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Grading All 30 MLB Teams Based on 2013 Winter Meetings Activity

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2013

Grading All 30 MLB Teams Based on 2013 Winter Meetings Activity

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    The winter meetings have essentially come to a close with the Rule V draft now in the rearview mirror and three full days of meetings having taken place earlier this week.

    The Mark Trumbo-to-the-Diamondbacks blockbuster deal was the biggest move of this year's meetings, while Bartolo Colon and Garrett Jones signed multi-year deals and bounce-back candidates like Michael Morse, Corey Hart and Edinson Volquez all found new homes.

    Here is a look at my grade for each team at this year's winter meetings, including a look at the remaining areas of need for the teams that were inactive.

     

    *Links to news reports for each transaction included on date of each move.

Inactive Teams and Their Remaining Needs (American League)

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    SS Stephen Drew
    SS Stephen DrewElsa/Getty Images

    Baltimore Orioles

    The Orioles still have a number of holes to fill. They are confident in their chances of landing closer Grant Balfour, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. They also need a left fielder and DH, and they could be in the market for another starting pitcher.

     

    Boston Red Sox

    Re-signing Mike Napoli was No. 1 on the Red Sox's to-do list. With the slugging first baseman back in the fold, they have no glaring needs. A reunion with Stephen Drew remains a possibility, and they could look for bullpen upgrades and an insurance policy for Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field.

     

    Kansas City Royals

    The Royals have already added Jason Vargas to their rotation in free agency and traded for Brewers right fielder Norichika Aoki, filling their two biggest holes. They are still in the market for a second baseman, as they'd likely prefer to use Emilio Bonifacio in a super utility role.

     

    Minnesota Twins

    The Twins have already handed out the two biggest free-agent contracts in team history to sign Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, and they're working hard to add another starter according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. That makes sense after the team's starters posted an MLB-worst 5.26 ERA last season.

     

    New York Yankees

    The Yankees have already signed Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury this offseason, but chances are they're far from done. The team has apparently made a three-year, $24 million offer to second baseman Omar Infante, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. They are also in the market for at least one starting pitcher and perhaps a late-inning reliever.

     

    Tampa Bay Rays

    A first baseman remains atop the Rays' wish list, with James Loney expected to sign elsewhere. The potential trade of David Price will continue to dominate the headlines. They have the market's top trade chip on their roster and are all but certain to move him at some point before the end of the 2014 season.

     

    Texas Rangers

    The Rangers remain in the market for another bat, either in left field or at DH, but they already made a huge addition with the acquisition of Prince Fielder in a trade with the Tigers. Shin-Soo Choo or a reunion with Nelson Cruz remain among their options.

     

    Toronto Blue Jays

    With Josh Johnson gone and a poor showing from their starting rotation as a whole last year, the Blue Jays remain in the market for a starting pitcher to slot alongside R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle.

Inactive Teams and Their Remaining Needs (National League)

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    1B Ike Davis
    1B Ike DavisAl Bello/Getty Images

    Atlanta Braves

    The Braves are essentially set this offseason, though they could look to sign a veteran starter after losing Tim Hudson in free agency, with Paul Malhom also looking likely to leave. Extending one or more of their core pieces could be their focus the rest of the winter.

     

    Cincinnati Reds

    The Reds look certain to lose a pair of key free agents in Bronson Arroyo and Shin-Soo Choo, but they appear ready to turn those spots over to Tony Cingrani and Billy Hamilton. They could still look for a veteran insurance policy in center field, as Hamilton is far from a sure thing.

     

    Los Angeles Dodgers

    The Dodgers still have a big hole at third base, and a reunion with Juan Uribe looks like the most likely scenario at this point. They could yet look to add an insurance option for Alex Guerrero at second base and some more bullpen help, but unless they can land Masahiro Tanaka or David Price, they likely won't make a huge splash this offseason.

     

    Milwaukee Brewers

    The Brewers have a clear hole at first base, and after Corey Hart signed with the Mariners they will need to go outside of the organization to fill it. Tom Haudicourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweeted that the team could move quickly to add a first baseman, naming Ike Davis as a potential target.

     

    St. Louis Cardinals

    The Cardinals are in the market for a backup for Kolten Wong at second base as they look to fill out their bench, but the signing of Jhonny Peralta and trade of David Freese for Peter Bourjos has left them without any clear needs between now and the start of spring training.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 10: Acquired 1B/OF Mark Trumbo, OF Brandon Jacobs and SP A.J. Schugel from Angels and White Sox in a three-team deal for SP Tyler Skaggs and OF Adam Eaton.

     

    Overview

    The Diamondbacks identified finding protection for Paul Goldschmidt in the middle of their lineup as one of their biggest needs from Day 1 this offseason, and they found their man in Angels slugger Mark Trumbo.

    Though he hit just .234/.294/.453 last season, Trumbo did reach career highs of 34 home runs and 100 RBI. In his three full big league seasons, he's averaged 32 home runs and 94 RBI with a .773 OPS.

    The price was high, as the Diamondbacks shipped out their No. 1 and No. 3 prospects from the beginning of last season, according to Baseball America. However, with Archie Bradley passing Skaggs as the team's top pitching prospect and A.J. Pollock proving himself in center field, moving both guys doesn't hurt the team all that much.

     

    Grade: A

Chicago Cubs

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    OF Justin Ruggiano
    OF Justin RuggianoAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 12Acquired OF Justin Ruggiano from Marlins for OF Brian Bogusevic.

     

    Overview

    The Cubs' quiet offseason continued at the meetings, though they did pull off a one-for-one swap of outfielders with the Marlins, sending Brian Bogusevic to Miami for Justin Ruggiano.

    Ruggiano quietly enjoyed a breakout season in 2012, hitting .313/.374/.535 with 13 home runs and 14 steals over 288 at-bats as a 30-year-old. However, he fell back to earth last year, hitting just .222/.298/.396 with 18 home runs and 15 steals in 424 at-bats.

    Bogusevic was signed to a minor league deal by the Cubs last year, and he was a standout in spring training, though he didn't make the Opening Day roster. He still spent a decent amount of time in Chicago and hit .273/.323/.462 with six home runs in 143 at-bats.

     

    Grade: C

Chicago White Sox

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    CF Adam Eaton
    CF Adam EatonDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 9Signed SP Felipe Paulino to a one-year, $1.75 million deal in free agency.
    • Dec. 10Acquired CF Adam Eaton from the Diamondbacks in a three-team deal for SP Hector Santiago, OF Brandon Jacobs.

     

    Overview

    The White Sox made one of the first moves of the meetings, signing 30-year-old Felipe Paulino to a one-year contract. The right-hander was 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA in seven starts to kick off the 2012 season before Tommy John surgery shelved him, and he's been sidelined since.

    They pulled the trigger on a big move from there, shipping Hector Santiago to the Angels in a three-team trade that landed them Diamondbacks center fielder Adam Eaton.

    Eaton, 25, posted a .794 OPS with 19 runs scored in 22 games down the stretch in 2012 and entered the 2013 season as one of the favorites for NL Rookie of the Year honors. However, an elbow strain sidelined him until early July, and by that time A.J. Pollock had established himself as a solid option in center field for the Diamondbacks.

    The trade could make Alejandro De Aza the next White Sox player to be dealt and gives the White Sox another young piece in their continued rebuilding efforts.

     

    Grade: B+

Cleveland Indians

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    1B David Cooper
    1B David CooperOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 9Signed 1B David Cooper to a one-year contract in free agency.

     

    Overview

    A first-round pick by the Blue Jays in 2008, David Cooper has never really gotten a chance in Toronto, hitting .270/.310/.441 with six home runs and 23 RBI over 211 major league at-bats in 2011 and 2012.

    The 26-year-old spent most of last season as a free agent, signing with the Indians on Aug. 13 and appearing in just 13 minor league games. In 13 games, he hit .314/.364/.373 with six RBI over 51 at-bats.

    It comes as a bit of a surprise that the Indians gave him a major league deal, as he likely could have been had for a minor league deal, but he does have some offensive skills. In six minor league seasons, he's hit .301/.376/.470 with 54 home runs in 2,023 at-bats.

     

    Grade: D

Colorado Rockies

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    SP Brett Anderson
    SP Brett AndersonJared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 10Acquired SP Brett Anderson from the A's for SP Drew Pomeranz and SP Chris Jensen.

     

    Overview

    Looking to add to a starting rotation that was already markedly improved last season thanks to healthy years from Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa and the addition of Tyler Chatwood, the Rockies dealt a pair of young arms in Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen to the A's for Brett Anderson.

    Anderson broke into the league as a 21-year-old back in 2009 and went 11-11 with a 4.06 ERA over 30 starts to finish sixth in AL Rookie of the Year voting.

    He's made a grand total of 43 starts in the four seasons since, including taking the ball on Opening Day for the A's last season, but injuries have sidelined him time and again. He still has front-line stuff, and it was a relatively cheap price to pay for the Rockies to land a potential ace.

     

    Grade: A

Detroit Tigers

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    OF Rajai Davis
    OF Rajai DavisChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 10Signed OF Rajai Davis to a two-year, $10 million deal in free agency.
    • Dec. 12Signed RP Joba Chamberlain to a one-year, $2.5 million deal in free agency.

     

    Overview

    Having already pulled off a pair of blockbuster trades in shipping Prince Fielder to the Rangers for Ian Kinsler and Doug Fister to the Nationals for three players, the Tigers entered the meetings looking for an upgrade over Andy Dirks in left field.

    They came to terms with speedster Rajai Davis on a two-year deal, and he'll give the team a dynamic threat on the bases. He has 216 steals since the start of the 2009 season, which is good for second-most in baseball to Michael Bourn (239), and he's done it with over 1,000 fewer plate appearances than Bourn.

    Davis hit .260/.312/.375 with six home runs, 24 RBI and 45 steals for the Blue Jays last season. He should provide the Tigers with a second leadoff hitter of sorts at the bottom of their lineup.

    Chamberlain is a classic low-risk, high-reward signing who could benefit greatly from a change of scenery. He posted a 4.93 ERA and 1.74 WHIP in 45 games last season, but he's been a dominant late-inning arm in the past.

     

    Grade: B+

Houston Astros

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    SP Anthony Bass
    SP Anthony BassDoug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 11Acquired SP Anthony Bass from Padres for SP Patrick Schuster.

     

    Overview

    A starter during his time in the minors, Anthony Bass has been used primarily as a reliever for the Padres over the past three seasons, posting a 4.08 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 75 games (18 starts) in San Diego.

    He was 4-6 with a 5.45 ERA in 15 starts for Triple-A Tucson last year and had a 5.36 ERA in 24 relief appearances in San Diego, but the 26-year-old still has plenty of upside.

    The Astros flipped the top pick in the Rule V draft in Patrick Schuster to acquire him, so it didn't cost them much, and Bass could get a chance to start for the rebuilding team.

     

    Grade: C+

Los Angeles Angels

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    SP Tyler Skaggs
    SP Tyler SkaggsDilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 10Acquired SP Tyler Skaggs and SP Hector Santiago from Diamondbacks and White Sox for 1B/OF Mark Trumbo and SP A.J. Schugel.

     

    Overview

    The Angels were reluctant to move slugger Mark Trumbo this offseason, but in the end it was the move that had to be made for them to upgrade their pitching staff.

    Moving him landed them Tyler Skaggs from the Diamondbacks and Hector Santiago from the White Sox in a three-team deal. Both guys figure to be in the team's rotation this coming season.

    Skaggs is still just 22 and entered last season as the No. 12 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball AmericaSantiago, 25, went 4-9 with a 3.56 ERA in 34 games (23 starts) last season in his first extended action as a starter. Losing Trumbo hurts, but the move is exactly what the Angels needed to bolster their staff.

     

    Grade: A

Miami Marlins

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    1B/OF Garrett Jones
    1B/OF Garrett JonesRonald Martinez/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 9Signed 1B/OF Garrett Jones to a two-year, $7.75 million deal in free agency.
    • Dec. 11Acquired RP Carter Capps from Mariners for 1B/OF Logan Morrison.
    • Dec. 12Acquired OF Brian Bogusevic from Cubs for OF Justin Ruggiano.

     

    Overview

    After slashing their payroll last offseason, the Marlins have begun spending once again, adding catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a three-year deal before signing slugger Garrett Jones on the first day of the meetings.

    Jones was non-tendered by the Pirates earlier this offseason. While he has been inconsistent during his time in Pittsburgh, he hit .256/.318/.462 with 100 home runs over the past five seasons. He gives the team a plus power option at a reasonable price.

    The team also dealt a pair of outfielders, landing high-upside reliever Carter Capps from the Mariners for Logan Morrison, and he could wind up being the team's closer of the future. They also flipped Justin Ruggiano for Brian Bogusevic in what looks like a lateral move at this point.

     

    Grade: B+

New York Mets

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    SP Bartolo Colon
    SP Bartolo ColonEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 11Signed SP Bartolo Colon to a two-year, $20 million deal in free agency.

     

    Overview

    After adding Curtis Granderson and Chris Young to improve their outfield in the early going this offseason, the Mets turned their attention to the starting rotation at the meetings.

    They wound up signing Bartolo Colon to a two-year, $20 million deal to join Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee. Colon went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA over 30 starts last season.

    Signing a 40-year-old to a two-year deal is always a risky proposition, but in the end it was likely the Mets' willingness to go to a second year that gave them the edge over the other teams pursuing him.

     

    Grade: C+

Oakland Athletics

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    SP Drew Pomeranz
    SP Drew PomeranzStephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 10Acquired SP Drew Pomeranz and SP Chris Jensen from the Rockies for SP Brett Anderson and cash.
    • Dec. 11Acquired OF Billy Burns from Nationals for RP Jerry Blevins. 

     

    Overview

    With newly signed Scott Kazmir joining Sonny Gray, Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin, Dan Straily and Tommy Milone in the stable of A's starting pitchers heading into 2014, the team made Brett Anderson available this offseason.

    They found a taker in the Rockies, landing former first-round pick Drew Pomeranz and decent 23-year-old pitching prospect Chris Jensen.

    They also dealt arbitration-eligible reliever Jerry Blevins to the Nationals for speedy outfielder Billy Burns, who hit .315/.425/.383 with 74 steals as a 23-year-old between High-A and Double-A last season.

    Pomeranz will likely take over for Blevins in the bullpen. 

     

    Grade: B

Philadelphia Phillies

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    SP Roberto Hernandez
    SP Roberto HernandezJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 12Signed SP Roberto Hernandez to a one-year, $4.5 million deal (plus $1.5 million in incentives) in free agency.

     

    Overview

    The Phillies had already signed right fielder Marlon Byrd and re-signed catcher Carlos Ruiz this offseason. They also brought aboard Cuban defector Miguel Gonzalez back in August to bolster their rotation. But they were still in the market for another starter heading into the meetings.

    They found their man on Thursday, signing Roberto Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona) to a one-year deal to join Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick and Hernandez in the rotation this coming season.

    Hernandez, 33, went 6-13 with a 4.89 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 32 games (24 starts) pitching for the Rays last season. He could get some competition from Jonathan Pettibone and Ethan Martin for the No. 5 starter spot, but he is a nice pickup from a depth standpoint nonetheless.

     

    Grade: C+

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    SP Edinson Volquez
    SP Edinson VolquezDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 11Signed SP Edinson Volquez to a one-year, $5 million deal in free agency.
    • Dec. 12Signed SS Clint Barmes to a one-year, $2 million deal in free agency.

     

    Overview

    As the Pirates mull over whether or not to bring back veteran right-hander A.J. Burnett, they signed a potential replacement for him should he decide not to return: right-hander Edinson Volquez.

    The Padres' Opening Day starter last year, Volquez went 9-12 with a 5.71 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. He was released by San Diego in August before eventually signing with the Dodgers.

    Still just 30, Volquez has plus stuff but has struggled with his control throughout his career. He joins Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton and Wandy Rodriguez in the team's rotation. He could be this year's Liriano if he can put everything together. Even if he doesn't, it's a low-risk move for the Pirates.

     

    Grade: B+

San Diego Padres

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    SP Anthony Bass
    SP Anthony BassMike Stobe/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 11Acquired RP Patrick Schuster from Astros for SP Anthony Bass.

     

    Overview

    The Astros selected Patrick Schuster with the first pick in Thursday's Rule V draft, then shipped him to the Padres to complete their earlier trade for right-hander Anthony Bass.

    Schuster appeared in 55 games last season for the Diamondbacks' High-A Visalia affiliate, posting a 1.83 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with 45 strikeouts in 44.1 innings of work.

    The left-hander was a celebrity of sorts during his senior year of high school back in 2009, throwing four straight no-hitters while pitching for Mitchell High School in Florida. He could turn out to be a solid left-handed bullpen option in the near future.

     

    Grade: C+

San Francisco Giants

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    LF Michael Morse
    LF Michael MorseKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 12Signed LF Michael Morse to a one-year, $6 million deal (plus incentives) in free agency.

     

    Overview

    In need of an everyday bat with some power, or at the very least a right-handed hitting platoon partner for Gregor Blanco, the Giants entered the winter meetings with a left fielder clearly atop their shopping list.

    The Giants had already spent big to lock up their own guys, giving Hunter Pence, Tim Lincecum and Javier Lopez multi-year deals. With very few options on the market, San Francisco opted to go the bargain route in signing Michael Morse to a one-year deal.

    The 31-year-old is a prime candidate for a bounce-back season, as I outlined in a recent article. If nothing else he should be able to provide a subpar Giants offense with some much-needed additional pop.

     

    Grade: A

Seattle Mariners

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    1B/OF Corey Hart
    1B/OF Corey HartRich Pilling/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 11Signed 1B/OF Corey Hart to a one-year, $6 million contract (worth up to $13 million with incentives) in free agency.
    • Dec. 11Acquired 1B/OF Logan Morrison from Marlins for RP Carter Capps.

     

    Overview

    Despite signing Robinson Cano to a huge 10-year deal in the week leading up to the winter meetings, the Mariners were still expected to be as active as anyone in Orlando.

    They didn't exactly make the splash some expected, but they did add a pair of solid bats in Corey Hart and Logan Morrison. Hart is a good value candidate after missing all of 2013 dealing with knee issues, while Morrison could benefit from a change of scenery after dealing with injuries the past couple years.

    Giving up Carter Capps could come back to bite the Mariners. He has closer-caliber stuff and could turn into a dominant late-inning arm, despite subpar numbers as a rookie last season.

     

    Grade: B-

Washington Nationals

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    RP Jerry Blevins
    RP Jerry BlevinsGregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Winter Meetings Deals

    • Dec. 11: Acquired RP Jerry Blevins from A's for OF Billy Burns.

     

    Overview

    The Nationals were without a proven left-handed reliever last season, and after the trades of Fernando Abad and Ian Krol, they were without any lefties in their projected bullpen heading into the winter meetings.

    Jerry Blevins has spent parts of the past three seasons in the Oakland bullpen, and over the past four years he has appeared in 219 games with a 3.02 ERA and 1.21 WHIP for one of the top bullpens in baseball.

    The team shipped out Billy Burns in exchange, a 24-year-old outfielder who hit .315/.425/.383 with 74 steals between High-A and Double-A this past season. He had no clear path to the majors with a crowded outfield situation in Washington long-term, so he was more or less expendable.

     

    Grade: B+

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