MLB Pre Season Preview and Power Rankings 10-6

10.Cleveland Indians

Preview- Despite averaging less than three runs a game after the all-star break, the Indians were still competing for the last wildcard spot until the 159th game. This was because of a tremendous, young, pitching rotation. Corey Kluber, the reigning AL CY Young winner, led the rotation. While some people expect Corey Kluber to regress a little bit, there is little reason to believe last year was a fluke except the fact that he had never pitched that well before. After Kluber, they also have Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Gavin Floyd, and Danny Salazar. Bauer and Salazar both posted ERA’s over four, but are both young, and showed a lot of promise last year. Floyd is coming off an injury, but before he was injured, had an ERA under 3. Carrasco posted an ERA of 2.55 over 133 innings, with 140 K’s.

The issue for the Indians will be their hitting and defense. On defense, they led the league in errors. Their infield defense was particularly bad, where injuries stretched them thin. On offense, they were boosted by the breakout performance of Michael Brantley. Unlike with Kluber, some regression is expected for Brantley. He will still be a good hitter, but his BABIP last year was over inflated, so his average should be expected to dip a little bit. This along with him turning 28, which is usually the age where steals start to go down. This means we should expect a slight regression across the board for Brantley, but for him to still be an overall, good player. Indians fans should also expect some improvement out of Jason Kipnis. The addition of Brandon Moss should also help, as most likely a healthier season overall for the tem. The Indians will once again push for a playoff spot.

Player to Watch- SS Francisco Lindor- Lindor has been one of the best prospects in baseball for a while now, and should finally make his debut this year, giving a huge boost to the lineup.

  1. Toronto Blue Jays

Preview- There are few teams with as much power as the Blue Jays have. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are both going to hit at least 30 homeruns if healthy, and could reach 40 with good years. After that, Josh Donaldson also has 30+ homerun potential. Donaldson hit 29 last year, despite being marred in a slump for part of the season, and playing in Coliseum. Besides the power hitters, they have Jose Reyes, who continues to be one of the best hitting SS’s in the league. The additions of Michael Saunders and Russell Martin should prove to be small improvements. Beyond that, there are some holes at the bottom of the lineup. Dalton Pompey was a good minor league hitter, but still needs to prove he can hit in the Majors. They are also pretty weak at second base.

Their pitching rotation also has a lot of promise. Starting Pitchers Drew Hutchinson, Aaron Sanchez, and Daniel Norris, all have the potential to be anywhere from middle-of-the-rotation pitchers, to potentially top end talent, but have yet to show it in the MLB. Sanchez and Norris have barley even played in the Majors yet. Sanchez has worked mostly out of the bullpen, where he had a lot of success. As for Norris, he has one start and it wasn’t very good. There will be growing pains, but overall, their pitching rotation should be good. Their bullpen is still pretty weak though. Overall, they should be able to push for a playoff spot in an AL East that is weak.

Player to Watch- SP Drew Hutchinson- Hutchinson has the most potential of all the young Blue Jays pitchers, mostly because he has the most experience. He already showed the ability to miss bats in the MLB, and it isn’t rare to see young pitchers drastically improve their ERA . Expect him to get his ERA down to around 3.5 this year, and to continue to strike hitters out. There is a lot of promise here.

  1. Pittsburgh Pirates

Preview – After being bad for such a long time, the Pirates are finally a winning team. The question is can they improve even more and become a team that can win playoff games? They have now made the postseason in each of the last two years, falling in the divisional round to the Cardinals in 2013, and to the Giants in the Wildcard play in game last year.

Everyone knows about how good OF Andrew McCutchen is, being probably the second best OF in the game, only behind Mike Trout. Neil Walker has become one of the better home run hitters at second base, having a pace of 20 homeruns in every year since 2012. He has had some chronic back issues, but managed to play all of last year. Walker is in a contract year, and is a candidate for an even bigger breakout this year. They also have Starling Marte in the OF. While Marte has had his share of struggles in his young career, he put it all together in the second half last year, with a line of .348/.408/.567. The 30+ steals will continue to be there, and a sharp uptick in power number wouldn’t be surprising this year. He is another breakout candidate on this Pirates team. Pedro Alvarez is always going to struggle to make contact, but the power should come back this year. The lineup should be able to score runs this year.

The rotation is good as well. Francisco Liriano, Jeff Locke, Gerrit Cole, and Vance Worley should all be able to keep their ERA around 3.5. Cole in particular has a chance to really improve. Overall, the Pirates should again be in that wildcard spot, but they may need that breakout from Gerrit Cole if they want to be able to win a playoff series. Otherwise, it may be hard for them to win a series if they get matched up against a team who can throw out a true ace again.

Player to Watch – OF Gregory Polanco- Polanco had a disappointing rookie year, but has the talent to be one of the better hitters on the team.

  1. Detroit Tigers

Preview- Despite being one of the winningest teams over the past three years, the Tigers have little to show for it. They have made the postseason in every year since 2011, and even made the World Series once. Despite that, they have had no parades, and wear no rings on their fingers.

There is a lot to like about this team. For one, their lineup should be very good.  Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Ian Kinsler, Yoenis Cespedes, and J.D. Martinez make for a phenomenal top of the lineup. Miggy is coming off a down year, but that’s a down year by his standards. He was still one of the best hitters in Baseball, and still finished with over 100 RBI’s. Yoenis Cespedes is also coming off a down year, but with his raw power, there is reason to expect a bounce back. They also have a couple of young players in Anthony Gose and Nick Castelanos, who have the potential to be very good as well.

Losing Max Scherzer will hurt their pitching rotation, but even without him, it is still decent. They have David Price as their ace, and then Anibal Sanchez, and Alfredo Simon who are good pitchers as well. Justin Verlander will start the season on the DL, but he has been a league average pitcher at best the past two years, so missing him won’t hurt them too much.

What has been, and still is, their weakness, is the bullpen. The bullpen is league average during the season, but hasn’t been dependable at all in the postseason. A full season of Joakim Soria will probably help, but with Joe Nathan and his 4.81 ERA still in the closers role, it will again be hard to depend on late leads for the Tigers. They should at least be a playoff team again though. Who knows what will happen once they get there though.

Player to Watch- 3B Nick Castellanos- He was relatively unimpressive last year, but this is what he has done in the first year at every level. He could definitely take a big step this year.

  1. Seattle Mariners

Preview- The Mariners, like the Marlins, are receiving a lot of hype this season. With the Mariners though, that hype may be warranted. They have a lineup with a lot of potential, and already had a great pitching staff.

Their staff is headlined by Felix Hernandez, who after Clayton Kershaw may be the best pitcher in the league. James Paxton was looking like a terrific pitcher last year before having to miss four months with a shoulder injury. Taijuan Walker has been one of the more hyped pitching prospects in the last few years, and will finally make his full season debut this year. Hisashi Iwakuma is also in the rotation, and while he may not be as well known as Walker and King Felix, he has been one of the most under rated pitchers of the last couple of years, and should continue to produce.

The lineup isn’t quite as good, but as said above, it has potential. The top of the lineup is Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Austin Jackson, and Nelson Cruz. While those four are all very good, the line up gets weaker after that. Dustin Ackley and Seth Smith aren’t terrible hitters, but they aren’t very good either. Logan Morrison has showed potential in a few years, but lately has had off the field issues, which has affected his play. Catcher Mike Zunio is probably the best defensive catcher behind Yadier Molina, and can hit 20+ homeruns, but he hit under .200 last year. If he can get his average up, he could be one of the best catchers in the league. This could finally be the year they make the playoffs. With a great rotation, and a decent lineup, there is a good chance they make the playoffs for the first time in a while.

Player to Watch- SS Brad Miller- Miller has showed flashes of greatness, but hasn’t been able to show any consistency. He is a potential 20-20 player though. If he can improve his approach, and find some consistency, he can be another great hitter to add to the top of the lineup.

MLB Pre-Season Preview and Power Rankings 15-11 (Dark Horse Teams)

15.Baltimore Orioles

Preview- The Orioles have made the playoffs in two of the last three years, but have fallen in the division round both times. Their lineup has been the reason they have had success. They have finished in the top 10 in runs scored the last two years. That has a lot to do with the emergence of Adam Jones, who in the last three years, has been a top 10 outfielder, showing 30+ homerun power with a BA around .290. Besides Jones, the O’s have 1B Chris Davis, C Matt Wieters, 3B Manny Machado, SS JJ Hardy, OF Alenjandro De Aza, and DH Steve Pearce. They lost OF Nelson Cruz in the off season, but it is reasonable to expect a bounce back year from Chris Davis, which would make up for the loss of Cruz. Machado has had his own issues the last couple of years, but is young, and very talented. If he could get his head together, he could still become a top 3B in the league. After that, both Pearce and De Aza really had nice seasons for the O’s last year, with De Aza coming over at the trade deadline and putting together a great second half.

The concern for this team is going to be pitching. They don’t have a bad pitching rotation, in fact, they finished top 10 in team ERA last year. The issue is the lack of an ace. When they get to the playoffs, they don’t have that go to guy to match up against the other team, and it has cost them. Chris Tillman, Wei-Yen Chen, Bud Norris, and Miguel Gonzalez are all decent pitchers, but if they are matched up against an ace like David Price, Felix Hernandez, Chris Sale, or Corey Kluber in the post season, whom are you going to take to pitch better? The O’s are a talented team, and should once again push for a playoff spot, but if they want to win, they need an ace.

Player to Watch- SP Kevin Gausman – Luckily, they may have that ace. Kevin Gausman was very good for them in his 20 starts last year, and has the potential to be even better. He could be the true, top of the rotation pitcher, they need to win a playoff series.

  1. San Diego Padres

Preview- The Padres surprised everyone this season by wheeling and dealing to bring in a lot of talent to their team. They made a deal with the Dodgers to bring in OF Matt kemp. Switched a couple prospects to the Braves to acquire OF Justin Upton. They got OF Wil Myers back from the Rays in a three team 11 player deal, and signed James Shields in free agency. All of the moves are upgrades on paper, but there is definitely concern of whether these players will fit in with the Padres. Wil Myers struggled to hit last year in Tropicana Field last year. The Trop is deep to center, but still ranks around the middle of ball parks as far as the home run factor. Now he moves to probably the toughest ball park to hit home runs in, PETCO Park. It’s the same issue with Justin Upton, though the move from Turner Field to PETCO isn’t quite as big of a difference. Matt Kemp is in the same boat as Upton, as his former ballpark, Dodger Stadium, was already a tough hitter’s park, but the concern for him is always health. Other hitters on this team include 2B Jedd Gyorko and C Derick Norris. The lineup has talent, but it will be tough for a team of power hitters like they have to find success in this ballpark, and they may have been better off going after hitters who can play small ball

James Shields on the other hand, should have no trouble fitting in. In a ballpark where even a mediocre pitcher can look good, a pitcher like Shields should have no trouble getting outs. The rest of their rotation isn’t bad either. Ian Kennedy, Andrew Cashner, and Tyson Ross are all good pitchers, with the wildcard being Brandon Morrow. The Padres should at least push for a playoff spot, but despite the additions, they still have some concerns.

Player to Watch- OF Wil Myers- The former rookie of the year has yet to find his power stroke, and PETCO won’t help that. He has the raw power to hit here though, he just needs to tap into it.

  1. Chicago Cubs

Preview- The Cubs may have the youngest lineup with the most potential in baseball. With hitters like 3B Kris Bryant, OF Jorge Soler, 2B Javier Baez, SS Starlin Castro, 1B Anthony Rizzo, and eventually SS Addison Russell, if they can find the space for him. The future is very bright for the Cubs.  They also have a handful of talented veterans in OF Chris Coghlan, OF Dexter Fowler, and C Miguel Montero. Even after the group of prospects above, their farm system is still very good, with several other prospects having a chance to be good players in the MLB when they ae promoted.

Their pitching is also good, though could use some improvement. They signed Jon Lester in the offseason, which gives them an elite pitcher at the top of their rotation. After that, they have a handful of successful, though underwhelming, pitchers in Jake Arietta, Jason Hammel, and Kyle Hendricks. Three pitchers who are good, especially for middle of the rotation pitchers, but are not going to overpower opposing hitters. Their fifth pitcher though is Travis Wood, who had an ERA over 5 last year. That is the one place on this team they can stand to upgrade. With a stocked farm system, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Cubs traded for a starting pitcher at mid-season, Maybe Cole Hamels. If not, they may wait until the offseason, and go after a free agent like Jordan Zimmerman. They also secretly have a very good bullpen. As a unit, the bullpen’s ERA was 3.61, good for 15th in the majors. The strength of the bullpen is the back end though, where Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon, and Neil Ramirez all had an ERA under 2.5. Remember, the Royals got to the World Series with a lot of help from their talented, young, bullpen.

Player to Watch- Everyone- Seriously, pick a name and they are a candidate for a breakout year. Theo Epstein has turned this team around, and Cubs fans should be very excited. It might not be this year, but with a little luck, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they made a push this year.

  1. Miami Marlins

Preview– The Marlins made a lot of moves in the off season, but I am not as high on them as some other people are. Are they a good team? Yes, they are, but not World Series contenders like some analysts like to predict. A lot of their off season acquisitions are being over rated by the media. Dee Gordon might be fast, but he has a terrible approach for a leadoff hitter. Someone with his speed should be getting better than a .320 OBP, and should be making more contact, not striking out over 100 times. He will help, but his talents are being exaggerated after a fluky first half where he hit over .300. SP Mat Latos also came to Miami, and while he is talented, he has had an abundance of health concerns the last year and a half, and it has affected his ability. After missing about two months last year, he came back with his velocity down over 2 mph, and his strikeout rate fell from 8.4 in the prior years to just 6.5. While you could say that was just him being rusty and shaking off the injury, his injury issues carried into the offseason as well. While he should be a good pitcher still, there is no reason to think he will magically get better and be an ace again. People also talk about the acquisition of SP Dan Haren as if it is something special, but his ERA over the past three seasons is around 4.3, so he isn’t much more than a fifth starter.

So why do I have them at 12 if I don’t like their off season? Because the rest of their team was already good. OF Giancarlo Stanton has more power than anyone in the majors. He can hit over 40 homeruns even playing in a spacious ball park. They also have OF Christian Yelich, who is a star in the making. Jose Fernandez is an ace, but he will miss some time recovering from Tommy Johns still. Henderson Alvarez is a decent pitcher as well, though he isn’t the type to overpower hitters. Their time may come, but let’s not jump the gun on this team.

Player to Watch- OF Marcell Ozuna- Has shown the power, but not the consistency. With a deeper lineup, he should get a chance to break out this year, and really show his talent.

  1. Chicago White Sox

Preview- While everyone is talking about the Marlins and Cubs as the dark horse team this year, people are overlooking the team on the South side of Chicago. Maybe the Cubs have a brighter future than the Sox, but the White Sox are more ready to win right now.

Starting with the reigning Rookie of the Year, Jose Abreu is potentially the best first basemen in baseball right now, and seems to be improving. Scouts once thought he would merely be a power hitter, he proved to be a good, overall hitter, showing both power and the ability to hit for average. They also have Alexei Ramirez, who is one of the best hitting shortstops in the league. They have OF Melky Cabrera, who continues to be a talented all around hitter even though he has been on five different teams in the past six years. They added Adam LaRoche as well, who should be able to put together a very good year in the hitter friendly confines of US Cellular Field. Their pitching is good as well. Chris Sale is a top 10 pitcher in the league, and while there was some injury concerns coming into spring training, he seems to be in mid-season form. The addition of Jeff Samardzija gives them a second ace at the top of their rotation. After them, they have another solid pitcher in Jose Quintana, who posted a 3.32 ERA, with over 170 K’s. The back end of their rotation leaves something to be desired though. John Danks and Hector Noesi both posted ERA’s over 4.5 last year. Noesi still has a chance to improve as a pitcher, but what they got last year from Danks will probably be what they get this year. Their bullpen is good though, with only one of their bullpen arms posting an ERA over 3 last year. The addition of David Robertson as closer will be a huge boost. They are the dark horse team that no one is talking about.

Player to Watch- OF Adam Eaton- We know how good Abreu is, but another up and coming player on the Sox, is Eaton. He can be a great leadoff hitter if he can stay healthy, that’s a big if though. He has missed a lot of time in his short career.

Major League Off Season Report Card (Indians)

Moves so far

John Axford

  • Traded CF Drew Stubbs to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Pitcher Josh Outman.
  • SP John Axford signed to a one-year, $4.5 million deal
  • LF David Murphy signed a two-year deal worth $12 million
  • DH Jason Giambi has re-signed with the Cleveland Indians
  • Signed INF David Adams

Rumor Mill

  • Looking for pitching in free agency

The Indians lost a lot this off season. SP Ubaldo Jimenez, SP Scott Kazmir, SP Joe Smith and closer Chris Perez all have left the Indians, depleting the Indians pitching staff. The signing of John Axford, and acquisition of Josh Outman helps, but it doesn’t fill the void left.

After coming onto the scene as a premiere, closer a few years ago, John Axford has struggled to get outs, finally losing his job as the Brewers closer last year. He will get a fresh chance to be the Indians closer unless they make another move.

 Josh Outman can take a spot in the rotation if necessary, or he could come out of the bullpen. Depending on what the Indians do the rest of this off season, they will put him where they most need the help. He is a serviceable pitcher, but is nothing special. He has a 4.3 ERA out of the pen last year for the Rockies.

Resigning Giambi ensures they have a power bat off the bench. Despite hitting below the Mendoza line last year, Giambi managed to hit 9 home runs off the bench, and over 30 rbi’s.

Signing Murphy makes up for losing Stubbs. Both are liability’s with a bat in their hand, but provide good defense. Murphy hit only a little over .220 last year with the Rangers, whereas Stubbs hit .230 for the Indians.

Indians lost a lot of value from last year, it will be hard for them to make the playoffs again with their pitching staff being depleted the way it has.

Indians get a D, they really need to make some more moves and improve their rotation. Names like Closer Fernando Rodney, and SP Jason Hammel have been thrown around. If they can’t they will fall way behind the Tigers and White Sox, who both improved a lot.

If the Indians make any moves, an update will be posted.

Next up is the NL West.

Major League Off Season Report Card (Royals)

Omar Infante

Moves so far

  • Signed SP Jason Vargas to a four-year, $32 million deal
  • Traded RP Will Smith to Milwaukee for OF Norichika Aoki
  • Signed IF/OF Omar Infante to a four-year, $30 million deal
  • Traded OF David Lough to Baltimore for IF Danny Valencia
  • Signed C Francisco Pena to a one-year deal

Rumor Mill

  • Royals seem to be done trading away their major league players
  • SP Ervin Santana seems to be out of their price range at this time

The Royals have quietly become a respectable team over the last few years. Smart signings, a great farm system, and patience have paid off for the Royals, as they continue to improve.

The Royals are going to lose SP Ervin Santana, they just can’t afford to pay him after the signings they have made. They will hope Jason Vargas can replace his production. Vargas went 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA last year with the Angels.

Royals lose out by trading Lough. Lough is a solid Outfielder who brings energy to the team. They get back Danny Valencia for Lough. Valencia was once a promising prospect in the Twins organization, but he has struggled to hit since being called up. He will most likely be the backup 3rd basemen, and while he can give an ok bat off the bench, he lacks power, and doesn’t present the same value as Lough did.

The Royals best signing was probably Omar Infante. Infante isn’t a great player, but he is solid, and they got him a t a decent price. He can provide an ok bat and good defense from the back of the lineup.

They Royals limited payroll means Royals have to count on their young guys. If players like Hosmer can continue to improve they may have a future, but Royals have failed to hold on to promising young talent two years in a row. Last year they traded OF Wil Myers for James Shield, and Myers went on to win AL Rookie of The Year. This year they trade Lough, who not as talented as Myers, still provided some value to them.

Royals get a C-, I understand they can’t improve too much considering their payroll, but they shouldn’t be losing value in an offseason. Norichika is a downgrade from Lough, and Vargas is a downgrade from Santana.

If Royals make any moves, an update will be posted.

Next team up is the Indians.

Major League Off Season Report Card (Tigers)

Moves so far

English: Ian Kinsler

English: Ian Kinsler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Acquired 2B Ian Kinsler from Texas in exchange for 1B Prince Fielder and cash
  • Traded RHP Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals in exchange for IF/OF Steve Lombardozzi, RP Ian Krol and pitching prospect Robbie Ray
  • Signed RP Joe Nathan to a two-year, $20 million deal
  • Signed OF Rajai Davis to a two-year, $10 million deal
  • Signed RP Joba Chamberlain to a one-year, $2.5 million deal

Rumor Mill

  • Rick Porcello Possibly on trade market

The Tigers have had an impressive off season, and have managed to shed payroll down the line in doing so. Their big move came when they traded 1B Prince Fielder for 2B Ian Kinsler. While Fielder is the better player in the deal, the Tigers were able to shed some of his massive 9 year contract, 7 years left on it, while acquiring one of the best 2B in the league. Fielder is 29, and will be 37 when his deal expires. He is owed $168 million over the remainder of his contract, with most of that money coming after his prime years. Tigers deserve credit for being able to take that money off the books for what can potentially be a disaster in a few years.

By trading Fielder, first base opens up for Miguel Cabrera to move back in, meaning the Tigers can call up touted 3B prospect Nick Castellanos to man the corner. Despite trading the second best player in their lineup, they have actually managed to balance out their lineup, by adding a power speed mix in Kinsler, a big improvement at 2nd, and making room for their top prospect.

The Fister trade may hurt the rotation, but with the Tigers already having Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, they can afford to lose out on pitching a little.

Joe Nathan is an immediate improvement at closer, a role that has killed them the last two seasons.

Tigers get a B+, they shed payroll and managed to seemingly improve their team. That is what every GM wants to do going into the off season.

If Tigers make any moves, this will be updated.

Next team up is the Royals.

Major League Off Season Report Card (Twins)

Moves so far

Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

  • Signed SP Ricky Nolasco to a four-year, $49 million deal
  • Signed SP Phil Hughes to a three-year, $24 million deal
  • Signed OF/DH Jason Kubel to a minor league deal
  • Re-signed SP Mike Pelfrey to a two-year, $11 million deal
  • Traded C/1B/OF Ryan Doumit to Atlanta for SP prospect Sean Gilmartin
  • Signed C Kurt Suzuki to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

Rumor Mill

  • Interested in signing SP John Santana
  • Interested in 1B/3B Mark Reynolds

Twins have committed to mediocrity in the starting rotation by bringing in Hughes and resigning Pelfrey. The Nolasco signing helps, but Hughes and Pelfrey have not been getting the job done. When a pitcher struggles to get out of the 4th inning as much as Hughes does, it isn’t wise to give him that kind of money over that many years. Sure he was pitching half of his games in Yankees Stadium, but if you leave stuff up and over the plate like he does, the ball is going to leave in any ballpark you play in. Pelfrey has been mediocre at best in his Twins career, and bringing him back assures Twins will get no value from the back of their rotation.

The twins have been a mess ever since they moved to Target field. Former MVP Justin Morneau was never the same, and C Joe Mauer has been sapped of his power. Who knows what the issue is. Maybe they shouldn’t have built a pitchers ballpark when they were a hitting team. Maybe they didn’t let a guy take his goat into the game when Target Field first opened, and they were cursed. Most likely, they have just suffered from making poor decisions.

There is a semi bright future, as their farm system ranks as one of the best. Problem is when you have a great farm and are in place to build through that, you shouldn’t invest money over a long contract to mediocre players. Twins would have been better off finding one year stop gaps, but now they will be stuck with players like Hughes and Pelfrey once they are ready to bring the farm up.

Twins should have used the money given to Pelfrey and Hughes to bring in a guy like SP Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo is as consistent as it gets, and would have been a quality addition to this bullpen to add vlaue now, and in the future.

Twins get a C-, for once again settling for being mediocre. They could have at least brought in some value to their team, but they will now seemingly enter the season with a rotation that lineups will dream about facing. When you have to throw out Pelfrey, Hughes, and then Vance Worley into your rotation, there is something wrong.

If Twins make any moves, an update will be posted.

Next team is the Tigers.

Major League Off Season Report Card (White Sox)

Moves so far

Paul Konerko

Paul Konerko (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Signed 1B Jose Dariel Abreu to a six-year, $68 million deal
  • Re-signed 1B Paul Konerko to a one-year, $2.5 million deal
  • Signed RHP Ronald Belisario to a one-year, $3 million deal
  • Signed RP Felipe Paulino to a one-year, $1.75 million deal
  • Traded SP Hector Santiago to the Angels and OF Brandon Jacobs to the Diamondbacks in exchange for OF Adam Eaton
  • Traded RP Addison Reed to Arizona for 3B Matt Davidson
  • Signed RP Scott Downs to a one-year, $4 million deal

Rumor Mill

  • White Sox Still in the Market for a Catcher
  • Gordon Beckham a trade candidate

The White Sox are putting all their eggs into building a team that will be good a few years down the line. They have sacrificed the present with a hope of being competitive again down the line. They traded one of their best relievers, Addison Reed, and one of their best starters, Hector Santiago, to acquire prospects.

OF Adam Eaton and 3B Matt Davidson come over from the Diamondbacks, and both will enter spring training with the Sox as probable starters. Eaton, 25 years-old, hit over .330 with 100 stolen bases in four minor league seasons, will step into centerfield for the Sox. Most scouts consider Eaton a sure thing, and that he will bring a new energy to the Chicago clubhouse that they have been missing.

Davidson, 22 years-old, isn’t as much of a sure thing. With a long, and slow swing, he tends to swing and miss a lot, striking out over 120 times in all four of his minor league seasons. While he struggles to make contact, .230 average in the minors, when he doesn’t make contact it goes a long way, 80 homeruns in those four years. While his defense is at best suspect, the White Sox lack depth at third and Davison has the inside track to being the starter at the beginning of the season.

The White Sox also brought in Cuban 1st basemen Jose Dariel Abreu, one of the most highly praised Cuban prospects this year. Abreu gives the Sox a legit presence in the middle of the lineup if his game can transfer to the majors. He hit over .300 with 30 homeruns in his last full season in Cuba. He will replace Konerko at first, and most likely settle into the middle of the lineup. Konerko has resigned for one-year, and will most likely be the designated hitter.

White Sox have made great this offseason in acquiring young talent. More importantly, they gave up very little to acquire that talent. Davidson may never work out, but Eaton and Abreu appear to be legit. Combine them with the acquisition of OF Avisail Garcia for SP Jake Peavy at the trade deadline last year, and they have a nice core of young players

White Sox get an A, they clearly understand they have to acquire young talent, and have done just that. It remains to be seen if that talent will pay off, but they are at least trying. With their current roster, it’s very possible White Sox could be competitive again within a couple years.

If the White Sox make any new moves, there will be an update posted.

Next team up is the Twins.