With baseball’s offseason dealings all but complete, USA TODAY Sports examines the moves of all 30 teams. The grades for the American League:
Cleveland Indians: The defending AL champions signed this winter’s biggest prized free agent — DH Edwin Encarnacion. He brings consistency to a lineup that was fifth in the majors in runs last season. Over the last five seasons, he has averaged 39 home runs and 110 RBI.
Boston Red Sox: Red Sox President Dave Dombrowski pulled off the biggest trade this winter, acquiring ace Chris Sale from the White Sox to form one of the league’s best rotations. And while it’s impossible to replace David Ortiz’s offense, the club signed first baseman Mitch Moreland, who slugged 22 home runs last season.
Chicago White Sox: In complete-rebuild mode, GM Rick Hahn landed several top prospects by trading Sale to the Red Sox and outfielder Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals. In return, they received second baseman Yoan Moncada, the No.1-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com, from the Red Sox and right-hander Lucas Giolito, the No. 3-ranked prospect, among others.
Seattle Mariners: For a team that missed the playoffs by three games last season, GM Jerry Dipoto continued to make wholesale changes. Infielder Jean Segura and outfielder Jarrod Dyson are likely two new candidates to break into the everyday lineup. Drew Smyly was also acquired in a trade with the Rays. His 32 home runs surrendered in 2016 figures to be reduced in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.
Houston Astros: After taking a step back in 2016, the Astros made some bold yet risky moves to get back into contention. The Astros responded by adding a trio of veteran hitters — outfielders Carlos Beltran and Josh Reddick and catcher Brian McCann — to their young core. The risk is that the three could be in the decline of their careers.
Los Angeles Angels: The Angels spent the winter building around Mike Trout, the 2016 AL MVP. Second-year GM Billy Eppler made the most of his free agent signings — outfielder Ben Revere, third baseman Luis Valbuena, catcher Martin Maldonado and reliever Jesse Chavez — and paid a moderate price for them. He also acquired shortstop Danny Espinosa and outfielder Cameron Maybin in trades.
New York Yankees: The Yankees are relying on their youth in 2017, but that didn’t stop GM Brian Cashman from signing closer Aroldis Chapman to the richest contract for a reliever. The Yankees also made two heady free agent signings: veteran outfielder Matt Holliday and first baseman-DH Chris Carter, who hit 41 home runs in 2016.
Kansas City Royals: The Royals took a hit this winter with the departures of DH Kendrys Morales, pitcher Edinson Volquez, outfielder Jarrod Dyson and closer Wade Davis and the death of pitcher Yordano Ventura in a car accident. But GM Dayton Moore made several off-the-radar moves to counteract the losses. Key arrivals include pitchers Jason Hammel, Nate Karns, Brandon League, Seth Maness and Travis Wood, first baseman-
DH Brandon Moss and outfielder Jorge Soler.
Texas Rangers: The Rangers lost several key figures to free agency: Carlos Beltran, Ian Desmond and Mitch Moreland. But they filled a major hole at first base by signing Mike Napoli, who slugged a career-high 34 home runs in 2016. The big question is whether newly acquired pitchers Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross can be productive.
Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles get a grade this high only because they re-signed Mark Trumbo, who led the AL in home runs with 42. Welington Castillo replaces longtime catcher Matt Wieters. He is a veteran backstop with a decent bat — almost equivalent to Wieters in 2016. But GM Dan Duquette again failed to address the rotation.
Tampa Bay Rays: The small-market Rays made some quiet moves. They traded second baseman Logan Forsythe to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitching prospect Jose DeLeon and signed free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus. But they are taking a chance with catcher Wilson Ramos, who signed a two-year free agent deal. Once an NL MVP candidate, Ramos saw his stock drop when he blew out his knee in late September. He likely will be DH for most of the season.
Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays offense took a major hit with the loss of Edwin Encarnacion. They nearly lost slugger Jose Bautista, but he re-signed. Replacing Encarnacion is DH Kendrys Morales, who, when healthy, can hit 20-plus home runs. Last season with the Royals, he hit 30.
Detroit Tigers: The Tigers had a chance to rebuild after missing the postseason for the second year in a row. Instead, GM Al Avila decided to keep the core together to make another run. Perhaps the biggest move they made was trading outfielder Cameron Maybin to the Angels. Avila did sign his son, catcher Alex Avila, to a one-year deal.
Oakland Athletics: Times have been lean for team President Billy Beane. The A’s, who won 69 games in 2016, didn’t make any impactful moves. They added outfielders Rajai Davis and Matt Joyce, third baseman Trevor Plouffe and reliever Santiago Casilla. There isn’t enough talent to generate many more wins.
Minnesota Twins: Not trading Brian Dozier in the offseason could come back to haunt the franchise. The Twins tried to deal the AL All-Star second baseman, who hit 42 home runs, to the Dodgers, but their asking price was too high. Minnesota did sign catcher Jason Castro, but he hit .210 last season.
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