MLB off-season recap

Matthew Szymanowski, Staff Writer

With spring training finally underway, a lot of teams have had a very impactful off-season. There have been blockbuster trades, nine-figure contracts given, and many other great moves.

The team with the most exciting off-season has to be the San Diego Padres. After they finished second in their division and made it to the NLDS, the Padres knew they needed to add a little more to get to that next level.

They went far and above a little improvement. They made three massive trades to stack their starting rotation. They acquired the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays, the 2020 NL Cy Young runner-up Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs, and ace starter Joe Musgrove from the Pittsburgh Pirates. They also signed international star Ha-Seong Kim from Korea, and relievers Mark Melancon and Keone Kela to boost their bullpen.

However, none of those compare their contract extension of Fernando Tatis Jr. The 21-year-old signed a fourteen-year, $340 million extension, which is the third richest contract in MLB history.

Another team that drastically improved was the Toronto Blue Jays. With a young core they have developed, they decided to spend to build around these guys. They signed Robbie Ray and Tyler Chatwood to help a depleted rotation, and they signed former all-star Kirby Yates to close games for them. They also signed 2019 MVP finalist Marcus Semien and 2017 World Series MVP George Springer to big contracts, stacking a lineup that already includes Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Cavan Biggio.

While these teams improved, others went in the opposite direction.

One of those teams was the Cleveland Indians. Following a first-round playoff exit, the organization was determined to cut salary.

Sadly for Indians fans, that is exactly what they did. They released outfielder Tyler Naquin and did not pick up the option on closer Brad Hand’s contract. They also traded away fan favorites Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets. While they did sign outfielder Eddie Rosario, they also lost long-time first baseman Carlos Santana to free agency.

Another team that lost a lot was the Pittsburgh Pirates. After finish dead last in the MLB with a 19-41 record, the organization decided to hit the reset button on the whole team. They traded away first baseman Josh Bell along with their two best starting pitchers in Joe Musgrove and Jameson Taillon. However, they were able to acquire some good prospects in return to start the rebuild in Pittsburgh.

While these teams either drastically improved or regressed, there will still a lot of other moves that teams did to improve this off-season.

The NL East champion Atlanta Braves re-signed one of their big bats in Marcell Ozuna and signed starter Charlie Morton.

Along with acquiring Lindor and Carrasco from Cleveland, the New York Mets also picked up catcher James McCann, outfielders Kevin Pillar and Albert Almora Jr., and pitchers Taijuan Walker and Trevor May.

The St. Louis Cardinals made a blockbuster trade with the Colorado Rockies when they acquired 5-time all-star and 8-time gold glove winner Nolan Arenado for 5 players.

The Chicago White Sox quietly made some splashes when they signed outfielder Adam Eaton and closer Liam Hendriks after trading for Lance Lynn earlier on.

The New York Yankees re-signed their best pure hitter in D.J. LeMahieu and picked up starters Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon.

The 2020 World Series champions also found a way to improve, somehow. They re-signed their third baseman Justin Turner and picked up the best free-agent pitcher on the market in Trevor Bauer.

With a wild off-season coming to a close, it should be great to see how these moves play out for each team in 2021 and beyond.

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