A+: Matt Netter, San Francisco Giants – The Giants had a good amount of money to spend and the ability to build onto their core of players without trading away young talent. They brought in Alex Gordon for a song ($15.1 Million), overpaid for Daniel Murphy ($14 Million) and filled out their rotation with Yovani Gallardo and Brett Anderson. Their team is not necessarily a “Top Team” in terms of Word Series contention as I’d say the Cardinals, Yankees and Rangers but they are among the better teams in the league and held onto all of their prospects.
A: David Groveman, St. Louis Cardinals – My Cardinals were already a very good team and the moves I was able to make improved their prospects for 2016 (Mark Teixeira & Carlos Gonzalez) and their future (Nomar Mazara & Jurickson Profar). I also improved their bullpen tremendously adding Rex Brothers, John Axford and Anthony Bass behind Trevor Rosenthal and extended the bench with Rajai Davis and Alex Rios who both signed contracts of only $510,000.
A: Jon Joura, New York Yankees – I hate ranking the Yankees highly but a single move Jon made probably made them an instant AL favorite again. Trading Brian McCann for Gio Gonzalez (Joe Girardi’s inclusion not withstanding) gives the Yanks a formidable rotation to go with a lineup that can still hit. There is tons of wasted money between the $20 Million being paid to players on other teams, the $25 Million going to C.C. Sabathia (the highest paid mop-up man in history) and the $6.2 Million Jon Jay is making to be on the bench. None of that matters. This Yankees squad would contend and even more so if Rob Refsnyder and Aaron Judge pan out.
A: Peter Golenbock, Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays are a tough team to work with but Peter made magic happen on a budget. It helps to have three young outfielders making the league minimum in Steven Souza, Kevin Kiermeyer and Mikie Mahtook but bringing in Jean Segura and Joe Mauer really does make the lineup more imposing. Plus, you saved all that money to actually make a splash at the deadline.
A-: Ray Kuhn, Texas Rangers – On the positive end of things, they acquired Shelby Miller, Hector Olivera, Trevor Bauer, Marco Gonzalez and Thomas Pham. On the negative side, they lost Derek Holland (although I doubt they regret that), Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo. The lineup is intimidating and deep, the rotation is also now a strength of the team with three bonafide Aces and several capable arms filling out their roster. I would have given them an A+ if they had kept one of their two big hitting prospects.
A-: Steve Parsons, San Diego Padres – Steve did a pretty good job of giving the Padres a new direction and rebuilding a team that had an awful 2015. The team’s offense doesn’t take too steep a hit going into 2016 and losing Justin Upton and they added pieces to their rotation with Edison Volquez and Drew Hutchison that should help solidify their pitching. I disagree with Melvin Upton being the starting center fielder but whether it’s Upton or Ben Revere, it’s still a very good defensive team.
A-: Matt Bruce, Cleveland Indians – Matt made few moves but the ones he made seemed to be well made. Firstly, Justin Upton was one of the only bargains of the offseason free agent market. The trade with Texas was a coup as Joey Gallo could be a superstar starting in 2016. The team still doesn’t look elite but they improved in a number of areas and didn’t make any mistakes.
B+: Joe Barbieri, Boston Red Sox – I like Joe’s guts with some of the moves he’s made. I don’t know if he’s made the Red Sox a playoff team but there is certainly a shot. The offense will improve with Giancarlo Stanton and the addition of Zack Greinke gives Boston a legitimate Ace, but the real strength for Boston right now is the bullpen and that is something some other teams neglected.
B+: Peter Kreutzer, Minnesota Twins – Trading away Joe Mauer worked well for them and getting James Loney and Alex Colome and the Starlin Castro trade was also in their favor. Signing Ian Desmond makes less sense but gives the team some additional options to be creative with. In the end their pitching is still not elite but if Jose Berrios can come up and perform it will all work out. Psst, a Castro for Neise swap would probably benefit both teams.
B: John Coppinger, Detroit Tigers – The team’s starting rotation isn’t elite but there is no better bullpen in baseball should Craig Kimbrell and Drew Storen prove able to get along at the back-end. The Tigers could have used a few cheap additions to the lineup but when you add Yunel Escobar and Trea Turner to your infield and only give up Ian Kinsler and money, you’ve made wise decisions.
B: Brian Mullen, Houston Astros – The Astros improved their hitting with a big splashy trade that adds Ryan Braun to the heart of their lineup but their rotation is not deep and they will not go far in the playoffs without more pitching. Even so, it’s hard to claim that the Astros did not get better and with Braun joining Carlos Gomez and George Springer in the outfield they have arguably the best lineup in baseball.
B: Rob Rogan, Philadelphia Phillies – This is not a Phillies team that will win it all in 2016 but Rob’s moves do prepare Philly for a brighter future. Jason Heyward was a good signing, although he overpaid, and Mike Leake will help the rotation. Finishing with $40 Million in the bank allows the Phillies to be ready to strike when things start to snap into place.
B-: Zach Sanders, Seattle Mariners – This team got better, so I’m forced to be nit-picky. Acquiring Dexter Fowler, Tom Koehler, Ryan Webb, Chris Ianetta, Craig Gentry and Mike Aviles were all solid moves and nobody was a stretch in terms of cash. I’m less fond of Bud Norris but that’s a personal taste question. My issue is that the bullpen and rotation do not combine to make these Seattle Mariners true contenders. Still, not a bad offseason.
B-: Brian Joura, Milwaukee Brewers – There was good and bad in the offseason for the Brewers. The team would have ranked higher if they’d built a bit more into their future but it’s hard to argue that bringing Mark Appel, A.J. Reed and Jake Marisnick won’t help.
B-: Paul LaRocca, Chicago Cubs – The Cubs were already built to succeed in 2016 and the acquisition of David Price improves their chances greatly. The one major complaint is that they couldn’t get more for Starlin Castro. Castro’s value has taken a hit but Aaron Hicks and Jake Reed are not near his overall value.
B-: Jon Williams, Arizona Diamondbacks – The Diamondbacks had a quiet offseason but they did make a few moves to help them. Their trade for Jaime Garcia did nab them the better pitcher while also adding a prospect in Nick Plummer. Their offer to R.A. Dickey seems to be a little insane given the pitcher’s age and that his overall numbers since leaving the Mets have been fairly poor. Their Non-Roster invites are all bargains though and I think there is more good than bad.
C+: Greg Jarvis, Baltimore Orioles – The team didn’t have a bad offseason. In fact, you could say that they won. The team had a bunch of their better players hitting the free agent market and limited payroll to keep them. The fact they managed to keep the players they did is pretty remarkable. I’m not a fan of the Brian Matusz for Pedro Alvarez trade… but I’m not a fan of Pedro Alvarez in general.
C+: Eric Stashin, Toronto Blue Jays – The team improves but only by a slim margin and the Yankees and Red Sox make larger more impactful moves. The Blue Jays acquire three quality pitchers but lack an Ace to anchor their rotation. Their GM’s assertion that Hisashi Iwakuma is going to prove to be an “Ace” is also suspect. The AL East is the strongest division on paper but the Blue Jays are no longer easy favorites to win it.
C: Jim Keller, Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pirates had a good offseason but cannot be rated that well as they broke their budget cap. Trading Pedro Alvarez for Brian Matusz is a deal that I believe they won and signing Doug Fister and Asdrubal Cabrera cheaply will also help the team. Unfortunately, the rules are the rules and the team comes in over budget. This lowers their grade from a B+ to a C.
C: Joe Vasile, Miami Marlins – The Marlins made one big move but it’s hard to say that it made them better. Trading Giancarlo Stanton is rough but getting Henry Owens, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts helps a little. I think the deal still winds up as a net loss for the Marlins thanks to the inclusion of two outstanding relievers. Perhaps Steven Wright turns out to be better than A.J. Ramos but right now he does not. Missing out on free agency the Marlins stayed close to the treading water line.
C-: Dan Spiro, Colorado Rockies – It might have gone differently if they had been able to predict the Free Agent market better. The Rockies traded Carlos Gonzalez and all the money owed him to the Cardinals for two solid players in Randal Grichuck and Tim Cooney but… that saved money went into overpaying for Jordan Zimmerman and not into a true Ace like Zack Greinke. The owner still improved the team overall but they did misplay their $27 Million for Free Agency.
D+: Scott Ferguson, Oakland Athletics – Maybe you are Billy Beene and all these moves work out but it looks like Oakland was mostly interested in not bringing any players back. The offense takes a severe hit and the rotation, while it gains James Shields, does not become elite in doing so. The contracts to Juan Uribe, Marlon Byrd and Jonathan Broxton all seemed high. Their best acquisition was Mitch Moreland but their offseason does not look like a winner.
D: Patrick Albanesius, New York Mets – Patrick did not make the Mets worse but he spent money poorly and that’s nearly as bad. The 2016 Mets, under Patrick, will have a very good chance of returning to the postseason but the 2017 Mets and beyond will be handicapped by the money woes the 2016 team leaves behind. I haven’t seen the financials but I’m not sure how the Mets afforded the contracts they were left with.
F+: Dan Kolton, Washington Nationals – Apparently the NL East had a very poor offseason. Kolton’s Nationals, lie Patrick’s Mets stay a good team but while the Mets get marginally better at the expense of money sense, the Nationals get worse as they bid adieu to Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmerman. The team traded away their future to bring in aging hitters to bolster their lineup but with Torii Hunter (retired) set to start in the outfield I must say that this was a disastrous offseason for the Nationals. They also traded away Trea Turner which is absurd.
F: Julian McCarthy, Atlanta Braves – Sorry, but this was a terribly run offseason. They traded away an Ace (Shelby Miller) and the key piece of the deal that send Alex Wood and Jose Peraza away. Sure they signed David Freese and got Derek Holland but this was a bad trade and did nothing to actually help the Braves get better. Add that Bobby Parnell is anything but a setup man these days and this was a terrible offseason for the Bravos.
Incomplete: Dodgers (Rob Reed), Royals (Mark Healy), Reds (Will Morin), Angels (Jock Thompson) – These guys did not submit a roster and recap.
F-: Megan Crotty, Chicago White Sox – It’s rotten to agree to participate in something and then blow it off.