MLB Preseason Preview and Power Rankings (5-1)

5.Boston Red Sox

Preview- The Red Sox were among the free agent winners this off season. They signed Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, and swapped Yoenis Cespedes out of a crowed outfield to bring back SP Rick Porcello. The Porcello move was a good one, they bring back a talented, 26 year old pitcher, and only lose an outfielder who struggled for them, and they didn’t have room for anyway. As for the Sandoval and Ramirez signings, they are being overblown. Sandoval is not that good of a hitter in the regular season, and Ramirez in left field is going to be an adventure.

The reason they are rated this high is the team around those players. Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Xander Bogaerts, and eventually Rusney Castillo, will make for a very good line up. They may be overpaying Ramirez and Sandoval, but they have the money to bite that bullet. Bogaerts struggled his rookie year, but has been working hard with a hitting instructor, and seems poised to put together a breakout year. Ortiz keeps hitting, despite his age, and has yet to show any signs of regression.

What may hurt them, is their rotation. Porcello is a good pitcher, but after him, there is only question marks. Clay Bucholz and Justin Masterson have shown potential in their careers, but have been mediocre the last couple of years. They really need an elite pitcher to put at the top of the rotation. They are tentative to give a prospect from their deep farm system in order to bring one back, but they may eventually cave in. For now, their lineup alone makes them a top 5 team.

Player to Watch- OF Mookie Betts- While all eyes have been on Kris Bryant this spring, there is a different player who has been flying under the radar. Mookie Betts is a star in the making, and is ready to become a top outfielder in the game. He will lead off this year for the Red Sox, and is a candidate to hit over .300 and steal 40 bases.

  1. Los Angeles Angels

Preview- When people think of the Angels, they think of Mike Trout. Trout is the best player in the league, and probably the new face of the MLB after Derek Jeter retired. He is the favorite to repeat as AL MVP, but what about the rest of the team?

This team led the majors in wins last year, with 98. They only had one major loss in the offseason, and that was 2B Howie Kendrick. They shipped him up the freeway to the Dodgers in exchange for SP Andrew Heaney. They downgraded at second base, where Johnny Giavotella will start this year, but get a much needed boost to their pitching rotation. They also made some minor signings to boost their bullpen depth, and brought in OF Matt Joyce for outfield depth.

The rest of their team remains mostly the same. Kole Calhoun, Albert Pujols, Erik Ayabar, CJ Cron, Chris Ianetta, the Angels are getting above average production from almost every position except for second base. The lineup doesn’t have the name power some of the other top five teams have, but it will be just as productive.

The concern will be their pitching rotation. First, there is Jered Weaver, who is talented, but has had issues with a loss in velocity the last couple of years. Garret Richards is coming off an injury, and it’s no guarantee he will be able to shake the rust off this year. CJ Wilson has been marred in a decline over the past couple years as well. How good this rotation may come down to the performances of young pitchers Andrew Heaney and Matt Shoemaker. The Angels aren’t the best team on paper, but they are a well-constructed team, and should once again be at the top of the standings.

Player to Watch- SP Matt Shoemaker- Shoemaker was the runner up in the AL Rookie of the Year race, and if he can continue to develop could be the key to the Angels taking the next step.

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  1. Washington Nationals

Preview- Everyone’s favorite team to win it all, they have more holes than most like to talk about. They are a very good team, but they aren’t as good overall as the two teams ranked above them on this list.

To give credit where it is due, their pitching rotation is fantastic. With Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmerman, and Doug Fister as their starting pitchers, they are an almost lock to make the postseason. The issue will be whether they score runs or not.

Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon are legitimately good hitters, but after them, the lineup is mediocre. There is no reason to believe that Ryan Zimmerman will make a comeback. He is injury prone, and when he is on the field, he isn’t even that good anymore. Bryce Harper is young, but this will mark three straight years that everyone thinks will be a breakout year, and it hasn’t happened yet. Jayson Werth, Denard Span, and Dan Uggla round out a lineup that is mostly underwhelming. To make it worse, Rendon is dealing with various injury issues entering the season, so his status for now is up in the air.

They are still going to be a good team, but people are getting ahead of themselves in saying they are the favorites to win it all. They have a chance to win, but as a Phillies fan, I remember what happened to the Phillies when they had an all-star rotation but an underwhelming lineup. If they want to win, they are going to need that breakout from Harper now, because their lineup isn’t good enough without it.

Player to Watch- OF Michael Taylor- Span will miss a chunk of April to start out the season, giving Taylor a chance to play. He is a promising prospect, and with a good April, can steal Spans spot permanently, and make it a little more likely they win it all this year.

2. St Louis Cardinals

Preview- The Cardinals are the most consistent team in baseball. While every other team is like a roller coaster and has its ups and downs, the Cardinals are a constant. They may not always be among the best teams in the league, but they are always at least there in the playoffs. This year they have as good a chance as anyone to win it all.

The lineup is talented from top to bottom. Matt Adams will finally get consistent playing time, and Kolten Wong will get a full year. Jason Heyward has struggles his last two years, but maybe the change of scenery will get him back on track. Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, and Matt Holiday round out a lineup that is good almost from top to bottom.

Their rotation may be even better. Adam Wainwright is as good as almost any pitcher. After him, they have two very promising young pitchers in Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha. The rotation is rounded out by John Lackey and Lance Lynn, who are both mid 3 era pitchers. Their rotation may not be as good as the Nationals, but barring an injury, they should be among the best in the league still.

Few teams have been as successful as the Cardinals have the last decade. They not only make the playoffs every year, but also have been able to have success in the playoffs, unlike the Nationals and Dodgers, who they are ranked in between. With a top 10 pitching rotation, and a top 10 lineup, they will be amongst the best teams in the league, with the track record to back it up.

Player to Watch- 2B Kolten Wong- Wong was unimpressive in year one, but finished strong in the second half, hitting 11 homeruns. Expect him to raise his average this year. Wong hit over .300 in the minors, and should be expected to do the same in the majors. He also has decent power and speed, with his ceiling being a 20-20 type of hitter.

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Preview- The Dodgers are the most talented team on paper, but they were the most talented team last year as well, and all it got them was a first round exit. It’s hard to put them anywhere other than at number one with how much talent they have, but there is going to be that concern of what they will do when they get to the playoffs again.

With all the moves, they made in the off season, trading for Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins, signing Brandon McCarthy, and brining in Cuban prospect Hector Olivera, their best move was trading Matt Kemp. Not because they brought back a promising catcher in Yasmani Grandal, but because it opened up a spot for Joc Pederson on the roster.

The Olivera signing actually was a head scratcher. Did it allow them to bring in a promising player? Yes, but it blocked another promising player from having a space on the roster, Alex Guerrero. Guerrero, another Cuban prospect, was looking very promising, and in line to play third base before the Olivera signing. Now his spot on the team in up in the air. The infield and outfield were already packed, and third was really the only chance he had at playing.

The pitching rotation is probably the second best behind the nationals. Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson, there aren’t very many rotations better than that. Their lineup is even better on paper. Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins, Pederson, Carl Crawford, and Yasiel Puig make for an imposing line up.

The problem is, just because you throw a bunch of all stars together it doesn’t mean they will be the best team. It didn’t work for the Bobby Valentine Red Sox, didn’t work for the Marlins a couple years ago, so there is no guarantee it will work for the Dodgers.

Player to Watch- OF Joc Pederson- Pederson has the potential to hit 20-20 in his first year, and to maybe even be a 30-30 player. His potential is sky high, and having a player like Pederson up in the majors is going to be great for the game as a whole.

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 O.co 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.

What MLB Teams Would Look Like If Players Stayed Home (AL West)

With the popularity of the recent article on elitedaily.com by Josh Milford about What NBA Teams Would Look Like If Players Went Home, I thought it would be fun to look at the same thing in the MLB. Going into it I didn’t think it would be too hard, but boy was I wrong. The research for the article took me over a week, and I had to dig into some really obscure players for some teams.  The research is done though, and the teams are set. For some teams I had to borrow the left over players from other areas, because there just wasn’t enough players from their own region. it was also tough because there are a lot of baseball teams in close proximity to each other, making it hard to tell which player should go where, so for some players I had make a close decision, and base it mostly off which ballpark they were closer to. Unfortunately, it also means foreign players wouldn’t be in the league, which is a significant hit to the pool of players in baseball. I will release the teams in six different posts, separated by divisions.

Here is what the Al West would look like.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Angels Depth Chart

 

California is one of the best places to find baseball players. The beautiful weather allows them to play the sport year round, which is why it is the place where the most baseball players are from. Problem is, there is five teams in California, which means they have to split those five players. The Angels still ended u-p with a very strong team though, including a team favorite in pitcher Garret Richards. the only area where they are weak is the middle infield, but their outfield and corner infielders would be among the strongest in the game.  They would be my pick to win their division if players stayed home.

Texas Rangers

Rangers depth chart

 

Like California, Texas is the home of a lot of baseball players. They aren’t quite as strong as California though, and they also have to share the state with the Houston Astros. They ended up with a fairly strong team though, with their Ace Clayton Kershaw being the biggest strength. Like the Angels they also have a weak middle infield, but so do most teams seeing as many of the best middle infielders in the game are from other countries. They have a good outfield though, and good young corner infielders. They wouldnt be as good as the Angels, but would definitely compete for a wildcard spot.

Seattle Mariners

Mariners depth chart

 

Seattle makes yet another strong team in the Al West. They have the strongest Middle infield of the three teams thus far, but also the weakest corner infield. Their biggest problem would be a lack of real power. they do not have a single real power threat, only a few players with solid power.  never the less, with the amount of skill on the team, they would still be able to score runs. Jon Lester is a great, reliable pitcher at the front of the rotation as well.

Houston Astros

Astros Depth Chart

 

The Astros, while a solid team, seem to have gotten the worse end of the players from Texas. While researching for these two teams, it just seemed there was just a little more talent around the Dallas area, as opposed to the Houston area. Despite that, they still do have a good team. Matt Carpenter and Anthony Rendon are both strong players in the infield, and Jay Bruce is a major power source from the outfield. CArl Crawford and Michael Bourn have both been underwhelming latley, but both have the talent to be stars still.

Oakland Athletics

Oakland depth chart

 

With all the teams in California, one of them were going to end up with a weaker cast, unfortunately that is the Athletics. While they do get the promising young player Joc Pederson, it isnt a good sign they had to settle for a minor league player. Their middle infield is solid, but aging. Their pitcher, Doug Fister, is also just solid, but not the type of guy you want at the front of your rotation. The A’s may be the best team in the actual AL West, but they are the worst in this hypothetical Al West.

 

Tomorrow we will look at the NL West.

Major League Off Season Report Card (Athletics)

Moves so far

Jim Johnson replaces Grant Balfour at closer for the A’s (photo credit Baltimore Sun)

  • Signed IF Nick Punto to a one-year, $2.75 million deal
  • Signed SP Scott Kazmir to a two-year, $22 million deal
  • Traded 2B Jemile Weeks and C Michael Freitas to Baltimore for Closer Jim Johnson
  • Traded OF Michael Choice and 2B Chris Bostick to Texas for OF Craig Gentry and RP Josh Lindbloom
  • Traded OF Seth Smith to San Diego for RP Luke Gregerson
  • Traded SP Brett Anderson and $2 million to Colorado for Pitching Prospect Chris Jensen and RP Drew Pomeranz

Rumor Mill

  • Seem to no longer be interested in OF Nelson Cruz
  • Contrary to reports earlier in off season, OF Yoenis Cespedes and SS Jed Lowrie will not be traded.

Talk about Déjà vu. Every year the A’s seem to either trade their best pitchers, or let them walk, and every year they continue to have a strong rotation. This year they let Bartolo Colon walk, and trade Brett Anderson. Losing Anderson doesn’t make much of a difference seeing as he hasn’t played very much in the last few years anyway. Colon is different, he was their Ace last year and will be hard to replace. Then again people thought Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill would be hard to replace, and the rotation hasn’t missed a beat since then. Sonny Gray will be expected to step up and fill the void along with new comer Scott Kazmir.

The A’s spent a lot of time this off season improving upon an already strong Bullpen. They added multiple high end relievers, and only lost closer Grant Balfour in the process, now with the Rays. Their bullpen was one of the best in the league last year, and it seems it will be once again thanks to this offseason.

It seems The A’s will be pretty much the same team they were last year. That overall good team that refuses to go away, until the playoffs that is. I just don’t see anyone in this rotation being able to be that finisher you want in the playoffs. Their staff will be solid and consistent throughout, with few holes. Who do they have that can match up to a Justin Verlander or Clayton Kershaw though? I understand they have made a name for themselves by being a small market team as well as an annually competitive team, but they need to spend some money eventually to get that guy who will put them over the top. The A’s have almost all the pieces they need for a World Series team, all they are missing is the star player to carry them there.

The A’s get a B, despite once again trading in some of their best players for fresh meat, they made smart calculated moves like always. At least they seem willing to hold on to potential stars Cespedes and Lowrie for now, hopefully that doesn’t change. Until they start taking chances though, they may never reach the next level. They are the oppiste of the Dodgers. While the Dodgers fail to see the merit in having role players on their team, the al’s fail to see the importance of Star’s.

If the A’s make any moves this will be updated.

That is it, all 30 teams have been graded. A full offseason overview will be published closer to spring training along with off season awards.

Leave a comment on who you thought had the best off season.

Major League Off Season Report Card (Mariners)

Moves so far

Robinson Cano (Photo Credit Wikipedia)

  • Signed 2B Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240 million deal
  • Signed 1B/RF Corey Hart to a one-year, $5 million deal
  • Acquired 1B/OF Logan Morrison from Marlins for RP Carter Capps
  • Signed IF Willie Bloomquist to a two-year, $5.8 million deal
  • Re-signed CF Franklin Gutierrez to a one-year, $1 million deal

Rumor Mill

  • Reportedly in market for a SP
  • Apparently refuse to give up pitching prospect Taijuan Walker in any potential trade

Giving out a 10-year deal to a player who is over 30 is rarely a good idea, even more so when it’s for a player who has been accused of being lazy. Robinson Cano is one of the most talented players in baseball, but he tends to be a bit lackadaisical, not running down to first, or putting effort into every play. He isn’t the type of player you want to give a huge deal.

It was a similar situation with OF Josh Hamilton last year. A guy who was considered a top talent in the league, but still wasn’t considered worthy of the big money he was asking for. His heart didn’t always seem to be in the game, and he proved the doubters right when he feel flat on his face ion his first year with the Angels. The Angels gave him a big deal, granted not as big as Cano, but still a sizable amount of money. It looks as though this will be a deal to regret as Hamilton failed to meet the lofty expectations his deal came with. It’s worth mentioning Mariners had almost landed Hamilton that year, until the Angels swept in and stole him.

It is understandable the Mariners want to spend money, at least they are trying to improve their team. Deals like this will not fix their problem though. It’s okay to bring in big free agents, but you have to choose wisely. Pick the team players and hardworking guys over the flashy, yet lazy stars.

Beyond Cano, the Mariners managed to bring in two 1B/OF’s in Logan Morrison and Corey Hart. Two players with decent potential, who have suffered from the injury bug in recent years. They can be contributors if they play, but neither are anything special. Speedster Willie Bloomquist also joins the fray. He is another decent player who can contribute, but won’t be an all-star.

Their best move has probably been not trading prized prospect Taijuan Walker, who seems poised to be a stud at the next level.

Mariners get a C-, this goes to show spending a lot of money doesn’t always mean it has been a good offseason. The Mariners will regret the Cano signing by the end. It may fill the stadium up a little more, but he is near the end of his prime and is just going into a `10-year-deal. That does not bode well for Seattle.

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

Next team up is the Athletics.

Major League Off Season Report Card (Angels)

Moves so far

This was my reaction when I heard the Angels traded Mark Trumbo. (Photo Credit USA Today)

  • Acquired SP Hector Santiago from Chicago and SP Tyler Skaggs from Arizona, traded OF Mark Trumbo and SP A.J. Schugel to Arizona
  • Acquired 3B David Freese and RP Fernando Salas from St. Louis for OF Peter Bourjos and OF Randal Grichuk
  • Signed RP Joe Smith to a three-year, $15.75 million deal
  • Signed SP Wade LeBlanc to a minor-league deal
  • Signed SP Chris Volstad to a minor-league deal

Rumor Mill

  • It seems SP Masahiro Tanaka is out of the Angels price range
  • Have had discussions with SP Matt Garza, SP Ubaldo Jimenez, and SP Ervin Santana

The Angels have spent most of this off season working on their subpar pitching staff. Their pitching staff was among the worse in the league last year, giving up over 4.4 runs a game, good for 24th in the league. They were also 26th in batting average allowed, and 27th in WHIP. Pitching was a clear need coming into the year.

They brought in both Hector Santiago, and Tyler Skaggs, by trading their young power hitter Mark Trumbo. Trumbo was a big loss, he is one of the best young power hitters in the league. Taking Skaggs back in return is a huge risk as he has struggled in his short career thus far. Santiago is a decent pitcher, but isn’t ace material. It remains to be seen if this deal will pay off for the Angels, but right now, it seems they may have gotten the short end of the stick.

They didn’t make out much better in their other deal. They moved OF Peter Bourjos, one of the best defensive outfielders, for two struggling players. Had they made this move without trading Trumbo, it would be an okay move. David Freese has potential, and while Fernando Salas is inconsistent, he has the potential to be a decent enough middle relief pitcher to make the deal worth it. Trading Trumbo and Bourjos makes no sense though. They had a surplus of outfielders and could afford to lose one. Clearly, Mike Trout wasn’t going to be traded, and right now people wouldn’t want to trade for Josh Hamilton, so Trumbo and Bourjos were the only options. They could afford to lose one, but by trading both they now have a hole in the OF. Raul Ibanez will probably get a decent amount of playing time, but he cant be an everyday player.

Angels were desperate for pitching this off season, and may have weakened their team in an attempt to remedy that issue. They get a C-, their moves may work out in the end, but for now they seem to have drawn the short straw.

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

Next team is the Mariners.

Major League Off Season Report Card (Rangers)

Moves so far

Prince Fielder (Photo Credit USA Today)

  • Acquired 1B Prince Fielder and $30 million from the Tigers for 2B Ian Kinsler
  • Signed OF Shin-Soo Choo to a seven-year, $130 million deal
  • Signed C J.P. Arencibia to a one-year, $1.8 million deal
  • Acquired OF Michael Choice and 2B Chris Bostick from the A’s for OF Craig Gentry and RHP Josh Lindbloom
  • Re-signed C Geovany Soto to a one-year, $3 million deal
  • Re-signed SP Colby Lewis  to a minor league deal
  • Signed RP Jose Contreras to a minor-league deal

Rumor Mill

  • Interested in signing a starter to replace the injured Dereck Holland
  • One of many teams bidding for SP Masahiro Tanaka

The Rangers made a lot of noise this off season when they traded their veteran 2B Ian Kinsler for 1B Prince Fielder. The deal just seemed to make too much sense for both teams. Not only does the deal fix the Rangers problems at first, but also it opens up a space for the Rangers once number one prospect, Jurickson Profar, to finally get regular playing time. Profar had been blocked by SS Elvis Andrus and Kinsler, and the consensus was one of the three were going tpo be traded. The fact they were able to bring back a proven MLB star in return for Kinsler makes it all the better.

The deal has its downsides. Fielder has a huge contract with seven years left on it. With his size, his playing career could take a decline earlier than most. Rangers may be hurting from this in four years, but for now, it was an amazing move for them.

The Rangers also brought in Shin Soo Choo this offseason, who was among the best free agent outfielders. He replaces the oft injured Nelson Cruz in right field. Choo is coming off a very good year, but he is also 31. Giving a 31 year old a seven year contract is always risky, especially with someone who has shown some inconsistencies in the past. Never the less, Shoo is an improvement in right field for now, and definitely makes this team better. The deal falls in the same category as the Fielder trade, good for now, but it may hurt in a few years.

Besides that, the Rangers resigned C Geovany Soto, and brought ion C J.P. Arencibia to compete. Neither are great options, but they are both capable of being good.

The Rangers also brought a few guys in on Minor League deals, including Colby Lewis and Jose Contreras.

Rangers need to find a starter to replace Holland now that he has had major surgery putting him out for most of this upcoming season. Tanaka seems unlikely, but guys like Bronson Arroyo and Ervin Santana are still on the market. Ranger need to jump on one of them.

Rangers get an A-, their offseason was good, but it also may come back to bite them in the offseason. There is no doubting they have improved vastly for this year though.

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

Next team is the Angels.