Boston Red Sox (A+)
Key Additions: Chris Sale (SP), Mitch Moreland (1B/DH), Tyler Thornburg (RP)
Key Losses: Travis Shaw (3B), Yoan Moncada (IF)
Boston won the Chris Sale Sweepstakes, but had to surrender top prospect Yoan Moncada. It’s unclear what role he could have played in Boston in the coming years since the lineup is already set with young talent, so GM Dave Dombrowski is clearly in “win-now” mode. Replacing David Ortiz was high on the Sox’ offseason to-do list, but let’s be honest – Big Papi is irreplaceable.
New York Yankees (A+)
Key Additions: Matt Holliday (1B/OF/DH), Aroldis Chapman (Closer)
Key Losses: Brian McCann (C/DH)
After trading Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs midseason, the free agent Cuban lefty returned to New York on a five-year deal. The move immediately gives the Yankees a dominant bullpen once again, led by Chapman and righty Dellin Betances. Signing Matt Holliday should not be viewed as significant, but if he can provide some power in a low-stress role as DH, then it’s money well-spent for GM Brian Cashman.
Tampa Bay Rays (B+)
Key Additions: Wilson Ramos (C)
Key Losses: None
The Rays acquired the best catcher available, though it remains to be seen if he can duplicate his 2016 numbers after suffering a season-ending injury. The franchise failed to move closer Alex Colome, though there’s still plenty of time for a deal to take place.
Baltimore Orioles (C-)
Key Additions: None
Key Losses: Brian Duensing (RP), Steve Pearce (1B/OF/DH)
The window is closing quickly on a franchise that continues to witness subpar performances by its starting pitchers. They’re already operating at the high-end of their budget, and don’t have many prospects worth anything on the trade market.
Toronto Blue Jays (B)
Key Additions: Kendrys Morales (1B/DH), Steve Pearce (1B/OF/DH)
Key Losses: Brett Cecil (RP), RA Dickey (SP), Joaquin Benoit (RP)
Toronto acted quickly to replace Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion by signing Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce. While a reunion seems unlikely with Encarnacion and Bautista, it is certainly possible after both players went unsigned during the Winter Meetings. If Toronto ponies up the money to sign one, or both, of these guys, then the Blue Jays “B grade” immediately improves to an “A+ grade.”