Ranking The Top-Five Offseasons To Date
As always, the offseason has been a busy time for teams to adjust their rosters in preparation for the coming season. Some have chosen to enhance their Major League roster in order to compete immediately, while others have opted to sell their 2017 hopes in favor of a rebuild. Regardless of which route teams take, the off-season is critical time for all organizations. So, which teams have had the best off-seasons?
1. Chicago White Sox
While their crosstown rival is celebrating their first World Series crown in 108 years, the White Sox are quickly emerging as the undisputed champions of this offseason. But unlike offseason champions of years past, the White Sox are not buyers. Rather, Chicago has sold off some of its best talent in return for top tier prospects.
Granted, the White Sox were not too far off from competing in 2017. But General Manager Rick Hahn recognized that the club would be better off trading Chris Sale and Adam Eaton in order to feed the farm system. The White Sox received baseball’s number one rated prospect Yoan Moncada and flamethrower Michael Kopech from the Boston Red Sox as well as top prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez from the Washington Nationals.
While Sale is a bona fide ace that was probably worthy of the price Boston paid, Chicago needed to move on from him in order to begin their rebuilding process. Furthermore, many executives around the league believe that the White Sox fleeced the Nationals by acquiring Giolito and Lopez for Eaton. Though the White Sox will not reap the benefits of these deals in 2017, this off-season has put them in a favorable position in years to come.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers did exactly what they had to do this off-season, meaning that they essentially maintained the same roster that took them to the NLCS this year. Los Angeles re-signed Kenley Jansen, a top-three closer in baseball, and Justin Turner, a top-ten hitter in the National League, to long term deals.
As currently constructed, the Dodgers are one of the three best teams in the NL. Los Angeles has a true shot of reaching the World Series and bringing back Jansen and Turner solidifies the club as the favorite in the West.
To a lesser extent, re-signing starting pitcher Rich Hill also puts the Dodgers in a position to succeed. Hill can’t be relied upon to take the rubber consistently, but is a dangerous weapon when healthy. Between Hill, Julio Urias, Kenta Maeda, and some guy named Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers will roll into 2017 with one of the best rotations in baseball.
3. Houston Astros
For the team of the future, the time apparently seems to be now. The Astros have made it clear that they intend to go all in for 2017 by acquiring veterans Carlos Beltran, Josh Reddick, and Brian McCann.
Beltran and McCann, two aging sluggers, should complement Houston’s youth nicely. The Astros already boasted a lineup that included Carlos Correa, George Springer, and Alex Bregman. With these off-season additions, the Astros are primed to contend for a World Series championship coming off a lackluster 2016 campaign.
4. Boston Red Sox
As patronizing as it may appear, Brian Cashman’s comments about the Red Sox being the “Golden State Warriors of Major League Baseball” are not far off. Even before the club acquired Chris Sale, Boston appeared to be the American League favorite heading into next season. General Manager Dave Dombrowski picked up Sale at just the right time, especially when considering the White Sox asked him for Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi at the July trade deadline.
Whether or not Yoan Moncada lives up to the hype is inconsequential to the fact that the Red Sox must take advantage of this World Series window while it is still open. Sale is arguably the best pitcher in the AL and seems to have the sort of demeanor that will bode well in a playoff setting.
5. New York Yankees
The success of this Yankees’ offseason is more a validation for their moves at last year’s trade deadline. The Yankees managed to trade Beltran, Aroldis Chapman, and Andrew Miller and still remain in the Wild Card race into September.
In return, the Yankees received a bevy of exciting prospects, such as Clint Frazier and Arizona Fall League MVP Gleyber Torres. The Yankees now appear to be set up for another long run of success once Frazier and Torres join emerging young stars such as Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird on the Major League roster.
Add this with the re-signing of Chapman and the Yankees are clearly long term beneficiaries of their past transactions. After all, only the Yankees could rebuild and reload at this level so quickly and effectively.