Congratulations to the World Champion Boston Red Sox on the worst-to-first turnaround. Spring training is around the corner, and it has been an eventful off-season. This off-season, like many others before, had a lot of big names on the market. Will this be the year we get a team that will rise from the bottom to the pennant? Lets take a look at some of the big off-season moves made by the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, and Washington Nationals.
The Seattle Mariners acquiring All-Star second basemen Robinson Cano in free agency was perhaps the biggest off-season move. The additions of Robbie Cano, Corey Hart, and Logan Morrison have added strength to the Mariners’ lineup. The Mariners also have a group of young guys that will round out the team. Having these additions in the lineup will definitely provide more run support for King Felix and the rest of the Mariners’ rotation. The loss of Cano maybe one of the biggest in the history of the Yankees’ organization; rarely does a homegrown Yankee leave the team.
The second biggest off-season move was between the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers. The Price Fielder trade for Ian Kinsler shocked fans from both teams. I think the results of this trade will be good for both teams. Fielder, one of the best hitters in the league, is headed to Rangers Ballpark, which is considered a hitter-friendly park. With Nelson Cruz still on the free agent market, Fielder is a great replacement of power if Cruz signs with another team. Rangers fans are hoping that this off-season trade will bring them back to the World Series and erase the memory of the 2010 and ’11 Series. Kinsler adds depth and speed to the Tigers infield. He is a three-time All-Star second baseman. I think he will be a welcome addition to the Tigers.
The Yankees have finally addressed the need for a premium catcher. Signing Brain McCain was a great move. The Yankees have needed a power-hitting catcher since Jorge Posada was made the Yankees’ fulltime DH in 2011. McCann puts up good numbers and is an experienced defensive catcher as well. He might also work well with the Yankees’ pitchers because of his experience leading the Braves’ young group of pitchers to one of the best records in baseball in 2013. Also, Yankees Stadium is built for a hitter like McCain with the short porch in right field. The addition of Jacoby Ellsbury to the Yankees is a move that will bring speed to a team that has not traditionally been known for it. Ellsbury is similar to Brett Gardner. Now the Yankees should have one of the best defensive outfields.
The Nationals made an off-season move that in my opinion will lead them to the World Series. By trading for Doug Fister, the Nationals have added even more strength to the pitching rotation and possibly getting the best Number 3 starter in the game. The Nationals’ rotation already includes Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, and Gio Gonzalez.
The underdog surprise move of the off-season goes to the Houston Astros, who have spent much of the winter building up their rotation. Although the biggest move of the Astros’ off-season was trading Brandon Barnes and players to be named later to the Rockies for centerfielder Dexter Fowler. Fowler is a switch-hitter, has a strong walk rate, and rarely strikes out. While this move does not seem like such a big one compared to Cano or Fielder, for the Astros it provides veteran leadership to help guide young players through this rebuilding process.