It has been a few months since the final out of the 2013 World Series. Many players have changed teams and inked contracts, as we see a better picture on team's outlooks for the 2014 season. Some teams have done well improving themselves, while some teams have suffered. Many of the top free agents are gone and have moved on, bringing themselves to new whereabouts. Without further ado, here are my picks for the winners and losers this offseason.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have done a fantastic job this offseason, making somewhat subtle moves to bolster their team in 2014 and beyond. Adding Mark Trumbo and re-signing Brad Ziegler will add to a team that is relatively young and getting ready to enter its prime. Also, the D-Backs shipped Heath Bell to Tampa. The reliever had some troubles out of the closer position. In return? The D-Backs got prospects, making their farm system even deeper. Nonetheless, acquiring Trumbo was huge. Trumbo has rare right-handed power, something many teams covet. By adding him to a lineup with Paul Goldschmidt should make the Diamondbacks a threat to win the National League Wild Card or even the National League West in 2014.
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees want to win. It doesn't matter to them if they are getting younger. It just matters if they are getting better. The Yankees signed a trio of notable players this offseason: Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran. All the signings come with a risk attached. However, in 2014, they should be able to produce to the level the Yankees expect them to. After that, it's all up in the air. We've seen how winning an offseason doesn't necessarily win you a championship (2012 Marlins, 2013 Blue Jays), but adding valuable pieces should theoretically win you some ballgames. Just wait and see for now.
The Rangers are putting their chips in and going all in. They want to win. They want to win now. Adding Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder is huge. Without them, the Rangers ranked 8th in the MLB in runs scored. With them? They should make a run deep into October, perhaps winning the pennant, maybe even the World Series. Losing Ian Kinsler hurts, but Jurickson Profar should fill in nicely at second base. Choo is a player that will get on base 35-40% of his plate appearances. Fielder can hit homers. A ton of them. In Texas, he could be a 40-home runs player. What the Texas Rangers did should make them a team to watch in the American League.
Honorable Mentions: Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals
The Milwaukee Brewers had many questions coming into this offseason. Could they retain Corey Hart? How will Ryan Braun fare in 2014? What will they do to improve their offense? Their pitching? Nothing it seems. Corey Hart is a Mariner, and the largest transaction the Brewers have made this offseason is acquiring pitcher Will Smith for outfielder Norichika Aoki, an outfielder that has a career 103 OPS+. Yes, he is almost 32 years old, but he can produce. The Brewers need a huge culture shock to get off the "losers" list, let alone the "winners."
The Philadelphia Phillies are supposed to trade Jonathan Papelbon, Domonic Brown, among others. Nothing has happened. Yes they signed Marlon Byrd and re-signed Carlos Ruiz, but yet again we see the Phillies relying on an aging core that just won't produce to the same level that it produced from 2007 to 2011. They've been busy making minor signings, but it seems as if we will be seeing the same Phillies team we have since 2007. That is just too long. They could do something in the trade market and acquire some young talent, but they want too much. The Phillies will be worse in 2014 unless they make a huge group of moves.
The Atlanta Braves expected to lose Brian McCann, but hoped to re-sign Tim Hudson. Hudson's in San Francisco, and the only notable move the Braves made this offseason was getting a new stadium. Even that people have mixed feelings on. They have a well-overdue TV deal, and expect to keep their payroll under $100 million. This most likely means that they are pretty much done this offseason. It looks like the Nationals will be the next to reign the National League East division.
Honorable Mentions: Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays