Hectic winter meetings sparks excitement, criticisms

Hectic+winter+meetings+sparks+excitement%2C+criticisms

Ji-Ho Lee

art by Ji-Ho Lee

As the weather heats up, the days until Opening Day count down. The 2016 Winter Meetings were unique, as players asked for big money and long-term contracts, while teams sought out one-year terms with free agents. Nevertheless, between free agency, trades and arbitration, the 2016 Winter Meetings were both hectic and interesting. We look at the winners and losers heading into the regular season.
The Great
San Francisco Giants
Added:
Johnny Cueto
Jeff Samardzija
Denard Span
Lost:
Mike Leake
Losing a stellar starting pitcher like Mike Leake is an issue, unless you pick up bonafide aces Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. By bolstering an error-prone outfield with Denard Span, the pitching, defense and offense look to be shaping up well in the Bay.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Added:
Zack Greinke
Shelby Miller
Tyler Clippard
Jean Segura
Lost:
Dansby Swanson
Ender Inciarte
The Diamondbacks added arguably the best pitcher in the game right now with Zack Greinke, who will pitch in front of stellar starter Shelby Miller. With Goldschmidt and company at the dish, and Greinke and Miller headlining the mound, the Diamondbacks look to turn the tables on the California-dominated NL West.
Chicago Cubs
Added:
Jason Heyward
John Lackey
Ben Zobrist
Adam Warren
Dexter Fowler
Lost:
Starlin Castro
By acquiring arguably the best defensive outfielder in the league, the best utility player in the league, a veteran starting pitcher and a stellar reliever, the Cubs look to take down the Cardinals from their NL Central perch. They will have to overcome the lost offensive production of Starlin Castro, but if their offseason moves pan out as expected, the Cubs may boast the most talented roster in 2016.
Boston Red Sox
Added:
David Price
Chris Young
Craig Kimbrel
In acquiring David Price, the Red Sox receive a phenomenal regular season pitcher, but a below-average postseason arm. The fans at Fenway are expecting October wins, and Price may not be the answer. But, the Red Sox also acquired speedy outfielder Chris Young and dominant closer Craig Kimbrel. Boston did spend a lot of money and prospects to acquire those big names. But at the end of the day, money and prospects are two things that the AL East loves to get rid of.
Detroit Tigers
Added:
Jordan Zimmerman
Cameron Maybin
Justin Upton
Justin Wilson
Lost:
Ian Krol
Rajai Davis
Detroit had the most disappointing season of 2015. But their big offseason moves suggest that the same thing won’t be happening in 2016. Bonafide starter Jordan Zimmerman, speedy outfielder Cameron Maybin, 30-30 specialist Justin Upton and reliever Justin Wilson patch up the spots of uncertainty. The AL Central has quietly become one of the more competitive divisions, as Detroit looks to insert itself back into the conversation.
The Good
New York Yankees
Added:
Starlin Castro
Aroldis Chapman
Lost:
Adam Warren
The Bronx Bombers had a rare, quiet offseason. But, their acquisitions can have enormous impacts. Starlin Castro will significantly improve the infield. He and Gregorious won’t be able to replace Cano and Jeter defensively, but their offensive production will mimic their predecessors. The Yankees also have, maybe, the best bullpen in the history of baseball with the addition of flamethrower Aroldis Chapman. If the starting pitching and crawl its way through six innings, good luck scoring on Betances, Miller and Chapman.
Miami Marlins
Added:
Chris Johnson
Wei-Yin Chen
The Marlins spent big money on Giancarlo Stanton in 2015, surprising many, but their season did not reflect their paycheck. Another surprise was the quiet offseason Miami had with their aggressive, dysfunctional front office. Holding out, however, was key for the Marlins as their talented core, featuring Stanton, Dee Gordon and Christian Yelich, can win games for years to come. Furthermore, with the additions of corner infielder Chris Johnson and decent left-handed pitcher Wei-Yin Chen, the Marlins could turn some heads in the NL East.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Kenta Maeda
Scott Kazmir
Lost: Zack Greinke
Maybe Howie Kendrick
The Dodgers did picked up Kenta Maeda from Japan and Scott Kazmir from Oakland to bolster the starting rotation. But neither of those two can replace Zack Greinke. Los Angeles’ offense is either sporadic and aging (Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp), immature and inconsistent (Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Yasmani Grandal) or somewhere in between. The team may contend for the AL West, but a lack of pitching and offensive production will make it difficult for another title.
Atlanta Braves
Added:
Ender Inciarte
Aaron Blair
Dansby Swanson
Gordon Beckham
Erick Aybar
Lost:
Shelby Miller
Andrelton Simmons
Cameron Maybin
The Braves may have had one of the busiest offseasons in baseball, and perhaps the smartest, as well. Despite trading fan favorites and raw talent, the Braves stripped down their payroll while replacing empty holes with bright, young talent, highlighted by former Vanderbilt shortstop and first-round draft pick, Dansby Swanson. Atlanta also collected a slew of seasoned veterans, both on the mound and in the field. If the Braves’ front office continues to make moves like this, they could become a team to be reckoned with in the inconsistent NL East.
The Bad

Washington Nationals

Added:
Steven Drew
Daniel Murphy
Ben Revere
Lost:
Doug Fister
Jordan Zimmerman
Ian Desmond
Denard Span
The Nationals had a busy offseason, and not in a good way. By shipping off star pitcher Jordan Zimmermann and offensive fireplug Denard Span, the Nats lost production on both sides of the ball. Daniel Murphy may assist offensively, but most likely not that much. Washington took a big hit in offensive production, and if they want to beat the flamethrowers of Flushing, they need a lot more than Ben Revere and Daniel Murphy.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Yes, the Diamondbacks were on “The Good” list. But their high-paying offseason raises some red flags. Who was the last team to collect the biggest pitchers on the market and hope that their offense would suffice? The Washington Nationals. The Nats missed the playoffs, even with an MVP performance from Bryce Harper. If the pitching doesn’t pan out, the D-backs gave up future all-star Dansby Swanson and a boatload of money in exchange for unhappy fans and still no playoff appearances.
Kansas City Royals
Kansas City took home the rings, but those could be the only rings for a long while. Although the Royals managed to retain Chris Young, Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain, they won’t be able to keep the big names within a couple of years. Gordon got a lot of money, probably more than the Royals front office had. As a result, within the next three years, expect Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Wade Davis, Greg Holland and possibly Yordano Ventura and Alcides Escobar to be on different teams. It was a good run, Kansas City, but that run is soon coming to a screeching halt.
The Ugly
The “Rebuilders”
Some teams claim to be “rebuilding,” but it seems like they are making themselves comfortable at the bottom of their respective divisions. Teams like the Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies and Philadelphia Phillies completely stripped down their core players, and are building around their lowly touted prospects, while doing little to nothing in terms of improving their chances of being successful in 2016. Given, it is difficult to make splashes in the market when working with a small town budget. But, too many teams are content with doing nothing in the offseason, and repeatedly putting a below average team on the diamond. The Cubs and Astros are two teams that come to mind and fit the formula of rebuilding the right way: allowing the young guns to develop and bringing in big name free agents when the time is right. The current rebuilders, however, have untalented farm systems and have made no moves to bring in veteran talent to improve their teams.
Who do you think were the best and worst teams of the offseason?
Which player will have the biggest impact on their team?