This offseason has been relatively quiet compared to prior years, with a lot of the same teams popping up in free agent and trade rumors day in and day out. The free-agent distribution was not as scattered as some may expect, as it was a very top-heavy offseason, with just a handful of teams getting the bigger names while the other majority stayed quiet. With that in mind, I will be looking at the five teams that I consider to be the biggest winners of this offseason.
1) San Diego Padres: The Padres made some huge acquisitions this offseason, and signed some big names. They had arguably the biggest blockbuster trade of the winter, acquiring Yu Darvish from the Cubs and Blake Snell from the Rays. San Diego’s biggest question mark was their starting pitching, and they completely wiped away that issue by getting their 1 and 2 starters in Darvish and Snell. Joe Musgrove was also a huge addition, as he is a good late rotation starter with a ton of potential. They picked up their closer, Mark Melancon, on a one-year/$3 million dollar deal, and he provides a reliable veteran arm. Most recently, they extended star shortstop, Fernando Tatis Jr., thus capping off a terrific offseason.
2) Los Angeles Dodgers: The reigning World Series Champions wasted no time in making a splash this offseason. They brought key reliever, Blake Treinen, back on a two-year deal, and would later re-sign fan favorite Justin Turner, on a team-friendly deal. However, no move was as big as signing 2020 NL Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer, to give them an even bigger edge as the World Series favorites. Though they didn’t make a ton of moves like the Padres, they were able to retain some key players while making a huge addition in Bauer, arguably the biggest free-agent name of the offseason.
3) New York Mets: Under new owner Steve Cohen, the Mets were expected to be big players in the offseason buzz. They followed through with that expectation, signing catcher James McCann to a four-year deal. Their biggest move was trading for their future franchise centerpiece, Francisco Lindor, with a reliable two starter in Carlos Carrasco tagging along in that deal. They further bolstered their pitching staff by signing relievers Trevor May and Aaron Loup, to go along with a solid mid-rotation starter in Taijuan Walker. They also made some great depth moves, with Jonathan Villar and Jose Martinez being the bigger additions. Though the Mets did not get a top-tier free agent player like their fan base hoped, it was overall a great offseason.
4) Atlanta Braves: The reigning NL East champs were quite busy this offseason, further bolstering their already playoff-worthy roster. They went out early and signed veteran starting pitchers in Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly, to further solidify their rotation. They then capped off a good offseason by re-signing star outfielder Marcell Ozuna, to give them a boost of power in their lineup. Overall, they did not make a ton of moves this offseason, but the few acquisitions they made were smart.
5) Toronto Blue Jays: After getting a taste of the postseason in 2020, they were very active this offseason. With their rotation depth in question, they went out and acquired Robbie Ray and traded for former Mets lefty Steven Matz. Both of these guys had down seasons in 2020, but they do provide veteran leadership and have had past success. They got their closer in Kirby Yates, who was one of the top closers in baseball in 2018 and 2019. Infielder Marcus Semien was another big acquisition for the Jays, to bolster their depth. However, no move was bigger in baseball this offseason than Toronto’s deal with star outfielder George Springer. This move solidified them as a playoff favorite in the AL, and further narrowed the gap between them and the Yankees in the AL East.
New York Yankees: The Yankees had a relatively slow offseason compared to what we are used to seeing from them, but they did make some notable moves. They were able to re-sign 2020 AL Batting Title winner DJ Lemahieu, to solidify their lineup as the best in the American League. They bolstered their rotation by signing aging veteran Corey Kluber and acquiring former top prospect Jameson Taillon. I left them out of the top five, because they did not sign any big names from the free-agent market, but did acquire two starting pitchers that have the potential to have a big imprint in the Yankee’s success this season. With the plethora of big names on the free-agent market next offseason, expect them to be a top player in free agency in 2021.