Biggest Winners of the MLB Offseason
It has been over two months since the Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2022 World Series. In that period, there has been significant player movement around the MLB. Free agency gives teams a chance to bolster their rosters, and there was no shortage of star players available this offseason. While several impactful free agents are still available, most of the major dominoes have fallen. Here are the teams that have emerged as the biggest winners of the MLB offseason thus far:
New York Mets
The New York Mets entered this offseason with many questions as several of their star players entered free agency. To say that the Mets addressed these questions would be an understatement. While the team lost several key members of their 2022 starting rotation, most notably Jacob deGrom, the Mets more than made up for these losses. To fill deGrom’s enormous void, the club signed reigning AL Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander. The Mets also added Japanese star Kodai Senga and former All-Star José Quintana to round out their starting rotation. Pairing Verlander with Max Scherzer gives New York two of the best pitchers in baseball, and Senga has the potential to be a star in the Big Apple. Quintana also enjoyed a career rebirth last season, as he pitched to a sterling 2.93 ERA.
While deGrom signed with the Texas Rangers, the Mets retained two of their other star players in free agency. Edwin Díaz, the most electric closer in baseball, re-signed with the club on a five-year, $102 million contract. Homegrown star Brandon Nimmo also re-signed with New York, and his consistent on-base prowess will be essential for the squad for years to come. To bolster their bullpen, the Amazins retained Adam Ottavino, signed David Robertson, and traded for Brooks Raley. Yes, losing Carlos Correa, who initially agreed to terms with the Mets in late December, stings. However, even without Correa, the Mets have done more than enough to emerge as a clear winner of the offseason.
The Texas Rangers made a big splash last offseason by signing Corey Seager and Marcus Semien to long-term deals. However, their underwhelming 2022 season was evidence that those additions wouldn’t be enough to vault the team into contention. Most notably, the Rangers needed significant upgrades in the pitching department. To address this need, the Rangers sent shockwaves throughout the MLB by inking superstar Jacob deGrom to a five-year, $185 million contract. Signing deGrom gives Texas the most dominant pitcher in the game, assuming he can stay healthy. Texas didn’t stop there, as the club added former Los Angeles Dodger Andrew Heaney. Heaney enjoyed a breakout season in 2022, showcasing the talent that made him a first-round pick in 2012. If the southpaw can replicate last season’s success, his contract will be a steal for the Rangers.
In addition to deGrom and Heaney, the Rangers signed starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi to a two-year, $34 million contract. The 2021 All-Star was a keen pickup for Texas, although there are concerns about his health after injuries marred his 2022 campaign. Breakout star Martin Pérez also agreed to remain in Texas after he accepted his qualifying offer. Pérez was the ace of the Rangers’ pitching staff last season and gives them a solid no. 2 starter behind deGrom. The Rangers also traded for 2019 All-Star Jake Odorizzi, giving them even more starting pitching depth. deGrom, Pérez, Heaney, Eovaldi, and holdover Jon Gray give Texas a rock-solid rotation to lean on in 2023. While deGrom’s contract carries risk due to injury concerns, it has the potential to pay off handsomely for the Rangers.
New York Yankees
For the New York Yankees, Aaron Judge’s fate was inevitably going to make or break their offseason. Losing the superstar outfielder would have been an unfathomable blow for the organization. Thankfully for Yankees fans, the slugger re-signed with the club on a nine-year, $360 million contract. Judge, who set the AL home run record in 2022, has emerged as the clear-cut best power hitter in baseball. While there are concerns about how the back end of this deal will hold up, retaining Judge was an absolute necessity for the Yankees. With him back in the fold, the Yankees lineup remains one of the most dangerous in the game. The Bronx Bombers also re-signed first baseman Anthony Rizzo, a core piece of last season’s taeam.
After locking up Judge, the Yankees shifted their focus to the starting pitching market. While Jameson Taillon departed for the Chicago Cubs, the squad made a major move by adding Carlos Rodón. Rodón has emerged as an elite pitcher over the past two seasons, finishing top-six in NL Cy Young Award voting each year. Rodón gives the Yankees another true ace to pair with Gerrit Cole. To strengthen their bullpen, the Yankees signed Tommy Kahnle, who was with the team from 2017-2020. While the Yankees haven’t made as many moves as other offseason winners, the moves they did make were enormously impactful. Retaining their homegrown superstar and adding another ace makes the Yankees a clear winner of this offseason.
Honorable Mention: Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres