done literally nothing this offseason and appear to be stuck in no man’s land. Their best players are all older and on huge contracts with really no young talent to speak of besides Michael Fulmer. There were rumors this offseason that Detroit would blow this team up and rebuild, but they’ve done nothing to start that process. Grade: D

Houston Astros – The Astros were busy early and often this offseason adding veteran sluggers Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Josh Reddick. This might be the best top to bottom lineup in the league. How far Houston can go this season will come down to the health and performance of some of their young starting pitchers as they should have no problem scoring runs in 2017. Grade: B

Kansas City Royals – This is likely the Royals last chance to make a run with their core of homegrown talent with guys like Hosmer, Cain and Moustakas about to hit the free agent market. KC made what I think was a smart move by dealing for outfielder Jorge Soler who should add some much needed punch to their lineup. Grade: B-

Los Angeles Angels – The Angels are trying something new this offseason, they are actually trying to put Major League players around Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. L.A. traded for Cameron Maybin and Danny Espinosa as well as signed Ben Revere. It also helps that the horrific contracts of Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson are now off the books. Things might actually be looking up for the Angels in 2017. Grade: B-

Minnesota Twins – The Twins have done very little this offseason outside of signing free agent catcher Jason Castro. They still have a log jam at 1B and DH with Joe Mauer, Kennys Vargas and Byung Ho Park. It has also been rumored that the Twins are actively shopping Brian Dozier fresh off a career year as they look to add some young arms to the talented hitting core of Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Miguel Sano. There’s a path to a fun and exciting season in Minnesota this season, but it will more than likely be filled once again with disappointment.  Grade: C

New York Yankees – The Yankees went out and signed Aroldis Chapman four months after trading him to the Cubs for uber prospect Gleyber Torres. The evil empire is on the way back and I for one am not happy about it. Grade: B+

Oakland Athletics – The good news is the Athletics traded away lefty killer and H&H favorite Danny Valencia which by my projections should reduce Oakland’s clubhouse fights by at least 248%. The bad news is the Athletics are awful and it doesn’t appear as if they will be getting better anytime soon. Grade: D

Seattle Mariners – Seattle was in the bottom half of the American league in WAR from their starting pitchers last season so what did they do? They traded Taijuan Walker. I’m not really sure what the thought process was behind that, but the Mariners decided they were done with the former top prospect. Buying high on Jean Segura who has had a new article written about how he will regress as a hitter in 2017 once a week since the season ended doesn’t seem like the smartest move. Young slugger Mitch Haniger who came over with Segura has the potential to salvage this trade for Seattle. Grade: C-

Tampa Bay Rays – New year, same Rays. Tampa is sitting back, being patient. They signed Wilson Ramos at a discounted deal because of Ramos’ knee injury at the end of last season, which is about the only way the Rays could sign someone of his caliber. Tampa also needs to and most likely will trade a starter this offseason. There are a few rumblings that the Rays could be willing to move Evan Longoria, but I don’t see that happening until their next star player is in place. Grade: C+

Texans Rangers – Texas signed Carlos Gomez and Andrew Cashner this offseason and four years ago that would’ve been headline news. However, there is a chance both players are just flat out bad and end up doing more harm than good for Texas in 2017. The Rangers will still be competitive this season and as a baseball fan I really hope we get to see pre-injury Yu Darvish again. Grade: C

Toronto Blue Jays – The Jays let Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista walk and replaced them with Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce? There is still a chance Bautista will return, but it doesn’t seem likely at this point and although they will still be a competitive team in 2017, the Jays championship window may have closed. Grade: C

Click here to see my takes on the National League.

-Randy Haines

Statistics courtesy of Baseball reference

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