Chicago Cubs (A-)
Key Additions: Brian Duensing (RP), Jon Jay (OF), Wade Davis (Closer), Koji Uehara (RP)
Key Losses: Jorge Soler (OF), Aroldis Chapman (Closer), Dexter Fowler (CF)
The 2016 World Series Champions knew they were probably going to lose Aroldis Chapman and Dexter Fowler in free agency, but GM Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon built a roster with incredible positional depth and versatility. Ultimately, Chapman and Fowler were replaceable with cheaper talent. The loss of Chapman created a gaping vacancy at the back end of the pen, but the front office made a risky trade to acquire Wade Davis in exchange for Jorge Soler, an outfielder without a clear path to consistent playing time.
St. Louis Cardinals (B+)
Key Additions: Brett Cecil (RP), Dexter Fowler (CF)
Key Losses: Matt Holliday (OF)
The Cardinals didn’t need or want Matt Holliday and his poor defense, shaky bat, or expensive contract any longer. His loss is only relevant because he was a mainstay for years. They locked up a quality lefty bullpen arm in Brett Cecil, and paid a heavy price to snag Fowler from the Cardinals. Fowler should slot in as St. Louis’ leadoff hitter, but his defensive prowess is significantly dependent on how deep Mike Matheny positions him.
Pittsburgh Pirates (B)
Key Additions: None
Key Losses: Matt Joyce (OF), Sean Rodriguez (IF/OF), Jeff Locke (P)
Pittsburgh has/had several trade offers for centerfielder Andrew McCutchen, but ultimately decided they couldn’t recoup equitable value for a guy with a team-friendly contract poised for a bounce back season.
Cincinnati Reds (C)
Key Additions: None
Key Losses: None
This franchise is not very good, and is not very wise. The Reds should have traded Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Billy Hamilton by now.
Milwaukee Brewers (B+)
Key Additions: Travis Shaw (3B)
Key Losses: Tyler Thornburg (RP)
The loss of Tyler Thornburg will go overlooked by the casual fan, but the addition of Travis Shaw is one that will (and should) receive a decent round of applause. I think Shaw is due for a breakout season playing in for a franchise with significantly less stress and expectations than those in Boston. Side note: it’s time to trade Ryan Braun for the best offer.